Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Janice and Alyssa Owen

Real Names: Janice Marie and Alyssa Michelle Owen
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Boonville, Missouri
Date: February 12, 2002


Details: Forty-three-year-old nurse's aide Janice Owen was a widow and hard working mother of two. On Monday, February 12, 2002, at the Riverdell Care Center in Boonville, Missouri, she finished her shift at her usual time of 2:15pm. She then headed for home, which was just a half block away. About an hour later, her eight-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was heading home from school on the bus. She was described as a well-liked girl who got along with everyone and had a sunny disposition. She rode alone on the bus that day because her older brother had been dropped off earlier at the babysitter's house. The bus driver was the last person to see her; she walked into her house as he drove away.
Later that day, at around 5pm, Janice's mother arrived at their home; neither one was there. Strangely, Alyssa's coat and backpack were on the couch. She wrote a note to them, saying that she had come to visit. At around 5:45pm, a neighbor reported unusual activity around there. She noticed two cars parked outside. She also noticed a woman and a younger man standing on the porch. The man was wearing a red baseball cap; she did not recognize them. About fifteen minutes later, the neighbor saw a white four-door car parked on the wrong side of the street with a suspicious man next to it. She felt something was wrong.
The neighbor's intuition was right; Janice and Alyssa had apparently vanished into thin air. What happened that afternoon became the topic of great speculation. Authorities were completely puzzled and had no clues in this case. Then, the next morning, a discovery was made in Fayette, just twelve miles north of Boonville. Sawmill workers spotted something on the side of the road that they first thought was a mannequin. Tragically, it turned out to be Alyssa's body; she had died of suffocation. When police went to give the horrible news to Janice, she was nowhere to be found. She soon became the prime suspect in Alyssa's murder. However, authorities could not figure out a motive for Janice killing her. According to her family and friends, she loved her very much.
Authorities wondered if the woman seen on the porch was Janice. The neighbor was not sure because she didn't know her very well. After questioning other neighbors, they found that an older-model dark-colored pickup truck was seen near the Owen home on Monday afternoon. An employee of a local waste disposal company came forward and described seeing a similar one Tuesday morning just up the road from where Alyssa would be found a few minutes later. Although he did not see what was in its bed, he is now certain that her body was in there. He is also certain that she was not lying on the side of the road when he drove by twenty minutes before he saw the truck. Authorities believe that it was the same one seen by the Owen home the day before.
Detectives continued to search for clues and Janice. Then, on March 27, six weeks after Alyssa was found, Janice's body was found in a creek bed, twelve miles from where Alyssa's was discovered. An autopsy determined that she had also been suffocated at around the same time Alyssa was killed. Authorities still don't know why Alyssa's body was placed in a well-traveled and easily seen spot on the road while Janice's was hidden in a creek bed twelve miles away. Authorities have plenty of theories in this case, but no suspects.
Suspects: Initially, authorities suspected that Janice's fiancée may have been responsible for the murders. However, he was cleared after his alibi was proven. Janice had also talked to men online. However, they were also cleared of any involvement.
The prime suspects in this case are the unidentified man and woman seen on the porch of the Owen home on the day of the murders. The man was white and was wearing a red baseball cap and appeared to be younger than the woman with him. They have never been located. An older-model, dark-colored pickup truck was seen near the Owen home on the day of the disappearances. It was also seen near the site where Alyssa's body was later found.
Authorities believe that the killer(s) are local and are familiar with the back-roads to and from the dumping sites.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the August 21, 2002 episode.
  • It was also documented on Nightmare Next Door after it was resolved.
Angela and eric mize.jpg

Results: Solved. In June 2002, shortly after the story was completed, authorities received a major break in this case. A tipster contacted police, claiming that Janice's coworker, twenty-five-year-old Angela M. Mize, had information about her murder. When questioned by police, Angela claimed that her husband, eighteen-year-old Eric D. Mize, had killed Janice and Alyssa. She initially claimed that she only witnessed the murders; however, she eventually admitted her involvement in them. They were both arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
When authorities searched their home, they found items that belonged to Alyssa, including a button missing from her dress and the buckles from her shoes. Authorities now believe that they were the couple seen at the Owen home. Shockingly, they admitted that they killed Alyssa for sexual gratification and then Janice because she was a witness to the crime. Both pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.