Meet Jan Canty, PhD

Psychologist, Author, Podcast Host, Speaker... and Homicide Survivor

I am passionate about finding ways to support and help other so-called “homicide or suicide survivors.”

No one should have to go through this kind of loss… but if you do, I want you to know… YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 

You aren’t crazy. It’s not your imagination! Society does not know how to comfort us. Fortunately, we know how to comfort one another.

Jan Canty in blue shirt

My Story...

In many ways I’ve lived two lives.

The first half was conventional, smooth, happy and secure. 

No one could have asked for better parents. 

It seemed our home, tiny as it was, always had room for pets, guests and friends.  It was a bustling place, punctuated with laughter, responsibilities, and affection. School was my second home. 

By age eighteen I confidently set out to forge my future.

In time, I saved enough money to begin college and was accepted at Wayne State University in downtown Detroit.

I lived off-campus in an old, three-story walk-up studio apartment. 

My rent was $80 a month, so it should have come as no surprise it had rats and gunfire outside at night to deal with.  No matter.  I saw it as just “paying dues” to get ahead. 

During the time I lived there, Detroit was known as the “murder capital of the U.S.” with official homicides numbering close to 700.  I lived in the thick of it.

I took a job across the street at the famous Fisher Building as a typist for a psychologist named Al Canty.  He was 18 years older. 

Within six months we shared lunchtime, then dinners, which became dating. My happiness was elevated by his support for my academic goals. 

I felt lucky the day we married.

Al bought a house big enough for an orphanage, though I was hardly there.  I was consumed with graduate school and commuting to the University of Michigan.

After finishing my Ph.D. I elected to continue for another two years to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in psychology and family therapy.

With only ten days remaining in reaching that goal, my life became unrecognizable.

Jan Canty at age 18
Al and Jan Canty Marriage
Image of Detriot News clipping

On July 13, 1985, my husband failed to come home.

Ten days later, I stood inside the old Wayne County Morgue and was asked to identify what detectives had recovered of him. 

Al’s homicide discharged his secrets. 

He had lived a double life. He had given away all our money. 

He’d been unfaithful. He’d befriended a pimp. 

I had been living with a stranger.

The news hovered like fruit flies over sangria and magnified my horror.

The two assailants were soon charged, but I wanted nothing to do with the trial. 

In time, I left Detroit and did not speak of this hardship for 30 years.

I reversed course and today use my determination and resources to help other so-called “homicide survivors.”

My first book, A Life Divided, is a crime memoir. 

That was followed by a reference book entitled What Now? Navigating the Aftermath of Homicide and Suicide. 

I began a podcast, Domino Effect of Murder, and speak regularly to groups of homicide detectives, biorecovery businesses and others as opportunities arise.  

While I hope you never become one of the millions of so-called “homicide survivors” that are the natural shock absorbers following a homicide, I do appreciate it when people express a sincere desire to understand the many repercussions. 

There is so much that is misunderstood, and so much work to be done.

Jan Canty

The words of Helen Keller sum up my view of life…

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

–Helen Keller