The Janet March murder case is one of the most bizarre and compelling mysteries associated with the city of Nashville, and mentioning the sordid tale still elicits heaps of gossip and speculation from anyone who remembers not just the young woman’s disappearance, but the events that followed. Here is a brief recount of what happened back in 1996 and what to look forward to in future posts.
I’m a new Nashvillain, so the Janet March Murder is completely fascinating and novel to me. I’m currently reading Never Seen Again, a true crime book about the case, and I plan on writing a few longer pieces about it myself. It can’t all fit into a single post, so I’m going to break it up and write a series about this most fascinating story.
The Janet March Murder
Janet March vanished from her home in Forest Hills on August 15, 1996, and though she was married with two children, she would not be reported missing until August 29, nearly two weeks after investigators would later conclude she had disappeared.
March was a 33-year-old graphic designer and children’s book illustrator whose life, up to the point of her disappearance, could be considered magical. She had married her college sweetheart and lived in an upscale neighborhood in West Nashville with her husband, Perry, and two children, Sammy and Tzipora.
However, her husband first stated to the police that, after a particularly heated argument, Janet had decided to go on a 12-day vacation, from which she would never return. She purportedly packed two bags and a suitcase, taking $1,500 in cash with her and refusing to tell Perry where she was going.
The MNPD found Janet’s Volvo days after the reported disappearance and immediately became suspicious of Perry, Janet’s husband. The story didn’t match the evidence. If Janet was planning on going on a vacation, why would she leave her car and all of her belongings a mere five miles from their home?
When they checked Perry’s car, too, they also found evidence that something had happened, and the vehicle smelled heavily like disinfectant. They decided to pursue the most logical route of investigation: the husband.
Without a body, the crime would be hard to prove, though, especially with the cagey and gregarious Perry March, a successful local lawyer. He was questioned but not charged with murder, so he was eventually released during the ongoing investigation.
Perry moved with the children to Chicago and attempted to become the primary administrator of Janet’s estate, and the Levines, Janet’s parents, filed civil litigation to oppose this. By this point, the Levines had become convinced that Perry was responsible for Janet’s death and wanted him to have none of what he was after. They also sued for visitation rights for their grandchildren, Sammy and Tzipora, and though they were granted it, when they attempted to see the children, they learned that Perry had fled to Mexico with them.
He had moved to live with his father, Arthur, at his house in Mexico. (Arthur, a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Army, will become important later.)
Fast forward to 2005. The cold case detectives in Nashville had been compiling evidence to present to a grand jury and eventually scored sufficient evidence to charge Perry March with the Janet March murder and have him extradited to stand trial. He was arrested and brought back to Nashville to stand trial, where he would eventually be convicted of Janet’s murder ten years and two days after it supposedly happened, on August 17, 2006.
I’m leaving A LOT of labyrinthine details out here, because this post is meant to be a simple introduction to the case. There’s a whole wrongful death suit to consider, and the quickie marriage in Mexico, the allegations he offered to pay a fellow inmate’s bond to kill Janet’s parents, the embezzling. There’s SO MUCH to this case, it’s impossible to cover in a single post. Look forward to more about the Janet March murder case as I delve into the devilish details.