Advertisement
Janie Landers, 18, was beaten and stabbed to death in Oregon in 1979. Authorities today say they have identified her killer as Gerald Kenneth Dunlap, a convicted rapist who died in prison in 2002. (Photo: Courtesy of the Marion County Sheriff's Office)

More than 38 years after Janie Landers was brutally stabbed and beaten to death, an Oregon State Police detective was finally able to return a pair of earrings to her family and deliver the news they'd long waited to hear: He knew who killed the 18-year-old Salem woman.

"I'm really grateful and relieved that it's done," said Landers' sisterJoyce Hooper. "She can be totally at peace now because her case is solved."

Landers was a patient at Fairview Training Center when she went missing March 9, 1979. Functioning at the level of an 8-year-old, Landers struggled with learning challenges and behavioral issues that led to her residency at the now-closed state-run facility in Salem. 

Although some suspected Landers voluntarily walked away from the center, police still investigated her disappearance and spoke with the four employees who last saw Landers alive.

They had spotted an unfamiliar man in the area and his yellow or gold-colored vehicle. According to one witness, a large, pot-bellied man parked his car and crossed the street to talk to Landers. 

The four witnesses worked with a Statesman Journal employee, who drew a composite sketch of the man.

Five days after her disappearance, Landers' body was found along a path near Silver Creek Falls State Park.

Read more.

Advertisement
Advertisement