Left and Center: Janice circa, 1973
Right: Age Progressed to age 53
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 26, 1973
Missing From: Tolland, Tolland County, Connecticut
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: October 15, 1965
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 65 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Janice has a gap in between her two upper front teeth
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue/white striped pullover shirt, navy blue shorts with an imprinted American flag and star design, white socks, and blue sneakers
NCMEC Number: 923957
Details of Disappearance
Janice Pockett was last seen in Tolland, Connecticut on July 26th 1973. She was last seen leaving her family’s residence on Anthony Road at approximately 3:00 pm. She planned to ride her metallic green Murray bicycle through the neighborhood to find a dead butterfly she found two days before her disappearance while on a family walk. Janice put the butterfly behind a rock which was visible from the middle of the street in front of her home.
Janice was give permission to go by her mother but was told to be back very soon. This was actually the first time Janice had been allowed to go out on her own. Her bicycle had a banana seat and a bell on it as well. She was carrying an envelope to put the butterfly in.
When Janice didn’t return home within 30 minutes, her mother went out looking for her. She found Janice’s bike on Rhodes Road near a wooded area that wasn’t even a mile away from her home. The envelope and butterfly were never located. An extensive search took place for Janice, it was possibly one of the biggest searches in Connecticut history with over 800 people looking for her. No evidence of her whereabouts was found.
Investigators believe Janice was abducted by a non family member. It’s likely she was pulled into a vehicle due to the fact that no trace of her was found. They have no idea of who could’ve taken Janice but have a few suspects in mind.
Authorities have named, Charles Pierce, as a suspect in her disappearance. Charles confessed to kidnapping and murdering Janice in 1973. In addition to that confession, he also confessed to killing an unnamed boy in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Authorities believe that he actually may have confessed to killing Angelo Puglisi, a boy who went missing from Lawrence in 1976.
Pierce claimed that the two children were buried in close proximity to one another but authorities never found any remains. He is suspected in the disappearances of dozens of other missing children’s cases from the 1950s to the 1970s in the New England region.
Pierce was convicted of killing Michelle Wilson, a young girl who was kidnapped on November 22nd 1969 and brutally sexually assaulted and strangled in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Pierce dumped her body in a wooded area and led authorities to it a decade later. He was serving a 20 year prison sentence when he died of cancer on February 17th 1999.
Investigators have found no evidence that Pierce was involved in Janice’s case. Another suspect in her case is Nathaniel Bar Jonah. He is believed to have raped and murdered multiple children throughout his life. He is also considered a possible suspect in the 1978 disappearance of Andrew Amato, the 1996 Montana abduction of Zachary Ramsey, and the 1997 Wyoming disappearance of Amanda Gallion.
Nathaniel was named as a suspect in Janice’s case in 2000. In that year, investigators found the bone fragments of a child buried 6 feet underneath his dirt floored garage in Montana. The bone fragments were not those of Zachary Ramsey. Janice and Amanda’s families sent their DNA for comparison to the remains but they also did not match. Andrew’s DNA was never compared with the bones.
Investigators also believe Bar-Jonah was involved in cannibalism. Human hair was found in a meat grinder at his home. It did not belong to any of his possible missing victims. The reason why investigators have questioned his possible involvement in Janice’s apparent abduction was since he grew up and lived in Webster, Massachusetts at the time. Webster is only 20 miles away from Tolland.
Nathaniel would’ve been 16 years of age when Janice disappeared but he had already strangled a former playmate by that time. He also served a prison sentence for the abduction and attempted murder of two boys from Massachusetts in 1977. He was also found guilty of two counts of child molestation in Montana in 2002.
In December of 2001, a handwritten list by Bar-Jonah surfaced. It was titled “Lake-Webster” and it included the names of multiple alleged victims of Bar-Jonah. Some news reports have falsely claimed that Andrew Amato was among the children on the list but he wasn’t and there’s no evidence suggesting he was involved in that case. When Janice disappeared, Bar-Jonahs given name was “David P. Brown”.
Bar-Jonah died of a blood clot in Montana prison in 2008. He was 51 years old when he died. He was never charged with any wrongdoing in Janice’s case and there’s no evidence suggesting he was actually involved.
Some have connected Janice’s disappearance to the cases is other missing girls from the Vernon/Tolland area of Connecticut. In 1968, 13 year old Deborah Spickler went missing from the Vernon area in a park. In 1974, another 13 year old girl named Lisa White also disappeared from Vernon, Connecticut. Both girls are still missing as of currently.
In 1975, 20 year old Susan LaRosa disappeared after she left her apartment in downtown Rockville to go to a drug store in order to call her mother. She went missing in close proximity to the area that Lisa White vanished from in 1974. Susan’s skeletal remains were found a few years later. Her murder remains unsolved. In 1976, 18 year old Patricia Luce disappeared after she asked her older brother to drop her off at a 7-Eleven store on Route 38. This was not far from her home. She remained missing for nearly a year until her body was discovered. Her murder remains unsolved.
There’s no proof that the cases are connected but the time period between the disappearances and murders have been noted. No one has ever been arrested in May of these cases or criminally charged.
At the time of her disappearance, Janice was described as the girl who was in charge and was confident in herself. She and her sister enjoyed nature and things like small creatures, toads, and bugs. They would look out for these when outside. She would do many things and activities with her family. Her sister, Mary, continues to fight for answers in her disappearance. Both her parents, Kathryn and Ronald Pockett, have passed away in recent years.
Janice’s disappearance remains unsolved. Multiple suspects have arisen over the years but no arrests have been made. She’s presumed to have been abducted by a stranger.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Connecticut State Police 860-685-8000