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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    NJ - Betty Gladden Smith, 49, West Windsor Township, 4 Oct 1991

    Betty Fran Gladden Smith
    Missing since October 4, 1991 from West Windsor Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.
    Classification: Endangered Missing
    The Doe Network: Case File 293DFNJ

    Vital Statistics

    Date Of Birth: August 4, 1942
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 49 years old
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'2; 100 pounds
    Distinguishing Characteristics: Blonde hair; blue eyes. Her nickname is "Fran." Fran has a scar on her left knee and a hysterectomy scar on her abdomen. She has a pin in her right hip. There is no bone in the little toe of her right foot. Her front teeth were replaced by temporary caps, which were slightly yellowed at the time of her disappearance. She has breast implants.

    Circumstances of Disappearance

    Betty was married to John David Smith III at the time of her 1991 disappearance. The couple met in Florida in 1990 and moved to New Jersey shortly after their wedding the same year.

    John David Smith
    Betty's family told authorities that John had seemed to be mild-mannered prior to Betty's disappearance, but they later learned he was abusive towards his wife. Betty called her daughter at approximately 8:30 AM on October 4, 1991 from the couple's West Windsor Township, New Jersey residence. Betty gave no indication that anything was amiss and did not mention any travel plans. She was recovering from a broken hip at the time, which would have made traveling difficult. Betty has never been seen or heard from again.
    John told Betty's family that he believed she went on an impromptu trip. Her relatives did not believe this claim and began to investigate her disappearance themselves. They learned that John had previously been married to Janice Hartman Smith in the 1970's, while he initially told Betty's family that their marriage was his first.
    Janice vanished from Ohio in 1974, three days after her divorce from John had been finalized. John reported Janice as a missing person two days later. Janice's case remained unsolved until 2000.
    John was never charged in connection with either of his wives' disappearances in the 1990's and moved to California after Betty vanished. He married for a third time in 1998.
    Janice's remains were located in an Indiana roadside ditch in 1980, six years after she was last seen. She was not identified until 2000. Janice's legs had been cut off below the knees. John was charged with Janice's murder in the fall of 2000 and is currently in an Ohio prison. He has since been convicted of Janice's murder and is serving a term of 15 years to life. He is eligible for parole in 2010.
    Foul play is suspected in Betty's disappearance due to the circumstances involved. John is not charged in her case and she has never been located.

    If you have any information concerning Smith's whereabouts, please contact:
    West Windsor Township Police Department 609-799-1212
    Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) 202-324-3000
    You may remain anonymous when submitting information to any agency.

    NCIC Number: M-520039204
    Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Source Information:
    Nation's Missing Children Organization and Center For Missing Adults
    ABC News On-Line

    link to The Doe Network: Case File 293DFNJ:

    Link to John David Smith III, Ohio Department of Corrections:
    Last edited by KateB; 05-01-2015 at 11:05 PM. Reason: update Doe link.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    May 8th at 9 pm eastern time lifetime will air a movie based on the dissapearance of John Smith's wife/wives. It is called Murder on Pleasant Drive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    New Jersey
    Quote Originally Posted by 2sisters
    May 8th at 9 pm eastern time lifetime will air a movie based on the dissapearance of John Smith's wife/wives. It is called Murder on Pleasant Drive.
    Thanks for the information! I don't have much time to browse these days but I was reading this site a few days ago. Someone had a possible match from the Doe Network, a picture of a missing woman compared to a picture of a woman found with this man's belongings. Did anything pan out? I couldn't view the pictures the author of the post had put up but I did look at the doe network pictures and even they looked to be a close match.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    I want to remind everyone that the movie Betty Fran Gladden Smith's dissappearance will be on Mon night. Who knows, she may be a Jane Doe somewhere and this could be what help's ID her. I wish more things like this were done to remind people of the missing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Wenonah, NJ
    Quoted from http://www.enquirer.com/editions/200..._m_report.html

    Jury picks start; man facing murder charge

    WOOSTER, Ohio — Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of a man charged with killing his first wife and suspected in the disappearance of his second wife.

    Opening statements are set for Friday for the trial of John D. Smith III, who could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of aggravated murder in the 1974 death of Janice Hartman Smith. She disappeared from her Doylestown home five days after their divorce.
    Her remains weren't identified until last year.
    Mr. Smith's trial in Wayne County Common Pleas Court is expected to last about three weeks. Judge Mark K. Wiest met Monday with prosecutors and defense attorneys.
    Mr. Smith also is being investigated in the death of his second wife, Betty Fran (Gladden) Smith. She vanished in 1991 while recovering from a broken hip. Her body has never been found. A New Jersey detective investigating the second disappearance asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen the case.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    an older article

    A tale of murder and marriage

    Times Features Writer
    A Hoosier's 15-year search for a vanished sister is documented in a new Lifetime movie.

    "Murder on Pleasant Drive," airing at 8 p.m. Monday, recaps how Sherrie Gladden-Davis convinced the FBI and five police departments to let her help solve her sibling's disappearance. Her grit put an ex-Hammond resident behind bars for murder and cracked the "lady in the box" mystery that shocked Northwest Indiana in 1980.

    Gladden-Davis of Morristown, Ind. has yet to screen the telefilm. But the soft-spoken grandmother of three, 59, hopes that movie -- based on her book "My Sister Is Missing: Bringing a Killer to Justice" (Emmis Books, 2005) -- pays tribute to investigating officers. She and niece-sidekick Dedy Weiss just ferreted out clues, she insists.

    At the same time, "you don't take one of mine and walk away without bearing the scars of your actions," she said in a phone interview.

    Fran Gladden-Smith vanished Oct. 1, 1991, from her New Jersey home. The feisty, thrice-divorced mother of three, 49, had recently wed John David Smith III, a boyish engineer eight years her junior.

    The romance had been a whirlwind affair. Smith seemed devoted to his bride if vague about his past. Now he was vaguer than ever. Fran just walked out on him, he swore. A note read, "Going away for a few days. Don't forget to feed the fish."

    Gladden-Davis didn't buy the fish story. Nor did Weiss, Fran's grown daughter. The three women were very close. Besides, why would Fran, recovering from a broken hip, leave without her car?

    "Fran would never have left without telling us where she was going," Gladden-Davis said.

    History of lies

    The police were baffled, but there was no evidence of foul play. Undaunted, Gladden-Davis and Weiss began digging into Smith's past, reviewing yearbooks, old bills and public records for clues to this near-stranger they believed murdered Fran. Major discrepancies were reported to the police, a ploy that kept the case alive. They also went to the media, publicizing Fran's disappearance on "Hard Copy," "Inside Edition" and "20/20 Downtown."

    And the women discovered their prime suspect was a chronic liar.

    Among their findings: Smith, who maintained he had a degree from Ohio State, had dropped out of school after two years. A brilliant computer programmer, he had a history of conning employers into thinking he was an aeronautical engineer.

    Worse, the man who swore he was a confirmed bachelor before meeting Fran had been married before. The Ohio native had wed high school sweetheart Janice E. Hartman in 1970.

    Janice had vanished, too, 17 years earlier, just after the couple's divorce in 1974.

    Gladden-Davis and Weiss redoubled their efforts, this time concentrating on Smith's relatives and old friends. A half-brother finally cracked. Michael Smith had watched the suspect build a coffin-like box in 1974 to store Janice's clothes after she disappeared. The box was stored for years in their grandparents' garage in Seville, Ohio.

    Curious, Michael Smith pried the lid open in 1979 and recognized the ruins of his ex-sister-in-law's face. The young man wanted to call the police, but his grandfather overruled him. John Smith was ordered to remove the box. He arrived the summer of 1979, stashed the box in the trunk of his Corvette and drove away.

    Closing in on a killer

    Gladden-Davis and Weiss alerted the FBI. Then they set out to find the box -- solid evidence of foul play -- but Ohio authorities had no record of a Jane Doe in a makeshift coffin.

    Then the pair found receipts in 1999 that showed Smith lived in Hammond in the late '70s. The amateur sleuths urged police to quiz every Indiana coroner about unsolved crimes during Smith's tenure.

    Three days later, Inspector Gerald Burman of the Newton County Sheriff's Department called and said, "I think I have your girl."

    In 1980, highway workers had found female remains in a box in a roadside ditch near Morocco. The Times, which reported the grisly discovery on April 24, 1980, mentioned that the victim's legs appeared to have been amputated "so the body would fit in the box."

    DNA evidence showed the victim was Janice Hartman.

    Smith was arrested, convicted of murder in 2001 and sentenced to 15 years to life. He is eligible for parole in February 2010.

    Fran is still missing and presumed dead, a victim of foul play. But Gladden-Davis can sleep now, "knowing another woman isn't going to die tonight at the hands of John Smith," she said.

    An undated letter found from Fran to Smith suggests that the couple's marriage was in trouble almost immediately. Gladden-Davis suspects Smith is a sociopath, a troubled individual with no regard for others or the law.

    "My opinion is, any time a woman was going to leave him, he was a control freak ... a 'You'll leave when I say you'll leave' guy," she said.

    The Lifetime film stars Amy Madigan as Gladden-Davis, Kelli Williams as Weiss and Adam Arkin as Smith. Bill Kurtis chronicled the crime on his "Cold Case" series in an episode titled "The Lady in the Box."

    On a bittersweet note, Gladden-Davis recently learned through the Doe Network (International Center for Unidentified and Missing Persons) that the remains of a woman found near Georgia might be a match for Fran. Certain dental characteristics match as does the manufacturing number of the orthopedic plate used for Fran's hip replacement. Proceeds from the movie will help finance DNA tests.

    Gladden-Davis is praying for resolution, but determined to continue searching for her sister if tests fail to establish a positive ID.

    "I come from a very, very long line of very strong women," she said. "We take our families and the love of our families very seriously."

    Sherrie Gladden-Davis asks readers who may have pertinent information about former Hammond resident John David Smith III to contact her via mwoulfe@nwitimes.com.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Saturday, October 21, 2000
    Suspect in wife's death remains in jail


    The Associated Press
    WOOSTER, Ohio A man charged with killing his wife, who disappeared 26 years ago, will be held without bond until his trial, a prosecutor said.

    At a bond hearing Friday, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Jocelyn Stefancin said John David Smith III, 49, likely committed the crime and would be a threat to the community if he was released from the county jail. A trial date has not been set.

    Mr. Smith, a former Seville resident who most recently lived in Oceanside, Calif., pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges Oct. 11, in Wayne County Common Pleas Court.

    He is accused of killing Janice Hartman, 23, his first wife.

    Mr. Smith reported her missing from her Wayne County home a few days after their divorce in 1974. If convicted, he could face life in prison. Mr. Smith became a suspect in Mr. Hartman's death in 1991 after the disappearance of his second wife, Fran Gladden, 49, of West Windsor, N.J., Ms. Stefancin said. Ms. Gladden, who vanished within days of having hip surgery, was never found.

    Authorities only confirmed that Ms. Hartman was dead this year after determining skeletal remains found in 1980 in a box along a rural road near Morocco, Ind., were hers. The cause of death hasn't been determined.

    Ms. Stefancin said FBI Special Agent Roy Spear testified Friday that after Ms. Hartman's disappearance someone saw Mr. Smith building a box that was similar in size to the one found in Indiana.

    Mr. Smith's attorney, Kirk Migdal of Akron, could not be reached for comment Friday.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    A new Learning Channel crime series will showcase a Hoosier's 17-year search for her missing sister, a case that put a former Hammond resident behind bars.

    An episode of "Personal Justice" will track how Sherrie Gladden-Davis, of Morristown, Ind., has lobbied the FBI and five police forces to solve the disappearance of sib Fran Gladden-Smith, 49. Producers were impressed by Gladden-Davis's persistence, spokeswoman Amanda Ingersoll said.

    The thrice-divorced Fran vanished in 1991 while recovering from a broken hip in her New Jersey home. New husband John David Smith III claimed Fran walked out on him, leaving her car behind.

    Suspicious, Gladden-Davis and niece Dedy Weiss scrutinized Smith's past, uncovering a secret marriage to a woman who disappeared after the couple's 1974 divorce. Their big break came in 1999 when they learned Smith once lived in Hammond.

    Calls to local coroners about Jane Does yielded the story of "The Lady in the Box," female remains found in a box near Morocco in 1980. DNA evidence confirmed the victim was Smith's first wife. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years to life. Second wife Fran is still missing.

    The case inspired a Lifetime movie and has been chronicled on "Cold Case," "Hard Copy," "Inside Edition" and "20/20 Downtown."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    The link to the Doe Network posted above is broken.
    Correct link to the Doe Network: http://doenetwork.org/
    Enter case 293dfnj in the site search bar.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Southwestern PA
    I just saw the case of Janice Hartman (John David Smith's 1st wife) on Forensic Files on TRU TV... it also mentions about Betty Fran missing also.

    I hope they find her so her family can have some type of closure!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Penn's woods

    Next month marks 19 years that Betty Fran has been missing. Come home soon.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    The 20 year anniversary of this case has just passed.

    Has anyone seen any updates?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    I'm watching the LMN movie right now, I came here to look for an update. So disappointed to not find one.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    It is pretty obvious that the most likely suspect in Betty's disappearance was her husband, John David Smith. Here is some information on him regarding his current placement. It looks like his next Parole Hearing will be seven years from now in 2019. He should be pretty well rehabilitated by then....

    Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Offender Search Detail

    Number: A408018
    DOB: 04/02/1951
    Gender: Male
    Race: White

    Admission Date: 07/20/2001
    Institution: Trumbull Correctional Institution

    Offense Information
    MURDER Counts: 1
    ORC: 2903.02 2

    Committing County: WAYNE
    Admission Date: 07/20/2001
    Degree of Felony: MR
    Victim Info: Female, Adult

    Sentence Information

    Indefinite Sentence Min: 15 years
    Indefinite Sentence Max: Life Sentence

    Parole Hearing Information

    Next Parole Board Hearing/Review Month: December 2019



  15. #15
    This creep can never leave prison! If he does, he will kill again. I wonder whatever happened to the UID found in Georgia? It must not have been a match to Fran. And no one has come forward identifying the two ladies in photos found in John's possessions? http://charleyproject.org/cases/s/smith_betty.html. This guy shouldn't even have the ability to appear before a parole board. I hope these cases are solved.
    Seeking Justice for those who can't. There has been justice for Jhessye!

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