Family frustrated with lack of progress on Bay City girl's 1973 disappearance

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BAY CITY (WJRT) (4/18/2019) - A year after police arrested and released a man in connection with a 1973 missing persons case, the girl's family is frustrated by a lack of progress.

Jan Rohrer

Jan Rohrer was 13 when she vanished from her Bay City neighborhood 46 years ago. Her family has wondered since then what happened to her.

They got a glimmer of hope year ago when police arrested a 62-year-old Lansing man on an open murder charge and brought him to the Saginaw County Jail. But authorities released him soon after and he remains free while the investigation continues.

The man, who is not being identified because he hasn't been arraigned, was 17 when Rohrer disappeared. Hunters found her remains about a year later in a rural area of Saginaw County.

"It's very frustrating for all of the family members, myself included," said Jan's brother Tom Rohrer. "It's been over 45 years since she disappeared."

His frustration has grown since the man arrested last year and released has not been criminally charged. For the first time, police are releasing information about why they arrested the man.

"The suspect that they brought in made some admissions that he was with my sister that morning, that day, that he assaulted her, that he physically struck her and confessed that to the police," Tom Rohrer said.

The Lansing man's father was a Bay City police officer and lived just a few houses down from the Rohrer family.

"Even though they interviewed and questioned a lot of particularly young males in the neighborhood all of a certain age range, and people beyond the neighborhood, this individual, there is no record of this individual ever being questioned by police officers at the time," Rohrer said.

The suspect's father died in 1985.

"It's my worry that maybe his father had some involvement in covering up some information about the case at the time and that's why it's taken so long to resolve the case," Rohrer said.

Bay County Prosecutor Nancy Borushko did not return several messages seeking an update on the investigation. Michigan State Police would only say investigators are still working with the prosecutor's office on the case.

In the meantime, Rohrer waits, as the 46th year anniversary of his sister's death approaches.

"I certainly don't want to jeopardize the case by saying anything, but on the other hand it's frustrating to not have any progress on the case, especially if it's true that they had a person that came in and admitted to the assault," he said.