CT JANICE K. POCKETT: Missing from Tolland, CT - 26 July 1973 - Age 7

85DFCT - Janice K. Pockett

Images 5 and 6: Age-progressed to 39 and 47 years.

Name: Janice K. Pockett
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: July 26, 1973
Location Last Seen: Tolland, Tolland County, Connecticut

Physical Description

Date of Birth: October 15, 1965
Age: 7 years old
Race: White
Gender: Female
Height: 4'0"
Weight: 65 lbs.
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown


Dentals: Available. She has a gap between her front teeth.
Fingerprints: Not Available
DNA: Available

Clothing & Personal Items

Clothing: At the time of her disappearance, Janice was wearing navy blue shorts with an American flag emblem, a blue and white striped pull-over shirt, and blue sneakers.
Jewelry: Unknown
Additional Personal Items: Unknown

Circumstances of Disappearance

Janice K. Pockett left her home by bicycle around 3 p.m. on July 26, 1973. She told her mother she was going to get a butterfly she had left under a rock in a wooded area on Rhodes Road.

Her bike was found six days later on Rhodes Road, near her home, close to a wooded area. An extensive search provided no clues as to her whereabouts.

A convicted murderer and known pedophile, confessed to Pockett's killing in the 1970s. He claimed that he buried her in an area near Lawrence, Massachusetts, near the grave of Angelo Puglisi. Her body has never been discovered and the suspect was never charged in her disappearance. He died in prison in 1999.

Janice Pockett is one of six young females either missing or found dead in the area since 1968.

Investigating Agency(s)

Agency Name: Connecticut State Police
Agency Contact Person: Detective Robert Given
Agency Phone Number: 860-779-4940
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: 000000014

NCIC Case Number: M239254040
NamUs Case Number: 2555
NCMEC Case Number: 923957

Information Source(s)

The Boston Globe News Archive

edited by staff to media link
Last edited by a moderator:
I mentioned this on our old thread before our website crash, but I met a woman who went to school with Janice when she went missing. It was interesting to talk to her about it because she said that she remembered her and her friends wondering what happened to Janice and then they were scared it would happen to them. She still wishes they would find out what happened to her school mate.

She said Janice was a typical happy young girl.
Janice was last seen leaving her family's home on Anthony Road in Tolland, Connecticut on July 26, 1973. She planned to ride her metallic green Murray bicycle, which had a bell and a banana seat, through the neighborhood to search for a butterfly she'd caught and left on a rock a few days earlier. She was carrying an envelope to carry the butterfly in.

It was the first time she'd been allowed to go out by herself. She never arrived home and has never been seen again. Janice's mother found her bike half an hour later, on Rhoades Road near a wooded area less than a mile from her residence.

The butterfly and envelope were never found. Authorities believe something happened to Janice after she had picked up the butterfly and was on her way home.

Janice was one of five people to disappear in the general area during a ten-year time period; another was Lisa White. All of the missing were female; they ranged in age from 7 to 20 years old. Two of them were found deceased years after their disappearances but the other three, including Lisa, remain missing. It is not clear whether the cases are related.

The late Charles Pierce, a pedophile who was suspected in many child disappearance cases in New England throughout the 1950s - 1970s, confessed to Janice's murder. A photo of Pierce is posted with this case summary.

He claimed to have buried her in the Lawrence, Massachusetts area near an unidentified boy who was another victim. The boy was thought to be Angelo Puglisi, a Massachusetts child who vanished three years after Janice in 1976. Neither of the supposed graves has been discovered.

MUCH more at link, including another suspect in her disappearance.
I mentioned this on our old thread before our website crash, but I met a woman who went to school with Janice when she went missing. It was interesting to talk to her about it because she said that she remembered her and her friends wondering what happened to Janice and then they were scared it would happen to them. She still wishes they would find out what happened to her school mate.

She said Janice was a typical happy young girl.
Wow. That would be frightening.

The first article is from a cold case file report and it names Charles Pierce as well as another man, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah as suspects in the disappearance of Janice. The second suspect would have been 16 at the time Janice was abducted and lived roughly 20 miles away. The article details why he was named a suspect but also states that there was never evidence sufficient to bring charges against him. The second link is to a website that gives more information and insight into the crimes of Nathaniel Bar-Jonah.
That guy was extremely sick and was given slaps on the hand starting at a young age. From what I remember he liked to prey on boys.
I remember Charles Pierce being the strongest suspect and that he had said he pulled her into his van, Killed her and had sex with her after death. This hasn't been proven as a fact but seems most credible. I remember this from the documentary about Andy Puglisi. I believe it's called "Where's Andy?" Made by his childhood friend. Charles Pierce is thought to be an accomplice in the abduction and murder of Andy. Charles Pierce and the other suspect are now deceased.

A little girl went missing in CT 50 years ago. Her sister hasn’t given up hope.​

Fifty years on, hope remains for Mary Engelbrecht.

It’s not that she believes her sister, Janice Pockett, who disappeared at 7½ years old on July 26, 1973, is still alive. But Engelbrecht, two years younger than Janice, does hope her sister’s remains will be found so she can give her a decent burial.

“I don’t feel as though I’ve ever really felt she was still alive,” she said. “I’ve never had that kind of feeling. I don’t think she is. Of course, I could be wrong. You never know what can happen, but just my gut is no, she isn’t.”

Still, she put her DNA on ancestry.com just in case someone responded. No one has.

“In my sister’s case, we don’t have any DNA. We don’t have a body. We don’t have DNA. Nothing really,” Engelbrecht said.

“In meeting with the police so many times and just knowing what my parents believed and everything, there’s always that slight amount of hope, but I don’t hold on to that,” she said.

“I’m more where I just would like to find her and bring her home for a proper burial and that’s my number one hope at this point,” she said.

Engelbrecht is planning a 50th anniversary memorial this summer at Janice’s bench at the Cross Farms Recreation Complex in Tolland, but hasn’t firmed up a date yet.

“It’s actually literally very close to where she was last, where her bike was found, where she disappeared from, literally right around the corner from that location,” Engelbrecht, 56, of Manchester, said.

The bench, dedicated 10 years ago, features a butterfly, which Janice was looking for when she went missing. She had hidden the dead butterfly off Rhodes Road a couple of days before while on a bike ride with her mother.

“It was two days later that she had asked my mom if she could quickly ride up the road and go get the butterfly,” Engelbrecht said. “She had tucked it behind a rock to hide it, to keep it there until she could get back for it. And that was the last time that we saw her.”

It was the first time Janice had been allowed to go out alone. The girls weren’t even allowed to play with friends in the neighborhood.

“My mom always went everywhere with us,” Engelbrecht said. “She never let us do anything on our own like that. … We had just gotten home from grocery shopping and my sister and I had been arguing and it was kind of tense, and I think my sister asked and I think my mom just said, Go, go. Hurry up, come right back.”

Engelbrecht and her mother, Kathryn Pockett, went to look for Janice but just found her bike by the side of the road near a wooded area.

“My mom, I know she always carried such guilt for the rest of her life, saying, I should not have let her do that. It was really hard on her, I know that,” Engelbrecht said.

Her parents have died, but Engelbrecht lives with the memory as well. “A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about it, honestly,” she said. “As much as I’m busy living my life and doing everything, it’s still always in the back of my mind.”

Engelbrecht said her family was typical for the 1970s. “My dad worked. My mom stayed at home,” she said. “It was Janice and I and we were very close, spent a lot of time with our grandparents on both sides of the family, very family oriented.”

Janice was definitely the big sister. “She was in charge. She was bossy. I pretty much did whatever she told me,” Engelbrecht said.

When Engelbrecht entered kindergarten, she was excited to ride the bus with Janice. “I thought it was like the best thing ever,” she said.

“I remember after she disappeared that summer, I didn’t want to go back to school,” she said. “I was like, I can’t go without her. I just remember that fear. And I didn’t even really understand why she wasn’t there.”

Janice’s disappearance was frightening to her 6-year-old sister.

“I always just thought, Oh, she’s going to come back,” Engelbrecht said. “I just remember just feeling so lost without having her. She was there and then she wasn’t and I was just really scared. I just remember being scared that something was going to happen to me.

When Engelbrecht had her own children, the memories hit her hard, she said. “I kind of took over dealing with the police detectives and stuff and talking with them and trying to keep up with what was going on,” she said.

“My mom had told me … I had to just accept that I probably was never going to know what happened in my lifetime. … I’m not ready to do that yet. I still think there’s hope out there,” she said.

There have been two suspects in the case, but neither proved to be credible. According to the Charley Project an alleged pedophile confessed to Janice’s abduction and killing, saying he buried her next to a boy near Lawrence, Mass., but the graves were never found.

Engelbrecht said the man who confessed, “could give some information but never accurate where he had buried her, and I think most detectives felt he just was making up stuff. However, they never could officially rule him out.”

Another man had bone fragments in his garage and had served time for the abduction and attempted murder of two boys in 1977. He would have been just six years older than Janice at the time of her disappearance.

The Charley Project page notes that there were five people who disappeared in a 10-year period in the Tolland area. Two were found after their deaths.

Janice Pockett was one of the five girls and young women who went missing from the Vernon/Tolland area from 1969-78. In her case and two others – Debra Spickler, 13, who disappeared in 1968 while visiting relatives in Vernon, and Lisa White, also 13, who was last seen in the Rockville section of Vernon on Nov. 1, 1974 and no trace has been found. None of the cases has been solved, the Courant has reported.

“I’ve talked to several retired detectives,” Engelbrecht said. “I’ve talked to the current detectives that are assigned to the case. And I know there were several suspects. Some they did rule out and others they were never able to rule out.”

Engelbrecht said she believes someone the state police interviewed could have abducted Janice. “I think it’s possible,” she said. “I’ve done plenty of my own research, just through talking to people and reading every old newspaper article that there is out there, and talking with different detectives.”

In 2019, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children posted a photo that shows how Pockett may look at age 53.

Engelbrecht believes someone may know something that could help solve the case.

“I also think there’s just somebody out there who knows something that could kind of pull the pieces together, whether they know it or not,” Engelbrecht said.

“I always hold on to that hope that there’s one piece of information out there that if someone just could report it to the police, they could make the connection, whether or not they know that it’s an important thing,” Engelbrecht said.

“That’s why I always just urge people to please come forward with any information they have, any memory they have that could tie something to something that’s already in the case files,” she said.

Engelbrecht said the trooper assigned to the case at Troop C in Tolland is relatively new. “Hey, fresh eyes can sometimes be quite helpful,” she said. “I’ve also met more than once with the sergeant over there and I know they’re very dedicated to solving the case. Unfortunately, they don’t always have the time to put in because they have to work on current cases as well.”

Engelbrecht said she checks in with the state police regularly. “It’s fairly recent that they’ve looked into things,” she said. “I don’t know if they felt it was promising, but I feel like they do feel like they need to follow up on everything, just in case.”

She also gets tips through her Facebook page that she passes on to Troop C.

A spokeswoman for the state police did not respond to a request for comment.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad at 860-896-3230 during business hours or 860-685-8190, 24 hours a day.
I still think it was "Charles Pierce". IMO it doesn't fit with "Bar-Jonah". He would have been 16 at the time. Much different MO. And a cannibal. I just don't see it with her case.

Forum statistics

Latest member