Third annual Justice for Janette walk planned for later this month

Janette Roberson
Janette Roberson

REED CITY — Another year has gone by and the case regarding the murder of Janette Roberson remains unsolved. However, family and friends of the young woman hope the missing pieces of the puzzle soon will fit together.

In its third year, the annual Justice for Janette walk is scheduled for noon on Saturday, Jan. 16, beginning at the Reed City Depot.

Nearly 33 years ago, on Jan. 19, 1983, a gruesome discovery was made when 27-year-old Roberson was found in the basement of the Gamble’s store in downtown Reed City. An employee at the store, Roberson’s murder took place in the middle of the day while the store was open, yet her killer has never been captured.

The annual walk is a way to keep the case from being forgotten and hopefully encourage new tips and information being brought forward, said Lana Lockhart, sister of Roberson.

“Since this walk began, Reed City Police Chief Chuck Davis has told us more tips have been coming in than in the many years prior,” Lockhart said. “We need to keep raising awareness to get this solved.”

Lockhart, who lives in South Carolina, will be able to attend the event for the first time this year.

“It’s been 32 years that the person responsible for this has been able to live their life and my sister hasn’t,” she said. “I believe in justice. You can’t commit a crime like this and not pay for it.”

Participants of the walk will gather at the depot, where coffee and hot chocolate will be provided. Together, the group will walk to downtown, stopping at Reed City Hardware, the former Gamble’s store.

Once there, a prayer will be said and poems and other pieces of writing will be read. At the depot, there will be a jar available for people to place any tips or information about the case, Lockhart said.

“I hope that this time, whoever knows or whoever has the missing piece comes forward,” she said. “Even if they know something, but maybe don’t think it’s a big deal, I encourage them to come forward. I hope at this point they will have a conscious and realize it’s worth it to speak up.”

To share information or tips regarding Roberson’s case, call the Reed City Police Department at (231) 832- 3743 or the Michigan State Police at (989) 773-5951.