Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The True Story of Thomas Jabin Berry

Where's Janet?

Read's girlfriend Fran Hart lived in the basement of the Carolinian Hotel. After Janet dropped Read at his house, he borrowed a car from a housemate, grabbed some pepperoni, and a steak knife from the drawer. He then drove to the Carolinian, parked his car in the lot, and ate his pepperoni while he waited for his girlfriend to return.

Janet Siclari
Janet Siclari

About a half an hour had gone by when Read saw Janet drive into the lot. He initially thought Janet was Fran. The two were similar in appearance: both had similarly styled dark hair and dark skin, and both were wearing similar outfits that night. When he realized it was Janet and not Fran, he thought that she must have gone someplace else after she dropped him off at his home.

Read waited in the parking lot until about 3:00 a.m., and when Fran didn't show he took the borrowed car back to his friend's house. He then walked back to the Carolinian to continue to wait for Fran. She showed up about a half hour later, whereupon the two argued, exchanging a shove and a slap. Then Read Powell walked back to his home.

Janet returned to the hotel room she shared with her brother between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. Robert later recalled waking up as Janet removed her sandals, left her purse on the dresser, and lit a cigarette before walking back outside.

By 8:00 a.m., Robert was awake, but Janet's bed had not been slept in. Robert noticed the commotion out on the beach. When he saw that there were police milling about, he immediately knew something had happened to his sister.

Approximately seventeen days after the death of Janet Siclari, a knife with an eight-inch blade, wrapped in a blanket, was retrieved from a laundry chute at the Carolinian Hotel. The chute had not been emptied since approximately two weeks before the murder. A pathologist would later testify that it could be the murder weapon, but that the evidence was inconclusive.

Other than Robert Siclari, Read Powell was the last person to see Janet alive. Law enforcement officials requested that he provide a DNA sample, which he did; the sample ruled him out as a match for the genetic material found inside Janet Siclari.

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