Details of Disappearance Janice was last seen at her home on Wicks Road in Brentwood, New York at 9:00 p.m. on December 16, 1983. She has never been heard from again. Her husband, Richard Donohue, reported her on January 5, three weeks later. He said he'd worked late, come home and gone to bed, and when he woke up, Janice was gone and their four-year-old son, Chad, was in his crib crying. He stated they were having marital problems and he thought she simply left.
After her disappearance, Janice didn't call her children by her previous marriage, who lived with their father in upstate New York. She also missed a job interview she'd been excited about. Her family doesn't believe she would have abandoned Chad.
A photo of Richard is posted below this case summary. He was a violent man who physically abused Janice during their marriage. After Janice disappeared, police found a note she'd written, saying Richard had threatened to sabotage her car and cause her to get into a fatal wreck, and that if she was ever killed in a car accident, Richard might be responsible for it.
Richard died of cancer in 2000. He has always been the lead suspect in Janice's disappearance, and Chad also believes his father murdered his mother. Chad thinks his uncle Edward, Richard's brother, who hanged himself in the backyard of Richard's house in 1998, may have had knowledge of what happened. He stated Edward was terrified of Richard, he thinks Edward's suicide was prompted by his guilty knowledge of Janice's disappearance.
In December 2019, police searched the Donohues' former residence using ground-penetrating radar, looking for Janice's body. The search didn't turn up anything, however. Both Chad and Janice's biological daughter, who was born when Janice was nineteen and placed for adoption, still hope for closure in her case.
- Suffolk County Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 16, 2019; casefile added.