Second annual walk to be held for unsolved Roberson murder

REED CITY — Friends, family and community members are once again hoping to bring the unsolved murder of Janette Roberson back to the forefront of people’s minds.

The second annual Justice for Janette walk will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Reed City Depot, 200 N. Chestnut St.

The walk will be held just two days before the 32nd anniversary of Roberson’s brutal murder. On Jan. 19, 1983, the body of 27-year-old Roberson was discovered in the basement of the Gamble’s store in downtown Reed City where she was employed.

For Roberson’s sister, Lana Lockhart, the walk is a way to remember the vibrant, caring mother of two who was taken from her family too soon. It’s also a way to push for a resolution to a case that needs to be closed — the killer must be found, Lockhart said.

“It’s been 32 years and it doesn’t seem like people are remembering this is an unsolved murder, which needs to be solved,” Lockhart said. “I want to know who did this and why.”

Although Lockhart lives out of state and will not attend, she works with her daughters and other members of the group that organizes the Justice for Janette walk.

Last year’s event went really well, with 40 people marching through Reed City for Roberson, Lockhart said.

“This year we of course want to get more people out here,” she said. “We want to show that this isn’t going away and the people in this community are looking for answers.”

The event also is a way to generate tips for police, Lockhart explained.

“Unfortunately, last year’s tip jar did not make it to police, so we encourage anybody to resubmit a tip they may have placed there,” Lockhart said. “The jar will be out and people also can submit new information or even just share a memory about Janette.”

The event will start with a prayer, followed by an introduction. The walk will then begin, as participants head to Reed City Hardware, which previously was the Gamble store. Walkers will stop outside the store and a poem will be read, along with a note from Lockhart. The participants will then return to the depot.

The walk and other events will continue each year until the case is solved, Lockhart said.

“We don’t want the police or the community to forget this,” Lockhart said. “Until it gets solved, it will not be dropped. She deserves justice and she hasn’t gotten it yet. My sister was a wonderful person. I just can’t wrap my head around someone doing what was done to her and they’re still out there walking around. I just can’t let go of this.”

Anyone with information about the murder can contact Michigan State Police at (989) 773-5951, Reed City Police Department at (231) 832-3743, or Silent Observer (toll free) 866-774-2345. All tips can be made anonymously.