Details of Disappearance
Janet was last seen in Somerset, Pennsylvania on June 30, 1985. She disappeared with her ten-year-old daughter, Marisa Alexandria Shuglie.
The family had been living at a rental property near Hidden Valley Resort, then they moved to the now-defunct Coleman Motel on Route 601. Janet had been going to a priest at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church for counseling on a regular basis, and had made arrangements to meet the priest the morning she and her daughter disappeared.
According to Janet's husband, Francis J. "Frank" Shuglie, that morning he and Janet fought about Marisa. Janet spit in his face, and he slapped her. Janet and Marisa then left the motel and walked across the highway to Dan's Auto Sales.
Janet told the business owner she was trying to find a ride to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where her relatives lived. He tried to use a CB (citizens band) radio to get her a ride, but was unable to find one. Janet said they were going to see the priest, and she and Marisa walked off towards the turnpike interchange. They never been heard from again.
Janet and Frank have two sons who were four and five years old in 1985. The boys later told police their father didn't return to their motel room until late that night, and that when he did, his clothes were muddy.
The next day, Frank thoroughly cleaned the room, even washing the walls. Then he checked out of the motel and went to Jeanette, Pennsylvania where he's originally from. After a day or two there, he took his sons and moved to an apartment in Pittsburgh.
Frank reported his wife and daughter missing to the Pennsylvania State Police on July 3. Between that time and August 10, he contacted local media outlets, women's shelters, the Salvation Army, the Pittsburgh police, the FBI, and the CIA, asking for assistance in locating Janet and Marisa.
On August 31, Frank met Theodore Shanefelt and another man while they were fishing at a Pittsburgh park and offered them $2,000 each and round-trip tickets to Hawaii if they would kill his Janet, injure her aunt and uncle, and kidnap Marisa. He said he thought Janet was hiding Marisa from him with her relatives' assistance.
Shanefelt played along with Frank's plan for several meetings, then told the police about it. He introduced two undercover police officers to Frank as hitmen, and the officers secretly recorded Frank's solicitations.
In mid-September, Frank was arrested for solicitation to commit murder, kidnapping and assault. While he was in jail, he allegedly told three other inmates he "got rid of" Janet and Marisa. One inmate told investigators Frank had asked him whether he could be convicted of murder in the bodies were never found.
Frank chose to go to trial before a judge rather than a jury. He was convicted of all charges. According to investigators, he has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, suffers from delusions and lives "in a fantasy world." He served part of his sentence at a hospital for the criminally insane in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. He now lives in the Pittsburgh area.
Foul play is suspected in Janet and Marisa's disappearances, and Frank remains the prime suspect in their cases. Authorities think his attempt to hire people to kill Janet and kidnap Marisa after their disappearances may have been an attempt to divert suspicion from himself.
In 2019, Janet's Penn Joint Junior High School class ring was turned over to the police. A photo of the ring is posted with this case summary. A family had found it more than twenty years earlier, and after they tried to find the ring's owner and discovered it belonged to a missing person, they told the police.
Authorities haven't disclosed the location where the ring was found, but they hope this new clue might lead to answers in Janet and Marisa's disappearances.
Photos of Marisa are unavailable. She was 5'0 and 92 pounds in 1985, and has brown hair and brown eyes. Her and her mother's disappearances remains unsolved.