Forensic Files Wiki

Janice Hartman was a go-go dancer who disappeared in 1974. Her body was discovered in 1980 but remained unidentified until 2000. During this 20-year span, she was known as "Lady in the Box." Her ex-husband was convicted of her murder and is believed to be responsible for the disappearance of another wife in 1991.


Hartman vanished without a trace in 1974. It is now known that John Smith, her ex husband, had killed her and encased her body in a makeshift coffin, which he had stored in his garage until a family member discovered her body inside. He disposed of her body alongside a road in Indiana, which was found in 1980.

DNA testing linked the remains of "Lady in the Box" to Hartman in 2000. After statements were made from the family member who initially discovered Janice's body and with additional evidence, Smith was convicted.

Another wife of John Smith, Betty Smith, disappeared in 1991 and is believed to also have been murdered. Her remains have never been found.

Post-episode notes

Skull fragments and teeth from a third individual was recovered from a storage locker owned by John Smith. These remains did not belong to Janice or Betty Fran.

The photographs of two previously unidentified women were found in his suitcase, accompanied by photos of Janice and Betty Fran. Both women were located alive, although previously suspected to be victims among his previous wives.