Saturday, November 20, 2010

Remembrances While Running: Janet Marie Christiansen

The backstory: This is another in a series of posts triggered by the murder (in 2005), burial, exhumation, and reburial, of Janet Marie Christiansen.  Her grave is near my home and I pass it often while running.

When I last posted here on 5 November that it appeared that her grave was still empty--that forensic tests associated with the reopening of the unsolved case were still presumably underway--a commenter in Alaska corrected me:
Thank you for caring about Janet and leaving flowers. She has been re-interred, though; the court order only allowed a limited time before the casket was to be returned to the ground. 

To which I replied, in Comments, explaining how I came to be mistaken:

You are right. I just called the local newspaper reporter who covered this story, and he said the judge had stipulated a 48 hour turnaround.

I had assumed the process would take some weeks. With the drought we had in Jul-Aug this summer, when I first saw her grave, it was still bare as no grass had regrown (unbeknownst to me, Janet's body had been exhumed and already reinterred).

Assuming the forensic process was still underway, I just figured I'd see a new disturbance of the ground once the forensic folks were done. Well, the grave never was re-disturbed this fall so I posted as though things were really dragging out. My mistake, and thanks for pointing that out.

For what it's worth, I wanted to set that part of the record straight, on the timing of the exhumation and reburial.  I am happy that Janet's body has been reinterred--that had to be so tough on the family.  I hope that the legal proceedings against the newly accused (her husband) will happen quickly.

Also, I wanted to point out something else I did not know.  When I Googled Janet's name a couple weeks ago--just to try to establish a date for her reburial--I was astonished to learn that this story had been covered on national TV (ABC News, I think).  All I was responding to initially was a short, tragic, local (I thought) story in my hometown paper since the grave was quite close to my home. That explains, I think, why I got several comments to these Janet posts on my tiny blog.

While I am only an interested bystander, with no dog in the fight, so to speak, the story of this stranger has touched me in a way that's hard to explain.  Maybe it's the feelings of fear of loss, that what happened to her could happen to any family; maybe it is the triggering of thoughts of immortality; maybe it's some sort of visceral connection on even a subconscious level.

All that said, I will continue to leave wildflowers whenever I run by.  Yesterday's were a couple dandelions that were still hanging on despite some heavy frosts.

Note: I have changed all references to Janet in this and previous posts to read Janet Marie Christiansen (dropping the married name Abaroa), as this is how she is referred to on the family site Tears For Janet.


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