Missing: Janice Marie Hannigan
Born on March 3rd, 1955, Janice Marie Hannigan was the oldest of 7 children. She was 16 years old and was 5’0 and weighed 105 pounds when she went missing. Janice is Native American, has black hair, brown eyes and is a part of the Yakima Indian Tribe. She has a mole on her chin and pierced ears. She liked cooking, beadwork, and watching football. She lived in Wapato, Washington, on the Yakima Reservation.
Janice Marie Hannigan was born on March 23, 1955 in Toppenish Washington to Martin James Hannigan Sr and Linda Sallie George Hannigan. She was the eldest of 7 children.
Her family was well known and well liked in the area as her mother, Linda, would throw dances to help keep the teenagers off the streets. Janice went to White Swan High school and was a sophomore at the time she disappeared. She was also a candidate for Queen of the Intertribal Veterans Day Ceremonial in Toppenish in November of 71. She and the other candidates got an article in the local paper and had a photo taken. All were smiling and happy wearing their best regalia. To become Queen you needed to be the one to sell the most tickets, and the Queen of the Veterans Day Ceremonial would wear a new beadwork crown with an insignia on it.
This was shortly before Janice went missing.
Before Janice went missing, her parent’s had separated. Her mother, along with her 6 younger siblings moved to Buena Washington while she stayed behind to take care of her father. The separation of her parent’s was said to have been hard on her and she was struggling to deal with it.
Janice was admitted to hospital on December 21st for numerous contusions and bruising on her head and chest. She was discharged on Christmas Eve after the doctors determined there was no long lasting damage and she was cleared to go home. Unfortunately a lot of her medical records and case files have gone missing as well so it’s unknown why how she got these injuries or even what hospital she went to.
After she was released from the hospital she was never seen again. Police initially suspected she was a runaway due to being upset over her parent’s recent separation. When she didn’t return home after a long period of time, they changed their minds to it being a suspicious disappearance.
The police had initially labeled Janice as missing and dead on March 1st but this wasn't correct as she was in hospital on December 21st. It isn't known why they wrote down this incorrect date.
Janice’s younger sister, Trudi who is in her 50’s now, was only 8 years old when she disappeared, is now leading the search for her sister after both of their parent’s died. Realistically she knows her sister is probably dead but she’s still hopeful she could be alive somewhere. Her sister said after she went missing, their mother was distraught, she would think about Janice all the time and would get her hopes up every time someone said they saw her. One witness came forward saying they saw Janice living with a woman in Seattle under the last name of George but this lead went nowhere.
The authorities at one point thought her father might have had involvement but Trudi denied this saying he had nothing to do with her sisters disappearance. Trudi believes her sister might be buried close to the old family home. They have since rented out their land to farmers but Trudi still tries to talk the police into getting cadaver dogs out on the property to look around. This has never happened.
More Family Tragedy
In 2017 Trudi’s niece, Linda Dave 39, was shot and killed, her body was found under the Marion Drain bridge. Her body went unidentified until March of 2018 even after her family provided dental records to the authorities shortly after the body was discovered. The person who killed her has never been identified.
The sad truth of this is that these women suffered the same fate as many other Native Americans. From 1980 there has been at least 32 missing person reports and mysterious deaths on the reservation. Very few, if any of these cases have been solved.
If you have any information on the whereabouts or what happened to Janice Marie Hannigan in 1971 please contact the Yakima County Sheriff’s office at 509-574-2500.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.