Justice for Janette Walk draws supporters
Family, friends hope to catch killer
REED CITY — Family, friends and supporters spent their Saturday afternoon in the cold to gather for the sixth annual Justice for Janette Walk to find Janette Roberson's killer.
The event took place at noon, with a group gathering at the Reed City Depot.
“We’ve just been trying to gather as much info as we can and give it to detective Stephens,” Elena Cavender said.
Cavender is niece to Janette Roberson — a woman who was brutally murdered 37 years ago at the former Gamble’s store in downtown Reed City.
To this day, the case is unresolved.
Since her death, Cavender, her mother, Lana Jarvie, and family and friends have been in search of Roberson’s killer. In an effort to help, the group has hosted a walk for the past six years in hopes of generating new clues to break the case open.
“We want more leads so (the case) gets solved,” Jarvie said.
Beginning the walk, supporters gathered at the Reed City Depot, where the room was filled with past newspapers, photos and information about Jarvie’s sister.
After everyone arrived, Jarvie grabbed a sign saying “Justice for Janette,” and the group walked down to the old Gamble’s store, where Pastor Jeff Cole said a prayer.
“That’s why we hold this every year, even just to keep her name out there so people keep talking about it and calling in tips to detective Stephens,” Cavender said. “Hopefully, someday we’ll get it solved.”
One of two detectives on the case, Detective Sergeant Mike Stephens, said the annual walk has helped in the past with discovering new information.
“We’ve been following up on tips and leads for the last couple years in Janette’s case,” Stephens said. “We’ve definitely received some new information, some things we didn’t know before, however, the person responsible hasn’t been identified.”
Among participants at this year’s walk was Brenda Hall, someone who remembers Roberson as a child.
“I grew up in Hersey and Janette’s family lived there at one time,” Hall said, noting her and Roberson’s moms were good friends. “A couple times I remember being at their house, and Janette would braid my hair.”
Attending each of the six walks, Hall said she hopes to find closure, not just for herself, but for all those who loved Roberson.
“All of our hope is justice, whatever form that is, will be served,” Hall said. “That the killer’s brutal murder would be made known, that the family and friends could finally have closure, if that’s possible, and find some form of peace — that justice or punishment is served for what was done to my friend.”
Though attendance was smaller than previous years, Jarvie will continue bring attention to her sister’s case, and hope for better weather next year.
“Somebody out there knows something, and they need to step forward,” Jarvie said. “Get it solved.”
Anyone with information about the case can contact the Reed City Police Department at 231-832-3743, the Michigan State Police at 989-773-5951, or the Michigan State Police Crime Stoppers tip line at 800-773-2587.