Janice Dodson, the wife who made her husband’s murder look like a hunting accident in Colorado more than 20 years ago, will have her case reenacted on the documentary show Passport to Murder. Investigation Discovery’s show takes viewers to a new location every week as they examine the most heinous cases of murder. The Passport to Murder episode featuring the Dodson case is called “Mountain High Murder.” For the death of Bruce Dodson, Janice Dodson was sentenced to life without parole.
Hunting Death At National Park In Colorado
A hunter was jolted after hearing the sound of gunshots and a scream. He learned later that a man named Bruce Dodson had been shot and killed in the Uncompahgre National Forest. When police arrived, they found an upset woman who appeared to be trying to help a man who was lying unresponsive. Immediately, it was clear that the victim was dead. The dead man was 47-year-old John Bruce Dodson, the husband of the crying woman, Janice Dodson, Passport to Murder will recount.
Death Was No Accident, Victim Was Target
Passport to Murder will show that when police arrived on the scene there in Colorado, it looked like it could have been a terrible accident. But experienced hunters in the area knew that this didn’t appear to be the case. An autopsy report would later confirm their beliefs. The medical examiner, who worked at the same job with Bruce Dodson, said that Dodson died from multiple gunshot wounds and that his death was a homicide. Now, police needed to figure out who killed him. If it had been a hunting accident, then one would expect to have only one shot fired, not three. That was a dead giveaway.
Investigators questioned Bruce Dodson’s 47-year-old wife, Janice Dodson, who had been on the hunting trip with him. She indicated that she went to look for her husband after he failed to return to their campsite. When she went looking, she found him on the ground.
Who Did This To Bruce?
Experts theorized that when Bruce was shot the first time, he took off his vest and immediately began waving and screaming to indicate that he was a person and not an animal. Then, two more shots were fired, and one injury found inside the victim indicated that Bruce Dodson was actually trying to crawl away. At that point, it would have been apparent to him that he was actually the target!
During the police investigation, detectives found out that Janice Dodson’s ex-husband was also camping near the area. He was questioned and had an alibi, but there was something troubling. He told police that his gun and ammunition had been stolen. The man’s gun turned out to be one of the murder weapons used in the attack, according to ABC News.
Now, detectives believed that someone was trying to frame Janice Dodson’s ex-husband. As police dug deeper into the Dodson’s marriage, they learned that the couple had only been married for three months. They also learned that the hunting trip was Janice’s idea and that Bruce appeared to be disinterested in going.
Janice had a lot to gain from her husband’s death since there were three insurance policies totaling around $500,000. Even more bizarre was the way Janice began acting after her husband’s death.
- She didn’t appear to be the grieving wife.
- She threw out his clothes and belongings immediately after his death.
- She sold his horse, put his dog to sleep, and threw his ashes out on the side of the road, according to the documentary Forensic Files.
- Much more disturbing was the fact that she married her third husband, Bartlett Hall, on Thanksgiving day in Las Vegas the very next year. There was also an insurance policy in place for him, District Attorney Frank Daniels told ABC News.
“She’d taken out three insurance policies, she made sure to get wills done. Bruce owned two homes. She had the property put into both their names during this three months since they were married.”
Almost The Perfect Crime
It took years for police to put the case together. They eventually compiled solid evidence against her. At trial, prosecutors say that Janice Dodson went to her ex-husband’s campsite, stole his gun, and used it the next day to wait for Bruce to appear as he was walking through the area. After shooting and killing him, she discarded the gun and pretended to be grief-stricken by his death. It was a shocking and cold-blooded murder, especially since Janice would have watched the man that she claimed to love as he struggled to live while he was most likely trying to figure out who had done this to him.
Police say her muddy shoes and clothing from a local pond, near her ex-husband’s campsite, placed her at the scene from where the murder weapon had been stolen, according to Forensic Geology. Janice Dodson was found guilty of murder. Today, she continues serving her time at a Colorado correctional facility.
Had police not been able to track the mud and other forensic evidence, Janice Dodson would have committed the perfect murder. Watch how the case evolved on tonight’s Passport to Murder at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. Read up on two other Passport to Murder cases: Linda Haas and Deborah Gardner.
Photos of the couple can be seen in the documentary video below.
[Image via Don Mammoser/Shutterstock]