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  1. #1
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    MO - Janett Christman, 13, Columbia, 18 March 1950



    This case may have been referred to in other threads but I think it deserves one of its own. 13-year-old Janett Christman had declined to attend a party with friends in order to earn extra money babysitting. On the night of March 18, 1950, Janett was at the home of the Romack family on West Boulevard and Stewart Road. Her charge, 3-year-old Gregory, was asleep in his bedroom with the radio playing, which may account for why the toddler apparently slept through the incident undisturbed.

    Around 10:30 pm, the local police station received a panicked phone call from a terrified young female, who screamed, "come quick!" but the call was cut off and no one was manning the test board at the telephone company so authorities were unable to trace the call. When the boy's parents returned at approximately 1:30 am, they found both doors to the house unlocked, the blinds open, the porch light on, and a window shattered with a garden hose. Janett was lying in a pool of blood near the family piano; she had been hit on the head with a blunt object, raped, and strangled with an iron cord. Upon investigation, the police came to the conclusion that the broken window was done by the killer to make it seem as if he had broken in, as nothing else around the window, inside or outside, had been disturbed and that Janett probably opened the door to her attacker, strongly indicating that she knew him.

    The head wounds Janett suffered were consistent with a mechanical pencil, which was what the prime suspect, 27-year-old Robert Mueller, who was a family friend of Romacks, often carried. According to the Romacks, Mueller had made unwelcome advances toward Janett in the past, as she was well-developed for her age and he seemed pleased that she was a virgin. Mueller passed a lie detector test and was never charged with Janett's murder as there wasn't enough evidence to hold him. Janett's murder remains unsolved, and her friends are still haunted by what happened to her.

    This terrible crime was supposedly the basis for the urban legend "The Babysitter And The Man Upstairs", which in turn, inspired suspense/horror films such as Black Christmas (1974), Halloween (1978) and most notably, When A Stranger Calls (1979). As terrifying as the story and films are, knowing that it was taken from an actual case makes it even more frightening. Robert Mueller, was of course the most likely suspect; it's too bad that he couldn't be investigated further and that the technology and knowledge of the time wasn't able to get a murder charge, much less a conviction. Of course, there is a possibility that her killer was someone else entirely. We may never know.

    Janett was just a few days shy of her 14th birthday at the time of her murder.


  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    The similar case referred to in the article above is that of Mary Lou Jenkins, who was found murdered in the home she shared with her mother four years earlier. While a man confessed to her murder and was ultimately executed for it, doubts persist as to whether or not he was actually guilty or not.

    http://archive.voxmagazine.com/stori...y-lou-jenkins/




  4. #4
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    This case actually reminds me a lot of the 1953 abduction and likely murder of babysitter Evelyn Hartley, 15, in WI.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    This case actually reminds me a lot of the 1953 abduction and likely murder of babysitter Evelyn Hartley, 15, in WI.
    There are definitely some similarities. Poor girls.

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    This is a very detailed article about the case: http://insidecolumbia.net/2015/10/01...ett-christman/
    Last edited by Noirdame79; 02-17-2017 at 09:42 PM.

  7. #7
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    This documentary investigates and explores urban legends that have been based on actual events. Janett's case and that of Mary Lou Jenkins begins at about 45:00


  8. #8
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    I notice that some of the movie clips are from Black Christmas which has nothing to do with babysitting although it is an execellent film. Black Christmas is about a group of women who are being murdered in a sorority house by an unknown killer as they are preparing to leave for their holiday break.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noirdame79 View Post
    The similar case referred to in the article above is that of Mary Lou Jenkins, who was found murdered in the home she shared with her mother four years earlier.
    Interesting that both Janett and Mary Lou were raped and then strangled with cords taken from domestic appliances or items - and iron and a lamp respectively.
    Last edited by MelmothTheLost; 02-19-2017 at 04:10 AM. Reason: Added a couple of words

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    This case actually reminds me a lot of the 1953 abduction and likely murder of babysitter Evelyn Hartley, 15, in WI.
    Are you suggesting the same killer? I'm not so sure. Two girls strangled with very similar ligatures versus one girl who was abducted (and presumably murdered). I can't imagine that Evelyn's attacker could not have killed her in situ if he'd wanted to.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MelmothTheLost View Post
    Are you suggesting the same killer? I'm not so sure. Two girls strangled with very similar ligatures versus one girl who was abducted (and presumably murdered). I can't imagine that Evelyn's attacker could not have killed her in situ if he'd wanted to.
    No, I'm not suggesting it was likely the same killer although I wouldn't rule it out 100%.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  12. #12
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    Have you researched whether there were any similar rapes or attempted rapes around the same time in that community?

    The electrical cord is of course a weapon of opportunity that happened to be on scene. This could indicate that the killer did not originally intend to kill the victim but something changed his mind during or after the attack.

  13. #13
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    The more I think about it, the more I think Mueller was innocent. There is no evidence against him, there is no record of him being involved in a sex crime our any other violent crime, he passed a polygraph test and, more importantly in my view, he agreed to take the test.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    The more I think about it, the more I think Mueller was innocent. There is no evidence against him, there is no record of him being involved in a sex crime our any other violent crime, he passed a polygraph test and, more importantly in my view, he agreed to take the test.
    Polygraphs weren't as advanced in 1950, and of course are not admissible in court. He also had a habit of carrying a mechanical pencil, similar to the weapon used on Janett. And certainly, a person can still be a sexual predator/killer and not have any police record. Just because no other crimes were linked to him doesn't necessarily mean that there weren't any. And Janett's killer obviously knew the house, and likely new Janett since she obviously let him in. Someone targeted her specifically.
    Last edited by Noirdame79; 07-20-2017 at 01:05 PM.

  15. #15
    Did you read this article http://insidecolumbia.net/2015/10/01...ett-christman/ ? obviously its just one source but seems very likely he is the guy. He even said he could have done it and forgot about it and his alibi was that he had gone home for a few hours so a doctor could attend to his sick child which was denied by the same doctor when questioned by Wedemier

    And was this the father of former FBI direct Robert Mueller? There are some different details but still the resemblance if you look up the suspect is uncanny
    Last edited by youdotneedthis; 10-08-2017 at 05:23 PM.



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