Detective seeking closure for family of woman killed in 1985


BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — Janine Callahan was following her morning routine. The 24-year-old left her Natick, Massachusetts, home to walk to work at the now-closed Zayre’s store.

She never made it.

That was Nov. 9, 1985. Burrillville Police Lt. Guy Riendeau said a month later, she was found at the end of dirt road, now known as Cherry Farm.

“She was naked with nothing but a pair of gym socks on,” Riendeau said. “She was covered with a discarded Christmas tree.”

The medical examiner was unable to determine the cause of her death. 

“There was too much trauma to the body,” Riendeau added.

The investigation has been ongoing for nearly 35 years now.

“We are a small town. A family town,” Riendeau said. “When something like this happens it hits close to home, so we want to do everything we can to get closure for the family and also the victim.”

Riendeau believes whoever did it knows the area well and likely lived near Cherry Farm Road.

To generate new leads in the case, Riendeau added the investigation to a deck of cold case playing cards. Each card details a victim of an unsolved homicide or missing person case in Rhode Island.

“I would just hope this interview, this can start something that can generate a couple leads for me to really go forward toward a potential target,” Riendeau said. “I know if it was my sister, my daughter, I’d want closure. I really, really want it. I guess most of all, I don’t want this guy to rest. I want him to know any given day I’m going to be behind him.”

Anyone with information that can help police with this investigation or any other cold cases in the state is asked to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.

More Cold Case Cards »

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