Janean Brown’s murder story is headed to Investigation Discovery on Sunday for the documentary crime show Unusual Suspects. Janean Brown, also spelled Jenean Brown, vanished in Whitehouse, Ohio, and was later found dead in a shallow grave in the early 1980s. Her case went unsolved for years until evidence linked Andrew Gustafson to the killing, according to Cleveland-19 News. The Unusual Suspects episode is entitled “Drive With Danger,” and will feature interviews with people who knew the victim, as well as law enforcement officials.
Janean Brown’s case was in the news in 1983 after she went missing shortly after leaving her apartment around 3:15 a.m. A friend, Pam Purney, said earlier that night Janean Brown was at a nearby bar when she saw her boyfriend, 25-year-old Harol Estep, kiss another woman. Janean Brown left the bar angry and returned to her apartment. After she was there a few minutes, her anger increased, prompting her to take out walking in the dark to her boyfriend’s apartment who lived around the corner, according to Purney. She was going to confront him once he returned home. While walking, Janean bumped into a person that she recognized from the job who said that he later saw her get inside of a beige-colored vehicle, but he had not seen the person who was driving.
The dead body of the 19-year-old student was found the next day after owners of a property reported finding a foot sticking out of the ground. The body was found partially nude and a foot was dressed in a pink sock, according to an old article in the Toledo Blade. The night before, headlights were seen in the remote area, and blood stains were observed along the road the next day. The people made the grizzly discovery after walking further into the brush to investigate. An autopsy on the body revealed that her throat had been slashed.
The investigation eventually went cold. Janean Brown’s boyfriend told police that he did return to his apartment, but stated that she never showed up. Rumors swirled that a man named Andrew “Andy” Gustafson may have been involved with the crime, since his beige-colored car fit the description of the car that picked up Janean Brown. He also lived near the property. For years, Janean’s boyfriend, Harol Estep, was under suspicion, though family members never suspected him, Janean Brown’s brother, Michael Grosjean, told Our Town Perrysburg.
“I was just 16 at the time. I remember him coming over to my grandpa’s house after Janean was found. I remember him just sobbing the whole time he was there. I don’t think anyone in the family ever thought he was a suspect.”
As for Andrew Gustafson, he continued to live his life as normal. Harol Estep told Our Town Perrysburg that Andy Gustafson has always been a fixture in the community, even in the years after the murder.
“For someone to do what they did to that poor girl, shame on them. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. I’ve been in public places where Andy’s been before. We grew up here. He’s always stayed around here all these years.”
The truth about who killed sweet Janean Brown wasn’t revealed until almost 30 years later after a DNA match was made to Andy Gustafson. In 2014, 56-year old Andrew Gustafson pleaded guilty to her rape and murder. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. At the time of the abduction and murder, Gustafson was 26-years-old and married with a child. He was the son of an elite businessman in the area who died right after his son was implicated in the young woman’s killing. For three decades, Andy Gustafson said he was innocent.
To see first hand how police tracked down the killer, tune in to #UnusualSuspects on Investigation Discovery tonight at 9/8 central.
[Image via YouTube]