‘Janet was loved by everyone’; Family of cold case victim issues statement

Janet Lee Lucas
Credit: Missoula County Sheriff's Office

MISSOULA, Mont. — The family of Janet Lee Lucas released a statement Monday after her remains were identified nearly 40 years after she went missing.

Remains found in Montana 38 years ago were identified Monday as Spokane woman Janet Lee Lucas, solving a crucial piece of a nearly four decade-old cold case. The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office said they conducted years of forensics work, but were finally able to identify the remains through advanced DNA analysis and genetic genealogy investigation.

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Following this revelation, Lucas’ family issued the following statement:

“After decades of missing Janet, our family is broken hearted to learn that she was tragically taken, unidentified and spent a large amount of years alone. However, she never spent one moment without being loved. Janet had a contagious smile, warm personality and wore her heart on her sleeve. Janet had been missed dearly, searched for but most importantly never forgotten. Janet was loved by everyone. Not only was she a mother, she was a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend and now a grandmother to 4 beautiful children.

“We are grateful to finally be able to bring her home to us, as well as bring Janet the peace and rest she so deserves. While after 38 years, our family finally has some answers. We also realize there are questions that we may never have the answers to. We would like to thank the Missoula Sheriff’s Department for their decades of pursuit to bring justice to Janet, Marta Timmons who devoted years of her career looking for answers and resolution for Janet, Dianna Parker for volunteering her time to consult and answer all our questions, and lastly we would like to thank the family that submitted their ancestry and DNA that finally brought Janet home.

“While this case has been in the hearts of the community just as long as it has been in our hearts, due to the sensitive nature and deep emotions involved we also ask that the public respect our families privacy as we put our beloved Janet to rest.”

The cold case is still ongoing, with authorities working to find out who may have been responsible for Lucas’ death, including possible links to Wayne Nance, the “Montana Mauler.”