The Murder of Janet Lynn Shanahan: $45,000 Reward is Offered

Could the offer of a substantial reward help to solve one of Oregon’s oldest cold cases?

Verity Partington


Janet Lynn Shanahan, murdered in 1969 (Image: Eugene Police Department)

The family of a woman murdered in Oregon more than 50 years ago has raised $45,000 in reward money in the hope of catching her killer before it is too late for justice to be served.

Janet Lynn Shanahan from Eugene was just 22 and had been attending the University of Oregon in order to get the qualifications she needed to become a teacher in 1969.

On April 21st that year, Janet attended her brother’s 15th birthday party on Rutledge Street and was due back at the apartment she shared with her husband Christopher later the same evening.

However, she never made it home and a worried Christopher reported Janet missing the following day. By April 23rd 1969, Christopher and Janet’s sister were frantic and decided to drive around Eugene to see if they could find any trace of the young woman.

After just ten minutes of searching, they successfully located Janet’s 1951 Plymouth sedan vehicle abandoned in a ditch in an industrial area close to Roosevelt Boulevard and Maple Street.

There in the trunk was Janet’s lifeless body. She had been strangled to death and dumped with her car at the side of the road.

Although Eugene Police carried out a murder investigation and have revisited the case on numerous occasions over the years, Janet’s murder was never solved and remains one of the force’s oldest cold cases.

Now, Janet’s family have taken matters into their own hands and have raised an incredible $45,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of a suspect in the murder.

At a press conference, Eugene Police said: “Because of the passage of 53 years, time is short and now may be the last realistic effort to identify the suspect and solve the case.”

Interestingly, cold case investigator Rick Gilliam suggested Janet’s murderer may not have been a stranger.

“We do feel like it was somebody that was close to her that probably killed her,” he remarked.



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a