Canvas Rebel: Meet Jan Canty


I was recently interviewed by Jeff at Canvas Rebel. Here’s a short excerpt of the article and a link to read the full article.

Jan, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today. Was there a moment in your career that meaningfully altered your trajectory? If so, we’d love to hear the backstory.

I was in the 10th year of training to become a psychologist; within two weeks of finishing my post-doctoral fellowship. My long-range goals were within reach and I could start to exhale. I could actually picture myself launching my own private practice.

But that all evaporated the stormy evening of Saturday, July 13, 1985. Lightning periodically bleached the sky to a sickly jaundice. Despite the hour, it was still a dogged 84 degrees outside. Darkness descended sooner than normal on this abnormal day. The streetlights seemed to flicker a subtle “S.O.S.”

So, when my husband of nearly 11 years missed dinner, I reassured myself it was just poor driving conditions. After all, flooded freeways were not unusual, not in Wayne County, Michigan. But, after a couple more hours I yielded to a sense of foreboding. I switched the yard lights on to beckon Al’s arrival. In retrospect, perhaps it was to calm my own escalating anxiety.

Hours of waiting spanned more than a week.

On day ten, I sat across from Inspector Gil Hill of the Detroit Homicide Division at 7:00 a.m. He matter-of-factly announced, “We located your husband in a shallow grave in a bog up in Petosky and flew back last night. We need you at the Wayne County Morgue. Detective Landeros will accompany you.”

I struggled to comprehend. A tambourine pounded inside my chest cavity. My awareness narrowed to a pinpoint on the old tile floor. The voices that I could make out all seemed to originate from the long hallway; even from the people standing near to me. I couldn’t make sense of their words. Nor did I try.

Life had been yanked off course. More horrific news followed.

Detective Landeros quietly ushered me to the old, triangular Wayne County Morgue a few blocks away. She prepped me for what lay ahead. She softly explained the identification procedure. And then she uttered words which became seared in my memory. “Your husband was bludgeoned to death on Casper Street. He was then driven north to Petosky in the trunk of his own car and concealed in three different parcels. He’s been submerged in a bog owned by the University of Michigan Biologic Station since the night he went missing.”

I abruptly felt… ‘offline….'”