The girl was sexually assaulted and had to undergo an extremely painful death.
It would take decades, along with advances in DNA technology, for the police to bring the man who brutally murdered a 19-year-old girl to light, closing the case that shocked public opinion in 1983.
On November 19, 1983, the nearly naked body of 19-year-old Janean Brown was found in a shallow grave in the village of Whitehouse, Ohio. The results of the post-mortem examination shocked many people.
The victim suffered horrendous injuries indicating that she had suffered an extremely painful death.
Police said the gunman had acted “excessively” indicating that the victim most likely knew her killer.
Around the makeshift grave, which police believe was dug quickly by the perpetrator to hide the victim’s body, authorities found her clothes and a pack of Merit cigarettes. Janean was sexually assaulted before being killed.
At the time, Janean was living in the same apartment as her friend Pam Rader, 20, and Pam’s brother Larry Rader.
Pam said that on November 17, she and Janean went to a local bar with Janean’s boyfriend Harold Estep. As they left, a waitress at the bar kissed Harold goodbye. Witnessing this, Janean was very sad and jealous.
When they got home, Janean told Pam to come in first and decided to go for a walk to talk to her boyfriend about what had just happened at the bar. That was the last time Pam Rader saw his friend alive.
Faced with the seriousness of the case, the authorities have urgently launched an investigation. Harold Estep was the first to be summoned to testify.
The young man confirmed that he went for a walk with Janean after Pam entered the house. Harold said the two talked about the waitress at the bar. Harold confirmed to his girlfriend that he did not know this girl and did not know why she acted like that.
After talking, Harold brought his girlfriend to the door. The two said their goodbyes and Harold returned.
Harold’s sister confirmed that her brother was at home the night Janean disappeared and that no one had come to their house either. Harold was removed from the list of suspects.
The police then proceeded to question the bartender. She was also quickly removed from the list of suspects when there was clear alibi.
Witnesses said that that evening in the bar there was also the appearance of Andy Gustafson. Andy is the son of a wealthy local family. Andy’s father is the president of a large company. Andy is known to be arrogant and ostentatious.
Pam said that when the group entered the bar, Andy teased Janean with obscenities and said the 19-year-old had “a cute ass”.
Andy told police that when Janean’s group left, he also went home alone, without anyone. However, no one could corroborate these statements of Andy.
In addition, the police also learned that a guy named Larry Rader had a crush on Janean. Larry was struggling with alcohol and drug problems at the time. Despite making many people suspicious, after investigating, the police concluded that Larry was not involved in that barbaric crime.
At this moment, the police received a tip from a man living in a nursing home.
In 2013, DNA technology finally evolved to produce an unknown male DNA profile from the 1980s.
A few years prior Larry had succumbed to his alcoholism. However, detectives were able to rule him out using familial DNA from his sister and father.
“We had nothing to hide,” said Pam Rader. “We knew Larry didn’t do it.”
Crazy Horse agreed to be swabbed for DNA and was cleared as a suspect. Harold Estep also willingly obliged to give a DNA sample that cleared him.
At this time, the police received important information, which was the result of analyzing a cigarette butt found in Andy Gustafson’s car in the past. True to what investigators suspected 30 years ago, this is the same cigarette that Janean smoked.
Justice after 30 years
Authorities immediately found Andy Gustafson, now living in Birch Run, Michigan. They asked the man for a DNA sample. However, Andy immediately refused.
Fortunately, the police learned that 6 years ago, Andy had been accused of sexual assault and had to take a DNA sample.
Finally, investigators also had evidence that Andy’s DNA matched the DNA sample that the mysterious perpetrator left on Janean Brown during the process of raping and attacking her. Andy was arrested after three decades of crime at the age of 56.
This man was charged with murder in May 2013. The prosecutor said sex may have been the motive for that brutal and brutal murder.
Andy later accepted the plea agreement. On December 28, 2014, Andy was found guilty of manslaughter and rape. He was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter and 5 years for rape and had to pay a fine of $40,000. This man will be eligible for parole in 2028.
For the victim’s relatives, this sentence is too light compared to what she has to endure. However, what comforts them is that even though it took 30 years, justice was finally served and after all, they knew the real culprit in Janean’s death.
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