Janice Hannigan, age 16, was last seen in Washington on December 24, 1971.
Janice was upset over her parents’ recent separation in 1971. As the eldest child, she resided with her father in Harrah, Washington, while her siblings remained with their mother in nearby Buena.
On December 21, three days before her disappearance, Janice was admitted to an unknown hospital with bruises to her head and chest, but the discharge report does not list a cause of the injuries. It simply states that the bruises were healing and that she appeared mentally sound.
She was discharged from the hospital on December 24, and has not been seen since.
Boyfriends were questioned, but none seemed to know what happened to Janice. Rumors that she was living with a woman in Seattle remain unsubstantiated.
Police suspect that Janice’s father, Martin Hannigan, harmed her, but her sister, Trudi, emphatically disagreed. Martin died in 1989, and Trudi in December 2018. Trudi had spent years searching for her sister, and was interviewed by the media just two months before she passed.
Although Trudi has spoken in defense of her father, she suspected that Janice may be buried somewhere on her late father’s land. The family still owns the property, and has rented it to a farmer. Trudi wrote a letter to the farmer, requesting that he keep an eye out for anything unusual as he plows.
Linda Dave, a niece of Janice’s was murdered in 2017, and although there is no evidence to suggest the two cases are connected, it is indicative of an issue that plagues Native American communities. The cases of Bonnie Joseph and Immaculate Basil are another example of multiple members of the same Native American family who vanished.
Above: Linda Dave (niece of Janice)
Janice attended White Swan High School at the time of het disappearance, and had recently participated in a Veterans Day event at school. She’d been nominated for Veteran’s Day Queen.
It appears that she had run away in February 1971, but resurfaced. She had attended a basketball game with her father in Idaho, and was reported missing there, resulting in a short article in the newspaper.
I really feel that the answers in Janice’s disappearance are in the details of who caused her injuries just days before. Although her sister feels her father had no involvement, I do know, that at least in the 1980’s, a minor could not receive medical treatment without the consent of a parent or guardian. I suppose this may have been more lax in 1971, or the laws may not have applied if the hospital was on a reservation.
Although most databases list her as missing from Wapato, it’s not actually known where she disappeared from, as her relatives have been unable to determine which hospital she was in when she was last seen.
Facebook Page for Janice Hannigan
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