Details of Disappearance
Janna was last seen in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 28, 2015. She lived with her parents and two older sisters in the 4100 block of Candy Apple Boulevard, in the Orchard Valley Farms subdivision; they had moved there just a few weeks earlier.
Just before 9:00 a.m. on May 29, Janna's mother, Yolanda Rivera-Gonzalez, called 911 and said Janna was dead. She later called back and recanted this statement, saying instead that her boyfriend had taken Janna the night before while she was at work and she didn't know where they were. Police later said Yolanda had trouble making herself understood due to a language barrier.
Police questioned Janna's father, Jeffrey D. Fairbanks, who was Yolanda's boyfriend, after finding him lying in bed upstairs. He was drunk at the time and he said he couldn't remember much, but that he had picked Janna up and she wasn't moving. He added that he was "so scared" and didn't want to go to jail, but wanted to get on with his life.
The day after Janna's disappearance was reported, Fairbanks said he would take police to her body. He led them to a dumpster at Maison Garden Apartments on the northeast side of the city. By then, however, the dumpster had been emptied.
A few days after Janna's disappearance, Yolanda filed for an order of protection from Fairbanks. In the order, she said Fairbanks had beaten her regularly, once a month or so, over the past two years and that he would choke her, push her and strike her. On one occasion, during an argument, he sprayed her with a fire extinguisher. Yolanda said she had never gone to the police to report the assaults because she was afraid of Fairbanks. He was, however, found guilty of domestic battery in connection with a 2013 case involving his then-wife.
Fairbanks told several stories about what happened to Janna. At one point he said he woke up at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of Janna crying. He gave her a bottle and she drank it, and he stayed up for a few hours. He said when he changed Janna's diaper he put a pillow over her face to muffle her cries, though he denied having put any pressure on the pillow.
In a letter to the local news media, Fairbanks said he woke up at 1:30 p.m. and realized Janna had died in her sleep, apparently of natural causes. He wrote that in panic he wrapped the baby's body in a blanket and took it out to the car, because he did not want the other children to see it. It didn't occur to him to call 911, he said. He drove around Indianapolis for eight hours, eventually left the body in the dumpster, then lied to Yolanda and his family and said he'd buried it.
One of Janna's sisters remembered hearing Janna crying at around noon on the day of her disappearance. She said Fairbanks came downstairs with the baby at 1:00 p.m. and the other child in the home asked where he was going and why he was carrying Janna like that. The sister caught a glimpse of Janna's face, and her eyes were closed. Fairbanks then took Janna out to the car, left and did not return for eight hours. When he came back he was drunk and crying and said she was dead and he couldn't save her.
Janna's sisters stated Fairbanks was careful with Janna when he was sober, but he drank a lot and when drunk he would yell at Janna and hit her when she cried and fussed. He also sometimes covered her face with a pillow to get her to stop crying.
In August 2015, Fairbanks was charged with murder and neglect of a dependent causing death. A photo of him is posted with this case summary. In April 2017, after less than two hours of deliberation, a jury found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of neglect of a dependent causing death. He was sentenced to thirty years in prison.
An extensive search of Indianapolis, and fields, ponds and landfills in Shelby, Hancock and Marion Counties, turned up no sign of Janna's remains, although police did find a bloodstained blanket and Yolanda identified it as her daughter's. Foul play is suspected in Janna's case due to the circumstances involved.