Janice Kay Baze, age 36, was last seen in El Paso, TX in July 1974.
Following a heated argument, Janice left home with her husband of 19 years in the family car. He returned without her. Mr. Baze told the children that she’d gotten on a bus to visit family in another state, but never arrived. Janice’s children do not believe she would have left them behind, or that she wouldn’t have contacted them in all these years.
Janice was not reported missing until November 1974, and Mr. Baze was considered a person of interest in her disappearance at that time. According to one of Janice’s sons, their father was a heavy drinker and was abusive to Janice and the children.
Janice and her husband were officially divorced in 1977, three years after her disappearance. Following the divorce, Mr. Baze had a string of short lived marriages before moving to Washington, where he eventually passed away in 2010.
In looking through unidentified remains, I saw nothing in the immediate vicinity. I do not know how long Mr. Baze was gone when he left with Janice, or if it was during the day or night, but Texas is a huge state – to get to Houston and back, for example, would take over 20 hours at today’s speed limits. To Dallas and back would be over 16.
There is the possibility that they crossed the border into Mexico, so I looked to see if Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, had any UID’s online. I did not find any, but I did find an interesting article about their intent to exhume and try to identify their John and Jane Does. They have thousands, according to the article.
El Paso, Texas is also very close to the Las Cruces area of New Mexico, but I didn’t find anything there either. I saw a possibility in Albuquerque, but that would be a nearly 8 hour trip by today’s standards.
Of course, the Rio Grande runs through El Paso and if she’d ended up in the river, she could be found in any number of border towns in Texas or Mexico, but I think that’s unlikely. The Rio Grande can be dangerous, and there have been plenty of accidental drownings there, but it is a swimming attraction and not a ‘raging river’ so anybody ‘placed’ there would be likely to surface quickly.
Janice Baze was not a petite woman, she was between 5’9-5’11 and 280-320 pounds, according to her NamUs profile. This makes it unlikely that her husband would have killed her, and later returned to relocate her. Without assistance, he would have a very difficult time trying to lift her – and it’s unlikely that he had any help, since his family (other than Janice and their children) lived in another state. Mr. Baze had come to El Paso for a military assignment.
Sometimes I use Google Earth to scan open space near the location of a person’s disappearance. It’s common for age-old remains to be stumbled onto by hikers, hunters, and dog-walkers so I don’t think it’s too far-fetched that a skull or large bone could be visible in the birds eye view.
There’s lots of open desert space in and around El Paso. In one area I could see what appeared to be the remnants of a fire in the middle of nowhere, and another remote spot with a large amount of debris, including several tires.
I saw a few small white objects, but zooming in causes blurriness so it wasn’t possible to tell what they were.
Janice’s five children are still seeking answers, and I am truly hopeful that 40 years later, 2014 will bring those answers.