Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Out for Justice: Janice Keehn
Thirty-one years ago a young woman died of a drug overdose. At the time police suspected her boyfriend was involved, but no charges were ever filed, but her sisters are out for justice and recently started trying to get authorities to re-open the case. 7' Patrick Fraser has their story.
WSVN -- She was the big sister. The beautiful sister who was a hostess at the Playboy club, the one the little sisters loved and adored.
Gail Dvoretz: "Fun, always looking to get us into trouble and always did."
Lannie Sauvage: "Loving, very loving."
Gail Dvoretz: "Watched over us."
Unfortunately, Janice Keehn needed someone to watch over her.
Lannie Sauvage: "Her death certificate says, permanently unclassified pending further studies."
Janice was found dead in 1979 by her boyfriend in the apartment they shared.
Lannie Sauvage: "She had two pristine needle marks."
Gail Dvoretz: "No drug residue."
When Janice was found, Gail and Lannie's parents told them she died from choking on cough syrup. Janice had used illegal drugs and later the sisters discovered she died of a drug overdose, but Gail says she will never believe her sister injected herself.
Gail Dvoretz: "We are all needle phobic, all three of us."
In fact, police were told in 1979 by a medical examiner that two needle injections in her arm appeared to have been made by someone in the field of medicine. At the time of her death the police and the medical examiner suspected Janice's roommate and boyfriend who was a doctor. He denied ever injecting janice.
Headlines in the Miami Herald read, 'Who injected morphine that left Janice dead?' An assistant medical examiner at the time even suggested the state attorney charge the doctor.
Gail Dvoretz: "My analysis is that he can be prosecuted in good faith for first degree murder."
But, the deputy chief medical examiner admitted he could not prove the drugs were injected by someone else, so in 1980 the state attorneys office declined to file charges saying there wasn't enough evidence. Instead, after detectives found illegally prescribed drugs in the apartment, Janices boyfriend surrendered his Florida medical license and left the state.
Lannie Sauvage: "And went somewhere else to practice."
Janice was buried. The case grew cold until Gail and Lannie decided to find out what happened to their sister.
Lannie Sauvage: "If anyone knows anything about my sister's death, please come forward, it's never too late."
Gail and Lannie then started digging into their sister's death, finding bits and pieces of evidence. Some micro film from the police department, a little from the state attorneys office. A few reports from a medical examiner, enough to create this folder and raise some troubling questions about the investigation of Janice Keene's death.
Gail Dvoretz: "That's not the answer I wanted."
The two sisters talked to detectives who worked the original case. They got this picture of Janice dead in bed. At the time her doctor boyfriend told detectives she was like that when he left for work, but he thought she was just sleeping.
Gail and Lannie then went to meet with the current Miami-Dade state attorney to show the evidence they had collected. They say Kathy Rundle told them there was nothing they could do, leaving Gail in tears. The state attorney's office later sent us an email saying we lacked the evidence to proceed further, but the two sisters kept digging .
They went to talk to Clarence Dickson the Miami Police chief in the 80's. Dickson looked at the old police reports and says what detectives found in the doctor's apartment should have been enough to at least bring drug charges .
Clarence Dickson, Former Miami Police Chief: "It speaks very poorly of the investigators."
Bottom line the former chief says, someone needs to look into the case again.
Clarence Dickson: "With the great collection of evidence they have produced here, it should be reopened. The case should be re-opened."
Gail and Lannie don't know if the case will move forward, but if the evidence they have gathered to fill this folder says one thing, it's that they won't give up.
Gail Dvoretz: "We're the only ones left of our family."
Lannie Sauvage: "This is it, just the two of us."
Gail Dvoretz: "And we're not going away."
Not going away and keep trying to find out what happened to their sister trying to get justice after 31 years with this.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice
If you have any information on this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
If you have any information on this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.