(Introduction to show begins)
ERIC MEADOWS (WCAN CO-Host): We’re going to go right into the show tonight and we hear that you have a guest.
TODD MATTHEWS (MISSING PIECES HOST): Janice Smolinski.
ERIC: Janice, how are you?
JANICE SMOLINSKI (GUEST): Fine thank you.
ERIC: Great. Great. It’s good to have you.
TODD: Janice is the mother of missing, William Smolinski Jr., more affectionately known as Billy, and I think she’s had a pretty difficult time as most people in her situation. He was missing August 24, 2004. Currently he would be 33 years old, light brown hair, blue eyes, 6’ tall, and 200 lbs. Date of birth is January 14, 1973. Missing from Waterbury, Connecticut. Do you still live there?
TODD: Same home?
JANICE: Well I don’t live in Waterbury; I live in Cheshire.
JANICE: Billy lived in Waterbury, the next town over.
TODD: So it’s the same general area then?
JANICE: Yes, the same general area.
TODD: He had a tattoo of a blue cross with the name Pruitt in the cross on the left forearm; and those are really important, tattoos, when you’re trying to look for a missing person. He had a small diamond earring in his ear. Now, I’m looking at your website, http://www.justice4billy.com, if anybody wants to check in with us tonight. I’m noticing something about this counter, before we really get into your story; the counter, 868 days, 20 hours, 4 minutes, 3 seconds, and I’m watching it tick…the seconds are just ticking right before my eyes. That has to be hard.
JANICE: It’s very hard.
TODD: Now, what motivated you to…I mean, that has to be so difficult to sit there and watch this time tick away like this, but it makes a statement.
JANICE: It does make a statement and you know he’s been missing for over 2 ½ years, but in that 2 ½ years we have worked very hard to try to get any justice in the system. We found that we do have a broken system and now we have FBI involvement in the case.
TODD: You’ve come a long way. A lot of people have not gotten as far as you in this short time and I know 2 years is a long time when you’re missing somebody, but I’ve seen people that have missing family members for a great deal longer time than this and haven’t gotten nearly as far, so you’re quite a motivated lady. You’re very inspirational. I’ve talked to you before; I had a good conversation with you last night. Again, you’re amazing.
JANICE: Thank you.
TODD: You’re one of the good ones and I think you’ve helped lead the way for a lot of different people.
JANICE: We have an actual network of people throughout the country, who have missing loved ones you know you have to persevere in order to get things achieved and I think my family, we have an intact family that loves Billy and they have a great interest in the missing also and we have good faith in the Lord.
TODD: That’s very important.
JANICE: Oh, it is very important and He gives us peace and gives us the strength we need on a daily basis. You know, with Billy’s case, we’ve opened up many areas that need attention our country and I’ve made friends from California to Oregon with ChildSeek, you know I could name a lot of them and we have Gloria Denton that is planning on going to the Whitehouse with me.
TODD: That’s April Beth Pitzer’s mom, she’s a former guest (Episode 14) and a friend of ours and I think you’ve kind of joined forces with her and that’s a good thing.
JANICE: Absolutely and you know the national database is lacking funding and there’s a backlog of 9 months, from what I understand…
TODD: At least.
JANICE: Yes, right, and without the funds, you know, it really needs immediate attention. Now Billy’s…in my case, the DNA was taken at 3 different times.
TODD: Now, I understand that this DNA was misplaced.
JANICE: It was either lost or misplaced, yes it was, and no one…if we didn’t pursue this whole thing, we wouldn’t have known it. First of all, the Internet is a wonderful place for research.
TODD: Well, you’ve become part of a large…this is…we’ve talked about this before, you’re part of a family now, it’s a very loving family of missing and unidentified family members but it’s a family that nobody really wants to join, but once you’re here, it’s like everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.
JANICE: Exactly, and without each other, our lives would be very hard, but we depend on one another, we do research and I think if we all got together in this country, we could make a difference and I’m determined to make a difference.
TODD: I’ve seen law enforcement get more and more dependent on volunteer efforts; efforts so of like this show; I do lot of reconstructions through Project EDAN for law enforcement that have no other funding, no other way of getting anything, you know because they have to apply for a certain amount of funding and get certain amounts of things with specific amounts of money and sometimes they have to delay things, so we try to provide the sketches for these people so that there won’t be a delay. Do you think there are other people like you who have actually had their DNA misplaced that are just not aware of it yet?
JANICE: You know they probably have except they haven’t asked the question.
TODD: How would I know?
JANICE: Well you have to ask them. What happened with me was, I wanted to know…I did some research on the computer and I found out that coroners, medical examiners and law enforcement hardly have any communication and I thought “If Billy is a John Doe, he may be in our state’s…in Farmington with a tag on his toe” and I’m looking, and instead of depending on law enforcement, I’m going to go to the coroners myself and see.
TODD: Smart move. That was a really, really smart move to do that. It brought a new level of understanding to you, I think.
JANICE: I think, I must say, the answers are just coming from day to day of what to do. We’ve given flyers to our medical examiner and then I figured that I was going to go on the Internet and do some research and I found a medical examiner in Nevada who is very involved with the missing.
TODD: What is his name?
JANICE: It was John Fudenburg.
JANICE: He’s an assistant coroner, I guess. So anyway, I emailed him and he said, “Please call me” and I did. So I told him about my son’s DNA and he said, “If your son’s DNA was not entered into the national database, then you might as well say it was thrown away.” So he educated me on the national database, the CODIS system which is handled, basically, by the FBI.
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: So he said, “You better call your law enforcement and see.” So I called law enforcement and they said, “Well you know you have to talk to the woman that took the DNA.” So I called her but she wasn’t working in the Waterbury Police Department anymore, so I called forensics and she wanted to know why I was calling her there and I said, “Well I want to know about my son’s DNA” and she said, “Well, I tell you,” she said “It’s not entered into the national database.” And I said, “Well where is it?” and she couldn’t give me an answer, so I went back to the police department they took my daughter and myself, our DNA.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: Time elapsed and I wasn’t getting anywhere so I again questioned and I couldn’t get a definite answer, so they brought us in again and took mouth swabs.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: In the meantime, with everything going on, you know I had talked to our attorney general for 45 minutes on the phone; I went to our congresswoman; I went to our senator…
TODD: And that doesn’t always seem immediately effective but its part of the process to keep bringing it to their attention.
JANICE: Yes. You have to. Right. But we weren’t getting anywhere, we were always referred…it was like banging our heads against the wall, we were always referred to another person. Or remarks were made that were not very nice, you know, if you could just sit back and think, “What if this was my loved one?” But it didn’t happen, so I would just reach out and try to go somewhere else.
TODD: Now he’s in the NCIC, and that’s an excellent move. That’s a must. Did you have trouble making this happen or was it pretty much automatic?
JANICE: No, we were told in the beginning it was going to be entered in the NCIC. That wasn’t really hard. That was one of the basics that did happen but we did have a private investigator that heard…we had flyers all over the place that were being torn down; we were going out and replacing them every other day and we were trying to get the authorities to listen and this private investigator was watching everything that was going on because we had a journalist that was getting the information out…
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: …who had read the articles and was he contacted us and said, “You need help, I’m going to help you.” And he did, free of charge. So he did some research and he found a skull…there was a skull found out in Arizona, with forensic workup on the skull, it was similar to Billy’s appearance, so if Billy were entered into the database, then they could have matched him right away. But no, it wasn’t done, so they had to send his dental records out to Arizona and it was processed but, of course, it wasn’t Billy. So, again, I said, “This is ridiculous” and they said that I could step on toes, I had follow procedures properly and not get any of them mad, and I didn’t, you know. Billy was my focus here and also I wanted to educate myself to see what needed to be done in the system. So I gathered all my papers together and went to the FBI, actually I called them in Quantico, Virginia, and I explained my situation and she said I would have to speak with the head of forensics in Connecticut, which I did but I really couldn’t get anywhere.
TODD: That’s in New Haven.
JANICE: That is in Meriden.
TODD: Okay, there’s another FBI office in New Haven.
JANICE: Yes, in New Haven after…I was speaking with Virginia but she said that if I didn’t hear from her in 24 hours, to call her back. Well we did. I heard from her in New Haven, Connecticut and she said to come down and they would take my mouth swab and get it into the process of being entered into the national database, which made me just ecstatic because of this whole…and this just happened this past summer (2006).
TODD: And this is new, this national DNA database is still relatively in its early stages even though it’s planned for a long period of time; still there’s a great deal of data that’s not been entered into that yet and it’s not going to be fully effective until more information gets into there; more of the missing and more of the unidentified.
JANICE: Right, and you know we really have a system that doesn’t work and it should with all the technology that we have, it’s ludicrous.
TODD: To get it in there is a big deal, it’s getting information in there. I want to get the FBI’s phone number in New Haven 203-777-6311 and that’s information, any information for this case, the Billy Smolinski case.
ERIC: Todd and Janice, if I can interrupt the two of you because there’s something that I think I’m missing here; the local law enforcement or the FBI, neither of them actually when working a case and taking DNA, do not volunteer to put the DNA through this database? I mean, does the victim’s family need to actually say, “I need for this to be put into national database?”
JANICE: You know I really think it depends on each and every local law enforcement agency in the country. Some are more educated on it that others.
TODD: But you have to ask. It’s very important that this happen.
JANICE: Right. You have to question everything and don’t take anything for granted.
TODD: I mean there’s no dumb question. There is no question that is too stupid to ask in a situation like this. You need to…you did the right thing, you made all the right moves, you still don’t have answers for your questions yet but you’ve made a lot of really good moves in positioning yourself to meet this end of it, the missing side of things.
JANICE: That’s right.
TODD: Now you said you had a lot of family support, now tell me about…before we get into the situation of his disappearance…he has a sister?
JANICE: He has a younger sister, yes, three years younger. She has 2 children and she’s married. They were very close.
TODD: Now was Billy ever married or had any children?
JANICE: No, he was living by himself. He lived with us until he was 26 years old and then moved into his own home in Waterbury, the next town over.
TODD: And he would have been about my age now so I can imagine what stage in his life he would probably be at, but, I’m curious about now when this happened, take us back to August 24th, 2004. What happened?
JANICE: Okay, he had just returned from a trip to Florida with his now ex-girlfriend.
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: He had broken up with her and I guess there was a real problem. But he was happy, he had talked with his sister the day before went missing, he told her about Florida, told her they had had a little misunderstanding…well, they broke up. There’s a whole situation…it was…well…
TODD: Well without getting into it in any great detail, for your privacy purposes, was this a normal…or a little more intense [breakup]? Does it seem to be connected to his disappearance I guess is what I am trying to ask you?
JANICE: Well it can. Yes it can.
JANICE: And we felt with his disappearance, something was wrong, but his neighbor had said that he was gone away for 3 days up north…
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: …that was a red flag to our family, right from the beginning because we knew he would not leave his work and he had already made a date with his girlfriend that he had dated 8 years previous to that, he was dating her for 8 years, the ‘good’ girlfriend. He had made a date with her to go to Six Flags the following Saturday and everything seemed normal. My daughter said he was happy enough and he had said that he was going to go on with his life, and then the neighbor said that he was going away for 3 days. So right away we called the police and said, “There’s a problem.” And the police said, “Well the neighbor said 3 days, so you have to wait 3 days.” Well those 3 days, were the longest 3 days; we sat and we waited and we waited, and we knew. When 3 days came, we filed our report. We asked, we needed help, and they just felt that he was a missing adult, and he probably just walked off and he’ll be back. Well we knew. You know, you can tell.
TODD: Well a lot of family members are like that and I know they have to take it with the grain of salt because he was an adult, but you know, family they know when something’s not quite right. You know if I had to wait 3 days to report my wife’s disappearance, knowing good and well there’s no way that she could have done anything like that, it’s too abnormal, I mean that would be a very tense period of time.
JANICE: Exactly and you know we had our whole family and what we’re going for in our bill and legislation is to evaluate every situation immediately and within the 24-, 48- to 72-hour timeframe is a very…you know you have to search and you could find them maybe alive.
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: That’s the problem, but, since no one would listen, we took it upon ourselves after he was reported missing, that we were going to do the search. We searched the banks of a river. We had to put an ad in the paper. In the beginning we had to pay for ads in the paper, no one would really help…$100 here, $200 there. They said there’s got to be a situation in order to get something that would get people’s attention in order to get something in the paper for free.
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: So this search was a situation going on, so they put that in free. So we had maybe 100 to 150 people searching without police, without police at all. Now what I have found out, which we didn’t know at that time, we could have had the state police get the helicopters up in the air and just scan over the area with their heat-treatment equipment and they could have found if Billy were laying on the side of the banks or in the woods; they could have found him. But nothing was said and we didn’t know anything about it at the time. We had people crossing the street. My brother-in-law was approached by a policeman who said, “What are you doing here?” And my brother-in-law said, “Don’t you know my nephew is missing? Didn’t you know that there’s a large search going on here?” And the police officer didn’t even know.
TODD: Well there’s a big communication breakdown here; that’s very obvious. It’s really a big stumbling block because the communication has not taken place like it should.
JANICE: And it should and that’s what we’re saying in our bill also. You know the police they really…there has to be some kind of protocol.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: And every person is SO important and you know it hurts me to see that this is taking place, and not only our area, I’ve talked to people all over the country and it’s a common problem. I don’t know what it is, the police officers they’re just too busy; I know Waterbury is not a quiet town…city, and there’s a lot happening but, you know really, when it comes to a situation likes this and there is somebody missing, call the state police then, they won’t. We asked for search dogs. My daughter had to call and get search dogs in herself.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: You know I just want people to know, if someone goes missing, that they have to ask every question. Don’t take anything for granted.
TODD: And it’s good to have a good family team in place. I’m sure you’ve helped advise people how to find some of these resources. Now, Gloria, Gloria Denton, she actually went on location and searched for her daughter, April (Beth Pitzer) as well. She actually found evidence. What did you guys find when you did your search?
JANICE: When we did our search, we didn’t find anything. It was absolutely clean. We searched. My husband and my brother-in-law were in the water; my sister-in-law and I were on top of the banks of the river. We saw homeless people and rats and all types of things, but we didn’t find anything. The only thing that I can say is, my son, when he went missing, it was without a trace. His truck, his keys, his wallet, everything was left in his driveway…at the beginning of his driveway, a place where he would have never left his truck parked. That was one red flag that we brought up. No one would listen. The truck was broken into 2 weeks into his disappearance. We asked for fingerprints to be taken, they wouldn’t do it. Every time we asked, it was…they felt that Billy had just taken off, you know, he had just had it and he was gone, and there was one remark made that he was over in Europe somewhere having a beer and having fun. You know, remarks like that just hurt. Another person that we went to see with high influence said, “You care about your son but no one else does.”
TODD: Because for you he was the most important thing in the whole entire world. You are, like so many other people, you’re not skin and bones, you’re skin and faith. You’re operating just purely on faith.
JANICE: Exactly. Yes, and we’re not going to stop, and God is giving us the strength to go on and we’re going to find him. I know we are and along the way we’re going to help the other people that really need it. We have Kelly Jolkowski that has the campaign for missing Billy.
TODD: And her son, Jason.
JANICE: Her son Jason is missing.
TODD: He’s been missing for how long?
JANICE: Oh, Jason’s been missing for 6 years I think.
TODD: Yeah, it’s been quite a while longer. So she sort of helped you?
JANICE: Yes she did. I know when we went the senator’s office and the senator’s aide said, “Well what can we do?” At that time I really didn’t have a definitive answer of what I really wanted to get going but I knew something had to be done. Then we went to the Cue Center and Monica (Caison) has a table conference every spring.
TODD: I missed it last year. I’m hoping to…are you going this year?
TODD: And we’re going to mention it in a later show before it happens. We are going to give everybody a good tip on that and I’m hoping to see you there.
JANICE: Oh, wonderful. You know we went last year and we learned tons. We loved it. We wanted to go and educate ourselves so we could further this legislation and all, and you meet wonderful people, and Monica has full control of it and she gets some good speakers and you do learn. It’s jam-packed with classes and people talking. It’s great and I can’t say enough about it. So with the Cue Center and we have ChildSeek, http://www.childseeknetwork.com, in Oregon, I think she’s coming to the conference this year; a lot of the missing persons’ families, Gloria’s going.
TODD: Well there’s quite a bit when you really look at it, when you look beyond when you first enter this world and you feel like you have nobody to go to, there are quite a lot of people out there that are willing to help.
JANICE: Yes there are. There are people out there willing to help and that’s wonderful, you know, it’s if you speak up and…you really have to be in the forefront though…
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: …to get people to recognize the situation.
TODD: Is it hard to get the attention that you need? Because it seems like all these people with missing family members, they’re vying for attention you know. Everybody’s not going to be on CNN, it’s not going to happen.
JANICE: No. No.
TODD: There’s no way and it’s sort of a competition, in a way, how to make it, because I’ve actually helped produce stories that actually went into a CNN or Good Morning America type show and, you know, I have to find ways, I have to find what’s interesting about this case, what’s different about this case, and it’s like you’re selling a used car. This case is interesting because this is different; this hasn’t been told before and it’s crazy but it’s reality.
JANICE: It is reality and Natalee Holloway, Laci Peterson and George Smith from our state of Connecticut…
TODD: They got a lot of attention but they’re landmarks in some way because they’ve brought it to the forefront a little bit more. I think people started looking deeper and I think they got a lot of attention that could have been spread around a little bit.
JANICE: Yes, you know, it’s just I know that everyone who has a missing loved one…they do want the attention and should get attention. Everyone has a story…
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: …and, you know a lot of people think that this can’t happen to them. Billy was 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.
TODD: It’s hard to believe that somebody, you know, could just be gone.
JANICE: Just be gone, and we do feel that there is a situation here. We’re not exactly sure what happened but you know if the procedure was done properly from the beginning, we may have had our answers and I’m very happy that the FBI is in on it because they’ve been…
TODD: You’ve noticed a change?
JANICE: Yeah. You know, at least the FBI, they’re taking notice and they’re listening and they’re the first people that really are listening.
TODD: Well they kindly provide me with great deal of statistical data on missing and unidentified persons that allow me to help market back to the media to help raise public awareness, and they’re doing this willingly. They’re very good about that and it’s different than in past time periods, I’ve noticed it was difficult to even make contact with them and I find that it’s very easy now to contact them and communicate with them but you have to do that. You have to be willing to take that step, like you have.
JANICE: Right, and to be completely fair about this, we’ve worked really hard in the past 2 ½ years but, also, with the situation that our case brings, with the flyers being torn, there’s sensationalism a little bit and that’s when people take notice.
TODD: And think, whoever is tearing these flyers down, in a roundabout way they’re helping to bring attention to…
JANICE: I’m sorry?
TODD: In a roundabout way, whoever is tearing these flyers down, they’re helping to bring more attention to it so there’s no way that they’re going to defeat you.
JANICE: Absolutely, and you know we have video, so with the video and it has been on the air, it was on ‘The Early Show’. I’ve stood and talked with the people from ‘The Early Show’, the producer, while they were setting up the camera, [I spoke] off camera and I talked with them about the missing persons problem and they were very…they said that they’ve been doing this for 19 years and they didn’t realize the situation that our country faced with the missing person problem, especially missing adults. I see that the National Center for Missing Adults is lacking funds and they might be closing if they don’t get enough funds, whereas the National Center for Missing Children is in better shape.
TODD: For children, they’re going to get the funding easier.
TODD: Honestly, it’s going to happen. They’re going to get it a lot easier but I think that’s why more and more of the volunteer efforts are going to become even more vital if we lose some of the funding for some of these organizations; it’s going to take the people, en masse, to help affect this change and fill in these gaps.
JANICE: Well that’s it and you know what, I think with the recognition that’s taking place now, the Internet is a great tool and the rallies that are taking place. I think it’s going to bring it to their attention more and more and maybe we can make a difference. I know we can make a difference. We’re going to make a difference.
TODD: Well with the Internet, it’s such a great tool, because before this happened, you know actually making contact with somebody in another state, they night as well have been on another planet because how would you even find information to contact somebody. The information is being exchanged. Now I think people see that it’s getting worse but I’m not sure that things are really getting worse, we just hearing about it more often.
JANICE: I think, yes, that’s exactly right. We’re hearing about it more often and I was just looking at an article and, I print out a lot of articles from the website and how the bodies of some of the people that are not identified, and in some states, they just burn them.
TODD: Cremate them, yeah.
JANICE: Their bones.
TODD: Most of the time a DNA sample is taken. You know, sometimes there’s an overwhelming amount of people and bodies that have to be disposed of. Can you imagine an agency with 200 unidentified bodies, what do you do them?
JANICE: I know and now with DNA and with the national database, that’s where if it all came together and with the computer system, we do need the funds. You know, the thing is, you know, instead of the government giving funds to ‘Why do the birds fly north in the summertime?’ you know that god makes the birds fly north in the summertime, we don’t need to do funding there.
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: You know, let’s bring it and make a difference to help the other people.
TODD: Because we’re going to continue, you know I feel like the way we do it and the Internet and these efforts that we’re doing is basically hand-to-hand combat, so a good tool and good technology is always welcomed. It helps save a lot of resources, safe a lot of…and you know its back-breaking labor, it really is.
JANICE: Yes it is.
TODD: And even this show, I think we could help, we could talk to 52 people a year; in a way that’s a lot but, in a way, it’s a drop in the bucket for the reality out there. You know I can only get 52 people that need help in a year or bring somebody in that can help more people; like we will get a medical examiner or somebody that can actually help or maybe give information to help 12 families like you or more families and we try to get the data passed on to them. Now I know that you searched his home, Billy’s home, is there anything to tell you that Billy might be alive somewhere?
JANICE: You know we feel…I don’t think so.
TODD: You’re at such peace with this. You know I’ve talked to people in your situation before that were just unable to communicate and you are…obviously your faith is taking care of you because you are just so at peace.
JANICE: I am very much at peace. Yes I am. I talk to the Lord every single day and I know that Billy needs to be found and brought home and put in his proper place, and I’m going to do that. I’m his mom and his dad is listening to the radio downstairs, to this show, and you know we raised him from birth and we’re not going to give up on him, and I know the Lord is going to lead us step by step and we’ll find him. But in the process, good has to come out of bad and we’re not going to focus and have a pity party for ourselves. We’re going to stand out in the forefront and do what we have to help the others and find Billy.
TODD: The cause as a whole. Now, you sound fairly convinced that Billy’s deceased.
JANICE: Yes. Yeah I am. He’s been on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ show, shown briefly but he has been and I’ve heard from Oregon that they saw him, so he was national on June 10th and ‘The Early Show’ had him, his story and it was a good size story, so he was shown nationally then and there was no indication from anywhere that Billy was seen.
TODD: What other shows have you…?
JANICE: Well, we’ve been on the news…
TODD: Local news?
JANICE: …local news in our area but, nationally, those were the only 2 shows, ‘America’s Most Wanted’ [and ‘The Early Show’]…well, of course, ‘Without A Trace’, he was on also, briefly…
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: …about him.
TODD: Well Eric, what do you think of this fine lady and her work?
ERIC: You know I’m listening and I’m seeing that you’ve got a fight on both ends. It seems like, administratively, with the local law enforcement just to get them to move to do something and, yes I can understand part of it, you know, with him being an adult and him not being there, but when there are so many things that you have brought up and said that are so out of character, like leaving the truck at the end of the driveway, or just not talking or let’s say, making dates at one point and then going away for 3 or 4 days at another time. What is it going to take to make law enforcement really just jump up and do something? I can understand your trip to Washington, but what I do have to ask you, is that with all the investigating that you jumped in and started doing, both with the truck and in the home and everything, is there a chance that the evidence may have been destroyed, do you think?
JANICE: Oh absolutely, you know…sure. At the beginning, our family, we really didn’t know what to do. First of all, we were in a turmoil because Billy was missing…
ERIC: uh huh
JANICE: …and you know, for no one to come and take control, we pretty much had to take control ourselves, so thinking at that time, maybe Billy was just…maybe he did go up north, you know you’re thinking different things, so you know I went in and I washed the floor and washed his curtains and cleaned his house up. Well, I didn’t realize that there could have been evidence in there and the police didn’t do anything.
TODD: You weren’t really left with a choice at the time.
JANICE: You know we didn’t even think about it. They did come in and do the Luminol test trying to find blood spots in different areas and nothing came up.
TODD: Well you would have to have done a really good scrubbing to have eliminated that so I doubt you really…
JANICE: Right. No, it was just because he had a German shepherd, he loved his German shepherd and he had footprints and all so I just cleaned up the area and washed the floor. I didn’t do a great big scrubbing job so with the Luminol, yes it would have picked up but they didn’t find anything, but it was our perseverance that had them come in and do the Luminol and they went through 6 detectives…
JANICE: …it was the second set of detectives, we had one, he was the best one out of the bunch and he was pretty caring and he did listen to us. My daughter and I were going down to the police station every other week because my husband was working and the rest of the family members were working and my daughter and I would go and we’d talk to the detective and he would try to tell us what was going on. You know, he said that if we weren’t showing our faces at the police department regularly then he picked up Billy’s file and he said that it would go in the drawer as a cold case, and we were not going to let that go in as a cold case. In order to get their attention to get the second set of detectives to come in, my daughter went up, she actually went yelling at them and said, “My brother is missing! We need help!” and that’s when the one detective said, “I’ll take control here.”
TODD: Sometimes a very radical move has to take place just to…and I’ve seen in a lot times I saw detectives that simply didn’t know what to do next and it’s hard to tell a family member that “Janice, I don’t know what to do; we’re at a dead end.” It’s hard to tell somebody that, it really is.
JANICE: Right. It is. I know.
TODD: A lot of them try to instill the air of confidence to make you feel better, and I’ve actually given a family member something to do to keep them busy. You don’t need anything like that, you’re doing, I mean, I think you see your hands being busy is better than sitting there.
JANICE: Oh absolutely.
TODD: And waiting.
JANICE: Yeah, you have to keep on persevering and, what I’m thinking of here is, you know with all this process of the police department and trying to get them to work, you know with the flyers coming down in this other town and taking videos of this person taking the flyers down, I was arrested as a criminal. I was arrested as a criminal for first-degree trespassing for hanging a flyer of my son on a pole.
TODD: You were arrested?
JANICE: I was arrested.
TODD: Now how do you explain that?
JANICE: That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
TODD: Who arrested you? What…was it…?
JANICE: Well there is a politician and you know I can’t mention names or anything…
JANICE: …but, in the process of all this, you know it was chaotic because my daughter and I were just trying to get the video, hang the flyers and this person was taking the flyers down on us, so we went into the police station in this other town to see if we could talk to the detective and try to make sense out of this whole issue and he knew that we had taken a video tape of it. So we talked and he said, “Well, what I’m going to do is I’m going to do is throw 5 charges at you for trespassing and harassing and…”. We couldn’t believe what was going on. So he said, “Do you understand what I’m trying to say?” So I said, “I understand exactly what you’re saying but this sounds like a Southern movie.” And so he had come in with the bus company owner, the detective and they said, “We’ll drop all 5 charges if you do not take this video tape to Channel 8 news.” Well my daughter and I didn’t know what to do so we just got up and left. Two weeks later, I get a phone call at my house saying that I had 2 days to turn myself in to be booked as a criminal or they’re going to come and when I am in town they are going to handcuff me and bring me in. Well…
TODD: Are you shocked Eric, with this?
ERIC: Yeah. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I don’t like cutting in, but I really do have to cut in and ask now…
ERIC: Two questions. How long did it take before the police jumped up and said, “Okay, we’re going to do something about this?”
JANICE: That they’re going to do something?
ERIC: When did they start actively investigating this missing person Billy?
JANICE: They actually didn’t.
ERIC: Oh they didn’t.
TODD: They’re still waiting on that, right?
ERIC: So then they do know that there is something going on. How long after did you start hanging the posters up?
JANICE: They started coming down almost immediately.
ERIC: Well I mean, how long did you wait after he went missing, did you start hanging them?
JANICE: Immediately. We were hanging them all over the state of Connecticut and in other states, New York, and we found out that in certain towns they were being torn down.
ERIC: So then, inside of what, let’s say about a week after he went missing, you started hanging these posters?
JANICE: Yeah, I’d say about a week, yes.
ERIC: And they actively pursued you even though you were making a plea to the police and they said, “Well he could be any place.”
JANICE: Exactly. He could be any place and that was…
ERIC: It was wrong for you to look for him?
TODD: Can you talk about the person taking down the flyers or is that something we need to avoid?
JANICE: Well I would pretty much like to avoid it if possible.
TODD: Okay and that’s fine. We’ll avoid anything you want to but you know I’m still a little shocked with you having been arrested.
JANICE: Yes, and so am I. That we could talk about. The arrest, you know I did have to go to superior court, I was booked; I have never even had so much as a traffic ticket. I was read my rights and I was booked, and they told me that it was criminal trespassing first degree, which is a very serious charge. I could have gone to jail for that. So I went to superior court and I brought a reporter with me and come to find out that, in court the prosecutor was looking at my court affidavit and not only was I charged with criminal trespassing, but also misconduct and they threw 2 other charges in. They said that I had paintballed the school buses and he said, “What about the paintballing of the school buses?” and I said, “Paintballing of the school buses?” and he said, “Yeah, it says here that you paintballed 2 of the school buses.” Well I don’t even know what a paintball gun looks like. Then, also something to do with the superintendent at school, so thank God for reporters in our area because they have been excellent. There’s one reporter from that town that chose to go and research and he found out that they were false charges. There was no report of the buses being paintballed. There were false charges put in my court affidavit and as far as the superintendent of the school, he knew nothing about it.
TODD: Why would somebody to this to you; to have actually created a false charge, what would have been the purpose of this?
JANICE: Well there is a politician in town involved.
JANICE: So that’s the whole purpose of it.
ERIC: Is this politician involved with having you arrested or involved with your son going missing?
JANICE: Well you know, I can’t say that he was…it’s who knows who and it’s the same town, it’s not Waterbury, it’s not the town where Billy came from, it was another town. I feel that they’re doing favors for each other and the primary purpose of it was for me to stop looking and I wasn’t going to stop and my family members weren’t going to stop. We’re looking for Billy. He’s a missing person.
ERIC: Right but this is not like a missing purse or anything, it’s a missing person.
TODD: Well with these charges, do you think that it was connected to his disappearance or just simply a political thing? I think a lot of people would probably like to know that and I think that we can clear that up. Is it to prevent you from finding the truth or just to make you shut up?
JANICE: Well, the truth, I’m not sure but probably to quiet me but what I can say is, my son, because it’s been in the papers and all, the politician is the man that was having an affair with the girlfriend. My son found out.
JANICE: And there’s the answer right there.
TODD: Okay, that’s settled that but people can actually get on the Internet and look up Billy Smolinski in Google and find a lot because I did it just before I talked to you yesterday and there’s a ton of information out there if people want to read something that maybe you can’t say right now. Besides the Arizona connection, and we will have it in when we type up your story for the archives on MissingPieces.info, we will actually show that to actually give him a little help, and I want to talk about that, is there any other case that he has been compared to that maybe we could help by just mentioning the fact that he was compared to another unidentified person?
JANICE: He was compared to another…oh, you mean like the skull that was out in Arizona?
JANICE: There was another down in the Virginia area; our private investigator looked into it. I think it was Maryland actually and there was nothing that came out of it. Other than that, no.
TODD: Okay, we’ll definitely link that too so that people can see that and maybe help that person. So we’re going to try to help him as well, this other unidentified person. I think what you’ve done, all of this time, all these months, even though you’re sure that he’s probably deceased, I think you’re going to make his disappearance mean something, just like he didn’t go in vain, you’re going to make it matter. You’re going to make it count; I’m sure of that.
JANICE: I really think that everyone is on this earth for a reason…
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: …and so, you have to put your best foot forward, when something happens like this, you can’t coil back. I‘m not out to hurt anyone; I’m not mad at anyone; I’m just looking for my son. I want answers and, in the meantime, I do want to help get legislation going.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: Gloria and I could go to the White House and maybe we could get funding for the national database and for the National Centre for Missing Adults. We can make a difference you know if we speak in the forefront and, seriously, I’m really not out looking for trouble and I’m not mad and if any of them wants to talk to us, you know, we’re out there to help or to talk. We can understand the feelings and there are bad days. You know some days you wake up and you say, “Oh, I just can’t take another day.”
JANICE: But you just pick up and you brush yourself off and say, “No, we have to find him” and it works, and 2 ½ years later we still haven’t got any answers but, you know, I know the FBI they take things under control and they don’t give up.
TODD: They’re pretty good. I know there’s a lot of criticism for a lot of the different mechanisms; mostly there’s a lot of criticism for the NCIC, but a lot of it, it would work better if it were better utilized.
TODD: It would work better. A lot of people say the system is broke but maybe the system is not broke, it’s the way we use the system that’s broke.
JANICE: Well that’s it and I think the technology is new.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: Like in our police department, when I talked about the DNA and the national database, they actually didn’t know what the national database was.
TODD: I know that’s very common; I can tell you that’s very, very common.
JANICE: And that’s another thing that is included in our bill, I really feel that in the police academy, they need training. It’s time. We’re not cavemen anymore, you know it’s 2007.
TODD: Change is happening. I’ve seen some very, very positive change. With every case like yours, you’re making a ripple and it does create a change, and I think you know that. I think you know that you’ve already made a change; you’ve already taken people under your wing and helped shorten their search, shorten their grief. I know you have.
JANICE: I certainly hope so.
TODD: I’m sure you have because I’ve kind of watched around and I see some things that you’ve been involved in, some of the articles, some of the words you’ve said, and it’s had to provide comfort for somebody. Now your husband, how’s he holding up? How does he support you in this?
JANICE: Wonderfully, you know, we’ve been married for 36 years.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: And he has a great faith also and we talk things together and we haven’t had a problem whatsoever, you know, whatever we discuss all the situations and he’s with me 100%. And then we have our backup system, you know, my in-laws.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: They’re wonderful also and without them it would be hard to function, so we’re just grateful. And my daughter, she’s right there, and I think with the disappearance of her brother, it’s changed her life and she’s become…you know she has her own children and she values life so much and she takes every day and tells everyone she loves them and she knows that someday…we never knew that tomorrow Billy would be gone.
TODD: You know this has made a better person out of so many people. It’s sad that it had to be a tragedy to do it but I’ve seen people that were and had so many other blessings come into their life as a result of it and, you know maybe that’s what you’ve got to think about.
JANICE: Exactly. You do have to think of the positive.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: And I just want people to know, I knew that Billy was an adult already, 31 years old and we did tell him how we felt about certain situations, and I know either he would listen or he wouldn’t, but just take a good look at the people that they associate with because he had a faith, he had also a strong faith, and he came from a family that he just knew our family type of living and there’s all types out there, and he didn’t feel that anyone was really going to hurt him.
TODD: uh huh
JANICE: So he walked into situations, I think, that he couldn’t handle and you know it would be better to evaluate every situation and take a look at what’s going on.
TODD: Have you ever felt endangered from doing what you’re doing, besides the obvious of being arrested, have you ever felt threatened?
JANICE: You know if it have, I’m not paying attention to it because if I dwell on it then it might overtake me and I don’t want that so, you know I’m out here and I have a purpose and I’m going to stay with it and I think, with God, we’re protected.
TODD: Oh I’m sure you are, I mean imagine to take a cub from the mother and see what happens to you, that’s the same ferocity that you’ve got. People have strong feelings for their children and they’ve got to expect that when someone has gone missing, it’s this person’s child, they’re going to respond.
JANICE: Exactly. You know I always compare it to a lioness.
TODD: uh hum
JANICE: You know, any kind of animal, you take a child away from a parent of any species, they’re going to react.
TODD: I mean you’re going to let this completely consume you, willingly, to get justice for your child.
JANICE: Exactly. Yeah.
TODD: I know you’re going to do it. Eric, have you got anything else? We’re definitely going to have her back because I have a feeling that she’s got some updates coming up.
JANICE: We will.
ERIC: I do have one question for her. You trip to Washington; can you give us a little background on it in the time that we have left?
JANICE: Well Gloria is still waiting for the White House for a date, I know it’s going to be some time in May, she originally had said May 13th but that’s on a Sunday, Mother’s Day and there’s not going to be anyone down near the White House, so we’re just waiting for the date but it will be in May.
ERIC: Okay. What is it that you are looking to accomplish by going?
JANICE: Well I guess we’re mostly looking for funding for the national database and the National Centre for Missing Adults. There may be other things but those are the main purposes.
TODD: Well, who are you going to have an audience with, in particular? Actually the President or just the staff?
JANICE: Well that remains to be seen once we get the date, we’re going to try to get speakers and people that will be able to make a difference. I have a Dr. Donna out in California that I have been corresponding with, and she has taken it upon herself, she’s the chiropractic doctor, but she’s taken it upon herself to help the missing, especially missing adults, and she’s written a book and she wants to come maybe to Washington, but she could make a difference, and we need people like her.
TODD: Well Eric, we’re going to stay in touch with her throughout this process and we will try to give updates on later shows. We will definitely update your page when we have your archive page on MissingPieces.info, we’ll definitely keep updating it and let people know when you do have a solid date and we’ll bring you back with any updates and when you want to come back let us know and we’ll definitely try to get you in here.
JANICE: I really appreciate you having me on tonight and justice4billy.com will have all the information and the news articles and the videos and all. Thank you very much.
ERIC: Okay. Can you give that website once again?
JANICE: It’s http://www.justice4billy.com
ERIC: Okay. I want to encourage all of our listeners top go ahead and hit that website.
TODD: Take a look at it, yeah.
ERIC: A lot of the things that maybe could not have be discussed tonight, you might be able to find something more there and we want to encourage you to get in contact with the victims, let them know that you’re there to support them. We want you to follow this case and if you can’t get to that website, you can go to our website and contact Todd Matthews who is head of The Lost and The Found…forgive me Todd.
TODD: Global Research…
ERIC: The Lost and The Found Global Research Centre.
TODD: And we work together at WCAN to put this radio show together as a public service announcement to help in any way we can and we just hope it’s making a difference. I like to think that we’re at least giving somebody a voice, whether we’ve made any great earth-shaking events yet, but we’re definitely trying to give people an opportunity to get it off their chests and pass on their information. We hope you feel better because of it.
ERIC: Listen, we want to thank both of you for having come on tonight. We want to encourage our audience to tune in next week. Todd, Janice, I want to bid you good night.
JANICE: Thank you very much and God bless you.
ERIC: God bless you too.
TODD: Goodnight. Talk to you next week.
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