Betty Fran Smith
Case #: 91-013139
Betty Fran Smith was last seen on October 1, 1991 in West Windsor, New Jersey. People usually called her by her middle name, Fran. She was married to a man named John David Smith III at the time of her disappearance. Her maiden name was Gladdon. They met in Niceville, Florida in 1990 and got married later the same year. In January of 1991, John filed for divorce from Betty, however, the couple reconciled and then decided to move to New Jersey in May. According to Betty’s family, John seemed mild-mannered prior to her disappearance, but they later learned he was abusing Betty. (Picture of John down below)
Betty called her daughter at 8:30am, on October 4, 1991 from their residence in West Windsor Township. Betty gave no indication that anything was amiss and did not mention any travel plans. She recently had surgery to fix a broken hip, which would make traveling difficult. Betty has never been heard from again. John told Betty’s family he believed she went on some sort of impromptu trip. Her relatives did not believe him and began to investigate her disappearance themselves. They learned that John had previously been married to a woman named Janice Hartman Smith from 1970 to 1974, while he told Betty’s family that their marriage was his first. As it turns out, the first wife, Janice, vanished from Ohio in 1974, which was just a few days after the finalization of her and John’s divorce. John reported Janice missing two days later, Janice’s case remained unsolved until 2000. (Picture of Janice below)
John had not been charged in connection with either of his wives’ disappearances in the 1990’s and he moved to California after Betty vanished. In 1998, he married for a third time.
Janice’s remains were located in an Indiana roadside ditch in 1980, 6 years after she was last seen, but she remained unidentified until 2000. John, who by then had already moved to California, was charged with aggravated murder in Janice’s case in the fall of 2000. His new wife supported him at first, but eventually filed for divorce and got a restraining order shortly before his arrest. She learned about John’s abusive background and the disappearances of his first two wives. John was finally found guilty of Janice’s murder in 2001, sentenced to 15 years to life and is currently incarcerated in Ohio.
Foul play is suspected in Betty’s disappearance due to who is involved. John isn’t charged with anything in her case, but he was found liable for her wrongful death in a civil suit in 2002 and was ordered to pay $1 million to her family. Betty has never been located. It is unlikely that her family will be able to collect it.
The FBI is attempting to identify two women pictured in photos found in John’s collection at the time of his 2000 arrest. Investigators would like to figure out the women’s whereabouts, given John’s history. (Pictures below)
If you have any information about any of the people in this case, please contact the West Windsor Township Police Department at 609-799-1212.
Picture of John:
Photo of John’s first wife Janice:
Pictures of two unidentified women found in John’s photo collection:
Information about husband John David Smith: