|Birth: ||Jun. 20, 1958, USA|
|Death: ||Feb. 12, 2002|
It had been a routine Monday at Riverdell Care Center in Booneville, Missouri: 43-year-old Nurse’s Aid Janice Owen, a widow and hard-working mother of two, finished her shift at the usual time, then headed for home, just a half block away. The time was 2:15 p.m. About an hour later, Janice’s 8-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was on her way home. A sweet kid with a sunny disposition, Alyssa got along well with everyone. She rode the bus alone that Monday – her older brother had been dropped off earlier at the babysitters.
As it turned out, Janice Owen and her daughter, Alyssa had simply disappeared. And what happened that afternoon would become the topic of much speculation. Police departments from two rural counties soon found themselves hand-cuffed by a puzzling case, the first of its kind in this area in 20 years. Even big city detectives called to assist in the investigation could make no sense of the evidence. The following morning – just 12 miles north of Booneville – three employees from a local sawmill spotted something on the side of the road. At first glance, they thought it was a mannequin. It turned out to be the lifeless body of a young child - Alyssa Owen. When police went to deliver the terrible news to Alyssa’s mother, she was nowhere to be found. An autopsy revealed Alyssa had died of suffocation. Now her mother was not only missing – she had become the prime suspect in a murder case. But what possible motive could she have? Friends said Janice adored her daughter.
An employee with a local waste disposal company came forward. He described seeing a similar pick-up truck Tuesday morning on the same road Alyssa was found – just minutes before the sawmill workers discovered her body. He never got a look into the bed of the pickup truck – but he thinks he knows what was there: the body of Alyssa Owen. He was certain she was not lying on the side of the road when he drove by minutes earlier. And was the dark green pickup truck parked near her home that afternoon the same one spotted near the crime scene Tuesday morning?
Detectives searched for answers – and then six weeks later, they found one: Janice Owen's body was found about 12 miles away from Alyssa's...and the initial investigation put her death about the same time as Alyssa's. Why was Alyssa’s body left in plain sight on a well-traveled road – while her mother’s body was apparently dumped in a remote creek-bed some 12 miles away? And who could negotiate the maze of back-roads that criss-cross Howard county? Police had plenty of theories
UPDATE: Shortly after we completed this story, there was a major development in the case: Police arrested 25-year-old Angela M. Mize and her 18-year-old husband, Eric D. Mize. Each is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The couple lives in the Booneville area – and detectives believe they were the man and woman seen lurking outside the home of Janice Owen the day she and Alyssa disappeared.
John Austin Owen (1935 - 1996)*
Alyssa Michelle Owen (1993 - 2002)*
Created by: Darla Mays (Rodeogirl73)
Record added: Jan 16, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13037473