The Unsolved Thanksgiving Murder of Janet Yeary [UPDATE: CASE CLOSED in 2022]

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UPDATE: With Janet’s family’s approval, police closed her case in January 2022. Per WTHR.com: “Recently, a man who knew [Danny] Case came forward and told investigators that Case had confessed to him that he killed a woman on North Apperson Way after knocking on her door and wanting to use her phone to find a ride.”   

In 2004, Janet K. Yeary, 51, worked as a lab manager for C&B Optical One in Kokomo, Indiana. She loved spending time with her granddaughter and enjoyed the outdoors, listening to music, and spending time on her computer.

Janet and her daughter Carlie Martin lived in separate residences on North Apperson Way in Kokomo. Martin’s home was across the street from Janet’s.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 24, 2004, Janet prepared a large Thanksgiving meal at her home for the following day. Martin worked evenings, so the family planned to have a midday meal at her home.

Sadly, cooking Thanksgiving dinner was the last thing Janet ever did.

Janet did not show up at her daughter’s house on Thanksgiving Day for dinner. On Black Friday, Martin tried calling Janet, but there was no answer.

Martin looked out her window and saw that Janet’s garage door was open, so she went there. She unlocked the door with a key and walked into her mother’s home. Martin found her mother lying dead on the floor. It was apparent someone had murdered her. Martin then phoned the police.

Kokomo Police arrived shortly after and found evidence of a struggle. Janet had been brutally beaten and stabbed to death. Authorities theorized Janet did not know her killer but let him into her home when he knocked on the door asking to make a phone call.

Witnesses told police they saw a white vehicle leave the area at a high rate of speed around the time of Janet’s murder.

Police never arrested anyone in the homicide (see update at the top). Some believe her murder is connected to two other unsolved murders in the Kokomo area between 2004 and 2005.

On Monday, July 12, 2004, authorities found 62-year-old Robert Roe beaten and stabbed to death at his home in Center, Indiana, just a few miles southeast of Kokomo. He was last seen on Saturday, July 10, at his Kokomo business, Fast Lube Under Car and Pack Rat Storage. His wife was out of town at the time.

There were no signs of forced entry or a struggle. Many people were aware that Robert carried large sums of money on him. He also wore expensive diamond rings.

According to the sheriff’s department, Robert’s large gold Masonic ring, which contained several diamonds and a large ruby, a large gold ring with four large diamonds, and a gold ID bracelet he always wore was missing.

On Feb. 8, 2005, the body of Theresa Cooper, 48, was found in the upstairs bedroom of her home, located at 1117 W. North St.

Like Janet and Robert, Theresa was beaten and stabbed to death. However, Theresa’s killer also sexually assaulted her.

Her sister, Trina Lane, last spoke with Theresa on the phone the week before her murder. Theresa told her she had something important to talk about but would not say what it was.

Trina’s other sister called a few days later and told her Theresa was dead.

Nathan Dodson, 25, came forward and told police he saw something suspicious on the morning of Theresa’s murder in an alley that connected his house with hers. Nathan said he was eating a bowl of cereal and looking out a kitchen window that faced the alley when he spotted a man in a hoodie. The man looked directly at him, put his forefinger to his lips to indicate silence, and then walked away.

The problem with Nathan’s statement, other than it sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie, is that he supposedly spotted this man before sunrise, and the nearest street light was 100 feet away.

Nathan was friends with Theresa’s son. In June 2006, Nathan confessed to the rape and stabbing of a 20-year-old woman at Pine Valley Apartments on Kokomo’s south side. She survived the attack and identified him as her attacker.

Kokomo private investigator Dale Seward, hired by Theresa’s sister, believes Nathan is responsible for the murders of Janet, Robert, and Theresa. But police do not seem to share the same opinion.

Kokomo Police believe that a man named Danny Case murdered Janet. Their theory is that someone dropped him off in Janet’s neighborhood the night before Thanksgiving with no way to get back home. He then went door to door in an attempt to either ask to make a phone call or commit murder.

Investigators discovered Danny was wanted in Miami County on an attempted murder charge. On January 25, 2005, authorities arrested him at the Indianapolis International Airport. Unfortunately, he died by suicide in an airport holding cell before detectives could question him in Janet’s murder.

Major Brian Seldon of the Kokomo Police Department said in 2015, “There are many consistencies in the Yeary homicide that point to Danny Case as a strong person of interest.”

Janet, Robert, and Theresa were beaten and stabbed to death. The 2006 victim was beaten, sexually assaulted, and stabbed, just like Theresa. Nathan lived close to all three victims.

“You have Nathan Dodson living close to all there. Six-tenths of a mile from Robert Roe, 1.7 mils from Janet Yeary, and approximately, from corner-to corner of property, 265 feet from Theresa Cooper, ” said Seward in 2015.

And Nathan lived next door to his 2006 victim. Police had knocked on his door during the investigation on the morning of her murder. His clothes were drenched in bleach, and his washing machine was running. However, he was not arrested until later.

After Nathan’s arrest for the 2006 attack, there were no more fatal beatings in the Kokomo area; they stopped altogether.

No one has ever been charged in the murders, and all three remain unsolved.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

UPDATE: I remain unconvinced of Danny Case’s guilt, but if her family believes it, that is what matters most.

I’m not convinced Nathan Dodson killed Robert Roe and Janet Yeary, but I do believe he killed Theresa Cooper. I don’t buy that he witnessed anything in her case. He put himself into the investigation as some killers do. He said this man was wearing a hoodie. When Dodson attacked the woman in 2006, he was wearing a hoodie.

I didn’t see anything on whether Janet was sexually assaulted or if anything was taken from her home. What was the motive in her killing? I couldn’t find anything on Danny Case. Why do police believe he killed Janet? What are the “consistencies” that point to him?

Witnesses said they saw a white vehicle leaving the area at a high rate of speed. While this is suspicious, it does not prove the driver killed Janet. But if he did, then it wasn’t Danny Case because the police think he was dropped off in the neighborhood for whatever reason.

Did Nathan Dodson drive a white vehicle back then?

If robbery and sexual assault were not motives, then I’m more likely to believe Janet knew her killer. Do police honestly expect people to believe that Case knocked on her door and for NO REASON WHATSOEVER beat and killed her? At least in Robert’s case, items were stolen, so there’s motive. There doesn’t appear to be one here.

It’s a sad case, and I hope her family has some answers one day.

Sources

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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