Columbus, OH

Bodies Of Ohio Mother And Son Found In Alum Creek One Year After Double Homicide Of Mother And Toddler Found In Car

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Janice and Brandon BeidlemanPhoto byThe Ohio Attorney General's Office

It was September in Columbus, Ohio. Summer was moving into fall, and the city still had a warm, sunny start to the month. Suddenly, on a Sunday, around 11:00 pm, residents on Clubhouse Drive heard a violent, blood-curling scream come from a woman along Putter Avenue, on the city's northside. There was a large shrub line blocking their view, so no one could see what was actually occurring. They heard a man's muffled voice say, "shut up" and then "keep him quiet," Ohio Mysteries reports. A woman's voice then said, "don't cry, baby." One neighbor, Leola Corne, still remembered what another neighbor said about the incident.

"All she said it was such a wicked scream, like she was really being hurt, real wicked," Leola told WBNS.

One of them called the police, but, somehow, reached the Mifflin Township Fire Department by mistake. Mifflin Township is a suburb that borders Columbus. They sent an ambulance out to the address that arrived around 11:13 pm. Paramedics arrived and heard the voices, as well, and they contacted the Columbus Police Department. Within seven minutes, two police cruisers and a helicopter arrived in the area but they were unable to locate the man, woman, and baby.

On September 13, 1981, 21-year-old Janice Beidleman, and her 18-month-old son Brandon were visiting her mother on the north side of Columbus. Janice called her husband, Stanley, and told him she was going to stop at the grocery store and then she would be on her way home. Around 10:30 pm, Janice told her mother she was going to stop a the Kroger in the Northern Lights Shopping Center on Cleveland Avenue before heading home. She put Brandon on a pillow in the backseat of her 1974 Chevrolet Vega and pulled off. What Janice did not realize is Kroger closed at 10:00 pm on Sunday. Janice and Brandon never arrived home.

Stanley paced the floor of their home, calling friends, family, and anyone he could think of who may know where Janice and his young son were. At 6:30 am, he called the Columbus Police Department to report his family missing. Authorities told him that he would have to wait 24 hours before making the report.

That same day, at 1:20 pm on September 14, 1981, a man who lived on Sunbury Road called the police. According to police reports, he told officers the previous evening, he saw a car drive down the gravel road off of the service road and turn the headlights off. He noticed the car was still there around noon the following day and decided to walk down and see why the vehicle never pulled out of the area. When he got down the service road, he found the car with the driver's side door open, a handful of bobby pins on the roof of the car, and what appeared to be a man's footprint on the ground beside the passenger door. He looked towards the water and there, about 50 yards from the car, he saw the body of a woman lying in Alum Creek.

Janice had been raped and severely beaten with a foreign object. Little Brandon was suffocated with a pillow, likely the one his mother laid him on. Janice was "lying on her back in about one foot of water," the News-Messenger reported. Brandon was located 50 yards away, floating under the Agler Road Bridge, just west of Sunbury Road. There was a service road that led to the creek and police found her car on the road, under the bridge.

Stanley Beidleman, at home worried about his family, was listening to the radio when he heard a report about a woman and baby being found in Alum Creek. He rushed to the horrific scene and identified his wife and son. Within minutes, the entire family was on the scene, all hearing the same radio report.

Unbelievably, the Columbus Police detectives did not link the report of a woman, man, and baby with the homicides of Janice and Brandon. The Columbus Dispatch did. The outlet interviewed residents and wrote a story, which caused the police to realize the link between the incident and Janice. The story was written two days after Janice and Brandon were found. Authorities went out to Putter Avenue where they found jewelry and other items belonging to Janice. Investigators knew then, Janice was the woman who residents reported screaming and Brandon was the baby heard crying. Who was the man?

Stanley had an airtight alibi and was never considered a suspect in the murders of his wife and son. Authorities, relatives, and friends do not believe he was involved in any way with these homicides.

The fact that someone took the life of an innocent 18-month-old child never sat well with the community or officers.

"That there was a little kid involved, and that was the main thing that concerned me because the little kid didn't have a chance at life," Leola told WBNS.

"That really takes a different, a very cruel type of person to do something like that," now-retired Detective Dana Farbacher told WBNS.

In 2009, authorities reported they questioned family members and resubmitted evidence, but no suspects have been publicly named and no arrests made in the murders of Janice and Brandon Beidleman.

The exact same thing happened almost one year before the murder of Janice and Brandon. On November 12, 1980, 23-year-old Lynn Hochuli Vest, a wife and mother of an 18-month-old son, was babysitting her 2-year-old nephew Jeremy Pickens. That morning, Lynn decided to take run some shopping errands. She and Jeremy never made it back home. They were found around 11:30 pm the same evening inside Lynn's new Mustang Cobra at Berkeley Road and East Main Street in Columbus, Ohio. Lynn had been strangled and Jeremy was suffocated. No one has ever been charged in connection with their homicides.

The similarities between these cases are too many to ignore. Both women were in their twenties, both were mothers and wives, both women were with a toddler who was suffocated, and both were likely attacked in store parking lots. Who killed these innocent women and children?

Crime Stoppers has offered a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that can help solve these cases. If you have any information, please contact 614-461-TIPS.

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