Janett Christman

Janett Christman was born on the 21st of March 1936, to parents Charles and Lula Christman. Janett was the eldest child, having a younger sister Reta Christman Smith and a newborn sister Cheryl Christman Bottorff.

Janett’s family owned Ernie’s Cafe and Steakhouse in Columbia, Missouri. The family lived above the cafe and were loved by neighbours for their kindness and good nature around the town.

In 1950, Janett was thirteen years old. She was described as being very academically smart, and she loved playing the piano, singing, and participating in church groups.

Janett Christman. Credit: Findagrave.com

On March 18th, 1950, Janett was babysitting for Mr and Mrs Romacks. She was looking after their three-year-old son Gregory, at the Romacks house which was just outside of Columbia.

Before leaving to attend a party, Mr Romack showed Janett how to use his shotgun if she needed to, and also told her to turn on the porch light before answering the door in case anyone knocked at the door.

At around 10:30pm that evening, the police department in Columbia received a phone call from a young girl saying “come quick!”. Before any information regarding the girl’s whereabouts, name or age could be given to the officer, the connection was cut.

A short time after this, Mrs Romack decided to call home to check up on Janett and her son Gregory. No one answered the phone, but because it was quite late at the time she called, Mrs Romack put it down to Janett falling asleep and went back to partying for a few more hours.

At 1:30am, Mr and Mrs Romack returned home. They noticed that the front window blinds were open and that the porch light was on. Both the front and back doors were already unlocked, and the side window had been broken.

What they saw when they entered the house shocked them.

Janett was lying on the floor, surrounded by blood. She had been murdered. Her face showed signs of a head injury, and she had been stabbed multiple times by what seemed to be a mechanical pencil. Scars on her face seemed to show scratch marks.

Janett Christman. Credit: J.H. Moncrieff

Gregory, Romack’s three-year-old son, was found in his room completely unharmed and asleep.

Janett’s official cause of death was strangulation, possibly from an electric iron cord that had been found around Janett’s neck.

Police found the phone off the hook, and confirmed that the call police received earlier that night had come from Janett. They also found blood smears and fingerprints in the kitchen and living room of the house, indicating that Janett had tried to resist her attacker.

As Janett’s murder investigation continued, one person was becoming a prime suspect – Robert Mueller.

Robert Mueller had served as an Army Corps Captain in World War Two, and then later returned to Columbia to look after his father’s restaurant and became a tailor. Local people liked his dressing sense and knew that he often carried a mechanical pencil with him.

Robert Mueller was also good friends with the Romacks and was actually out partying with them on the night that Janett was murdered.

Several people who were also out partying, including Mr and Mrs Romack, say that Robert left the party for at least a couple of hours, telling the others that he had to meet a doctor who was attending to his son. The police spoke to the doctor, who said that this meeting never took place.

Police conducted a lie detector test with Robert, and he passed. Because of this, the police had no choice but to release him.

Robert was never charged or arrested for the murder of Janett. He died in 2006, aged 83.

Janett’s murder remains unsolved to this day, but her family and the Romack’s believe that Robert was responsible for her death.

Janett Christman. Credit: J.H. Moncrieff.


Janett Christman, Columbia, Missouri, 1950, the 1950s, Unsolved Murder, Unsolved Homicide, True Crime, Real Crime, Murder, Homicide, Unsolved Mystery, Unsolved True Crime

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