Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Family Seeks Answers After ‘Beautiful Souled’ Indigenous Woman Found Dead In Phoenix Canal

Loved ones say Janet Begaye's body was found floating in a canal just hours after dropping off her children off on the Fourth of July. She had been shot to death.

By Jax Miller
A overview of a Canal in Phoenix Arizona

The loved ones of an Arizona mother of four who was murdered and found in a canal last week are seeking justice.

Janet Ann Begaye, 37, was found, shot to death, in the Grand Canal near 32nd Street and East McDowell Road in Phoenix, Arizona in the early morning hours of Tuesday, according to NBC Mesa affiliate KPNX. There have been no reported arrests, with loved ones scrambling to learn what happened to the single mother.

The Phoenix Police Department on Monday e-mailed Oxygen.com a media advisory dated July 5, stating the homicide investigation is ongoing. 

"This morning, just after 5 a.m., Phoenix Police received a call of an injured person in the area of 1400 North 32nd Street," police stated; the building is a small commercial strip mall. "When officers got to the scene, they were directed to the canal where they located the body of a deceased adult female who had sustained a gunshot wound."

No arrests have been made in the case.

Relatives told  KPNX that Begaye rarely left her home in Glendale, which is about 10 miles northwest of Phoenix.

But Begaye's eldest son, Tyler Johnson, told ABC Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV that his mom unexpectedly dropped her other children off with him shortly after midnight on the Fourth of July, claiming that she was going out to hang out with a friend that Johnson didn’t know. 

“She said, ‘I’ll be back,’” said Johnson. “‘I promise. I love you, baby. I love you, my son. I promise I’ll be back.’”

Hours later, she was dead, leaving behind four children — the youngest of whom was just six years-old.

"We don't know anybody out there. She doesn't know anybody out there,” Begaye’s friend, Marlene Mercado told the station about the area of Phoenix where Begaye's body was found. “What was she doing out there? Who was she with?”

"Whoever did this to her threw in the canal like she was trash,” said Mercado.

The family also complains that they know little about the status of investigation, save for police informing them that they had yet to account for Begaye’s purse, phone, wallet or her 2009 Chevrolet Impala.

According to a GoFundMe page created by Begaye’s older half-sisters Jeanette Johnson and Noreen Soto, Begaye was a “beautiful souled” woman with a large extended family.

“She was so lovable,” said loved ones. “She made countless memories with friends. She will be deeply missed.”

Loved ones gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the murdered woman, wearing red to represent the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of America, according to KNXV-TV. Begaye’s family is part of the Navajo Tribe and announced plans to lay her to rest on a family plot in Gallup, New Mexico on part of the Navajo reservation.

“I just want to know why,” Jeanette Johnson asked the station rhetorically. “Why did you do it? You don’t realize what you did to our family.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Phoenix Police Department. 

Read more about: