Sherrie Lueder is a grandmother and now an award winning author as well. With her first book, He Killed Our Janny, in the top ten true crime award 2011. Together with her sister, investigative researcher Kim Hansen, they set out to discover the truth behind the cold case of Janyce Hansen and thus get the FBI to review it.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what got you first connected with the Janyce Hansen case.
Sherrie Lueder: My four children have grown. I have 6, soon to be 7, grandchildren and I just published my first book. I believe it was my destiny to some day write a book. I grew up in a family where things out of the ordinary always seemed to happen. Inevitably one of us would say “We should write a book”, but who would believe it, then of course we would all laugh. For instance we once discovered something that led us to believe our grandfather was the infamous gangster, Dutch Schultz. What we knew or what we thought we knew would have made for some good reading, but that’s another story.
What attracted you to the project?
Sherrie Lueder: When Kim asked me if I wanted to write a book about her husband’s family I didn’t have a clue how to go about it but I knew I wanted to. I liked the idea of writing a true story.
How was it to work with your sister Kim, who worked on the investigative part of the project?
My sister Kim and I were a perfect fit. Both of us aspired to be detectives so we knew what had to be done. Research was key and Kim didn’t let up until she had what she wanted. I’m sure after awhile many phones went unanswered upon seeing her name on their caller id.
Kim Hansen – What did you know about case when you first started?
When we began the book project, none of us were prepared for what we were about to uncover or what we were up against. Family secrets that laid dormant for decades were about to be revealed.
We all believed Janyce ‘Janny’ Hansen had committed suicide 25 years earlier. I set out to find all the information I could about her death. Surely, the media must have covered it–newspaper articles, television reports, obituary—anything. Afterall, she and Richard were well-known in the community and Janyce was one of Denver’s former top models. In addition, I wanted to find any information I could about Richard–the businessman and con-man. Again, the local media must have reported something about the night Richard severely beat Janyce at the Marriott Hotel. However, I wasn’t able to find any media coverage surrounding Janyce’s death, her severe beating at the Marriott Hotel, or Richard’s run-ins with the law. Sherrie and I found everything but what we were looking for. We were quickly hurled into a quest for justice and battle with Colorado authorities.
What did you want to get from writing He Killed Our Janny? Did you succeed? Any regrets?
Sherrie Lueder: Personally I feel fulfilled in knowing we did everything possible in uncovering the truth surrounding Janyce Hansen’s death. Questions were answered for the family and secrets that lay dormant for twenty five years were uncovered. Unfortunately the truth will never be substantiated.
Kim Hansen: We were certain Janyce’s death certificate would be changed to “Homicide”. After receiving the police reports, results of the polygraphs, twenty-one crime scene photographs, coroner’s preliminary report, criminal records, court documents, and conducting numerous interviews with the former CSI Agent, detectives, police officers and funeral director—and working with the FBI, Colorado Attorney General’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Cold Case Detective, Arapahoe County Coroner, and help from the Crime Wire Team–we were certain Janyce’s death certificate would be changed to “Homicide”. After several months engaged in an exhaustive battle with Colorado officials, we learned Janyce’s death would remain “Undetermined”, and a proper investigation would NOT be conducted. However, the coroner agreed to perform an autopsy NOW on Janyce’s remains IF the family paid the $4,000 for the disinterment/reinterment.
Finals results – After weighing the options–with a very heavy heart–John and Jill decided not to move forward with the autopsy.
Kim Hansen: A few months have passed since the book was first published. We want our readers and the public to know that we haven’t given up on our quest for justice. We are extremely upset with Colorado officials at the way they handled the investigation into Janyce’s death—THEN and NOW. Since the book’s release, we have gained media attention and have been in contact with several law enforcement officers, former special prosecutors, and attorneys. They have advised us to take this case to the Grand Jury, but to wait until January 2013 when a new Colorado Attorney General takes office. In the meantime, we remain hopeful that someone will come forward with new information that leads to justice and the closure of Janyce Hansen’s 1984 Cold Case.
What style did you use to write the book? Why? Did you actually made a conscious choice (if so why?) or it just came to you?
Sherrie Lueder: As far as my style of writing I guess it just came to me as I wrote. I did make a conscious decision not to judge the individuals in my story. Writing about their life experience was very emotional for me. I truly connected with my characters, so much so that I cried for all of them including the bad guy. Reading nonfiction tends to get a little dull at times. I wanted He Killed our Janny to be a page turner and after getting feedback I believe I succeeded.
What are you working on at the moment?
Sherrie Lueder: My current project is in the true crime genre, of course. This one really calls for the Sherlock Holmes gear so I’m adding on to my literary team. My sister Dawn will join Kim and I as we follow the crimes of a group of con men who seem to be getting away with everything except murder.
When can our readers find out more about you and your work?
If you are in Denver this year please watch for me and the real life characters from He Killed Our Janny. We will be hosting several book signing events in the area and would love to meet you.
Besides Amazon, here is the link to order books http://sherrielueder.blogspot.com
- Sherrie Lueder and Kim Hansen – He Killed Our Janny (laemonie.wordpress.com)
- True Crime Readers Wanted (laemonie.wordpress.com)
- http://www.youtube.com/embed/XaU7j-JMTNI (Book Trailer)