Had Janet March left to start a new life, or had she been murdered?


Janet March (Photo: PA Photos)

Janet March needed a break. The arguments with her husband Perry had got too much.

So that night of 15 August 1996, she put three bags of clothes into the back of her Volvo, stuffed her passport into her handbag and drove off.

She didn’t tell Perry where she was going. Only that she’d be back in 12 days. Then she handed him a To-Do list of household chores.

Perry called Janet’s parents. ‘She’s probably just driving around to cool off,’ Janet’s mum said.

But twelve days came and went. Perry and Janet’s parents, Carolyn and Larry, went to the police.

Investigators found that Janet hadn’t used her bank cards in all the time she’d been away. And they soon found her car parked in front of a block of flats not far from her home in Nashville. The bags of clothes were there. As was the handbag with her passport.

Suddenly, it looked like she’d been murdered. How had it come to this?

To the outside world, Janet and Perry had it all. But for a couple of months Perry had been sexually harassing one of his colleagues.

He’d written her explicit letters, and to avoid court, Perry agreed to pay his colleague $25,000 in instalments.

Perry March being escorted from court. (Photo: PA Photos)

Perry March being escorted from court. (Photo: PA Photos)

Janet had been angry and, the day after she’d disappeared, she’d been to see a lawyer about getting a divorce. That’s what Perry said they’d been arguing about on the day she vanished.

The police asked Perry to hand over the hard drive for the computer on which Janet had written the To-Do list.

He’d told them it had gone missing. Was this to cover up the fact he’d written the list himself?

And Perry had changed the tyres on his car the day after Janet had disappeared. Suspicion was building. Had Perry killed Janet?

Perry denied any involvement. He moved to Mexico with his and Janet’s children.

He eventually remarried. But the case wasn’t closed, and ten years later, he finally went on trial back in the USA for his wife’s murder.

Perry maintained his denials. His defence pointed out that all the evidence against Perry was circumstantial. Was Janet even dead or just gone without a trace?

Perry claimed he’d seen her on telly, in the crowd at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. If it was her, how had Janet managed to get to Greece without using her bank account or passport?

Perry’s defence also produced an unsigned letter claiming Janet had been having an affair, that she used drugs with her lover.

It said that Janet had overdosed on drugs and her lover had disposed of her body. But what would the jury believe?

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. The verdict
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