Janis Kay Sanders

Sanders, circa 1975; Jerry Libertowski

  • Missing Since 07/20/1975
  • Missing From Niles, Michigan
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 09/27/1950 (73)
  • Age 24 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'4, 115 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black jumper-type dress, a long-sleeved collared rose-colored shirt, black pantyhose, white shoes, gold earrings and a gold watch with a black leather band.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) 1973 or 1974 AMC Matador (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Red hair, blue eyes. Sanders has freckles and her ears are pierced. Some agencies spell her name "Janice."

Details of Disappearance

Sanders was last seen leaving her waitress job at Pete's Patio Resturant in Niles, Michigan close to midnight on July 20, 1975. Her estranged boyfriend, Gerald Casimer "Jerry" Libertowski Jr., followed her out of the restaurant.

Witnesses stated Libertowski was acting like a "mad man" at the time, and while he and Sanders were talking in the parking lot, she looked "scared." Sanders had ended their relationship the week before and moved back in with her parents in South Bend, Indiana. She has never been heard from again.

Sanders was reported missing by a family member on July 21. Police questioned Libertowski that same day, and noted he had had facial injuries which witnesses hadn't noticed the night before. On August 5, Sanders's 1973 or 1974 AMC Matador was found parked at the Holiday Inn in the 900 block of south Eleventh Street in Niles. There was no sign of her at the scene.

In 1976, Libertowski was charged with Sanders's murder as well as the murder of Janeice Langs, another girlfriend of his who disappeared in 1973 and was never found.

Sanders's wallet and a pill bottle belonging to Langs were discovered hidden in the crawl space of Libertowski's house after the women's disappearances. He also allegedly told his former business partner he'd killed the women. He was later acquitted of Langs's murder, and the charges in Sanders's presumed death were dropped for lack of evidence.

Authorities continue to believe Libertowski was involved in both women's disappearances. He died in 2010, at the age of 67.

Foul play is suspected in Sanders's disappearance due to the circumstances involved. She left behind two children, and both her parents and her ex-husband said she wouldn't have left them without making sure they would be cared for. Some agencies give her date of disappearance as August 5, the day her car was found.

Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 7, 2023; two pictures added.