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Crime News Cold Justice

Body of a Missing Illinois Woman Is Found Decades Later — What Happened to Her?

The 29-year-old was last seen parking her car in 1985. It would take years to discover her remains.

By Cydney Contreras

Cold Justice seeks to help a daughter find answers 38 years after her mother's death.

How to Watch

Watch Cold Justice on Oxygen Saturdays at 8/7c and next day on Peacock. Catch up on the Oxygen App.

In the second episode of Season 7, Kelly Siegler joins Det. Sgt. Logan Andersen and Det. Todd Koerner of the Kankakee Police Department in the hopes of shedding light on the killing of Jannette Johnson. The then-29-year-old mother of two went missing from the Kankakee, Illinois area in August 1985 and was presumed dead for many years.

However, new information came to light in 2020 when remains found in Pembroke Township, located about 20 miles southeast from Kankakee, were determined to belong to Janette. Now, the Cold Justice team is hoping to help the Kankakee Police Department find answers in this unsolved mystery.

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Who is Jannette Johnson?

Jannette Johnson, a 29-year-old mother of two, was described by her own mother, Mary Moore, as a "spicy" young woman with a fierce sense of determination, according to the Illinois Daily Journal. 

"You know it was her way or the highway. And I know where she got that. I'm still that way," Mary told the outlet in June 2015.

What happened to Jannette Johnson?

Jannette Johnson was reported missing from Kankakee, Illinois, on the evening of August 3, 1985. She was last seen the prior evening, when family members saw her parking her vehicle at the rear of her house, according to a press release cited by The Daily Journal.

The following morning, Jannette's car had been moved to the front of the house, where authorities found the car window partially rolled down and her purse inside. 

The case seemingly went cold in the decades following. It wasn't until Jannette's remains were recovered and identified through DNA in November 2020 that police launched a homicide investigation, the Daily Journal reported. 

The following summer, police, family members, and volunteers came together for a search of the Pembroke Township area where Jannette's remains were found. As a result of the search, Jannette's daughter Joretha Hampton told the Daily Journal, "One of our questions was answered — where it happened. We still need to learn the who, what, when and why.”

To see what Kelly Siegler and the Kankakee Police Department uncover during their investigation, tune in to Cold Justice on Oxygen every Saturday at 8 p.m.