Was Somebody Obsessed With Janette Roberson? 33 Years After Brutal Murder, Friends Offer New Theories


On January 19, 1983, Janette Roberson’s brutally beaten body was discovered at work. Her friends and family were soon cleared, and now they think somebody was infatuated with her. Keep reading for more details!


On September 25, Janette Roberson should have turned 61 years old, but that opportunity was stolen from her more than 30 years ago.

Back in 1983, Janette was a stunning 27-year-old with a husband and two young children in Reed City, Michigan.

At the time of her death, Janette had been working in the pet department of a store called Gambles, where her bruised and battered body was found on January 19, 1983.

"This was a brutal -- very brutal --killing," Janette's sister, Lana Lockhart, told Dateline. "I don't know how someone can do that to another person."

Police later determined that Janette had been brutally beaten and sexually assaulted inside Gambles before another employee discovered her body.

At first, investigators set their sights on Alvin Roberson, Janette’s husband, once it was discovered that he had been having an affair with another woman.

In fact, after his wife’s horrific murder, Alvin took the children to live in Georgia, where he eventually married the woman with whom he’d been seeing.

"I don't really blame them for leaving, really. I try to put myself in their shoes and that town is so small. People were talking," Carrie Hudson, a childhood friend of Janette’s daughter, told Dateline.

Lana, however, never believed that her brother-in-law even laid a hand on her sister.

Before she died, Janette had reportedly adopted the Jehovah Witness faith, which encouraged her to be entirely faithful to her husband, affair or not.

"When I saw him after, he just stared ahead. I tried to talk with him, but he just stared forward," Lana told Dateline. "He was devastated. He couldn't have had anything to do with it."

Both Alvin and his new wife were later ruled out as suspects, leading friends and family to believe Janette had been murdered by a stalker.

"I believe someone was infatuated with her -- had a crush on her. My sister was very friendly and naïve, really," said Lana. "Whoever did this could have gone there to make a move and she rejected this person, and boom. That was all it took."

"It's not like this person brought a weapon with them. I don't think it was a fully planned thing,” Carrie added.

In the last few years, Carrie has teamed up with Janette’s family to get the case solved, and their attempts have actually been fairly successful.

"The crime scene was a chaotic disaster," Carrie told Dateline. "Things weren't done in an organized way. Her case files are in three different boxes. Sometimes we feel like we're banging our heads against the wall here looking for answers, but we have to keep going."

"Someone out there knows something. They need to finally come forward," Lana added. "The scary thing is the person who did this is out there somewhere. That's terrifying, because Janette was killed in a horrible way. What's stopping this person from doing it again? We need to get them off the streets."

Janette’s friends and family are now desperately hoping that improvements in DNA technology will help investigators make a break in the case.

"If they did this once, they probably did it again. Or did something else," Carrie said. "I don't know how much it costs to run those tests or check the data bases, but it could solve this."

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