Lois Janish was a grandma who was the exact opposite of everything a grandmother should be, and on Friday, the 75-year-old was set to learn how she’ll spend whatever years she has left. She admitted to brutally murdering her own 14-year-old granddaughter 17 years ago and then, along with her then-boyfriend, chopping up the girl’s body and getting rid of the remains, hiding them so well that the missing teen was never found.
Coral Hall disappeared on September 22, 1998, after she was last seen making a pay phone call outside a tavern in Flint, Michigan. In that phone call, she told a friend that she had just had a terrible fight with her grandma, the woman who raised her after her own mother was declared unfit to care for her due to drug addiction.
Hall’s own mom, Sharon Jones, died of a drug overdose in 1996, leaving Coral Hall alone with Janish, her sole guardian.
A friend had tried to help Coral obtain placement in the care of the state’s Child Protective Services agency shortly before the girl vanished. But court records show that CPS would not take her, sending her back to Lois Janish, the grandmother who would ultimately, by her own admission, beat the girl to death with a hammer.
Janish was also a drug user herself and once offered a neighborhood man “time alone” with her teen granddaughter if he would give her crack cocaine in return.
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That man, Aaron Dortman — who was then in his 20s — testified in 2013 that he often gave Coral Hall crack himself. He said that he never asked Janish what the “time alone” offer meant but said that he had no sexual interest in the teen girl, instead considering her his friend and “using buddy,” regularly hanging out with the girl who would smoke crack with him, according to a report on the Michigan Live news site.
Though no trace of Coral Hall has ever been discovered, Lois Janish was finally charged with murdering the girl in 2013. Police say that over the years, Janish concocted at least 14 different tales about what happened to her granddaughter.
At various times, the grandma told investigators that Coral ran away to California in the company of an older man, or that she moved somewhere in the South and was living there.
The horrible granny even told investigators once that Coral’s body had been found in California, and that the girl was raped before being murdered.
Janish also told police that her since-deceased boyfriend demanded sex from Coral then killed her when she refused. But the story that police ended up believing was a confession by Janish that she, herself, had beaten her own granddaughter to death with a hammer, then chopped her up with the boyfriend’s help, getting rid of the body in such a way that Coral’s remains were never found.
Coral Hall would have been 30-years-old this year. In February, Crime Stoppers of Michigan posted a reward for information that could have led to her body being found.
“We miss her very much,” one childhood friend of Coral, Melissa Jackson, said in February. “She was like a sister, a great person. I still remember her laugh.”
Coral had a biological sister as well, a half-sister, Jacinda Jones, who described herself as shedding tears of joy when Janish was first charged with murder and calling the grandmother “not a very good woman.”
Three women who spent time in jail with Janish after her arrest told investigators that they found the older woman “scary” and claimed that she “giggled” as she confessed to them how she struck Coral on the head with a hammer.
Lois Janish in September finally pleaded no contest to a second-degree murder charge which, while not technically an admission of guilt, is treated as one by a court when a sentence is handed down. According to the New York Daily News, sentencing is scheduled to happen on Friday the 13th for the granny from hell.
[Image via Genesee County Sheriff’s Office]