Betty Fran Gladden Smith
Missing since October 4, 1991 from West Windsor Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Betty was married to John David Smith III at the time of her 1991 disappearance. The couple met in Florida, and married in May 1990 and moved to New Jersey in May 1991.
Betty Fran's family told authorities that John had seemed to be mild-mannered, though evasive about his past, prior to Fran's disappearance, but they later learned he was abusive toward his first wife.
Fran's daughter called her mother at approximately 10:00 AM on September 28, 1991 from her home in Houston, Texas, from the couple's West Windsor Township, New Jersey residence. Fran gave no indication that anything was amiss and did not mention any travel plans. She was recovering from a broken hip at the time, which would have made traveling alone impossible. Betty has never been seen or heard from again.
John told Betty's family that he believed she went on an impromptu trip. Her relatives did not believe this claim and began to investigate her disappearance themselves. They learned that John had previously been married to Janice Hartman Smith in 1969, while he initially told Betty's family that their marriage was his first.
Janice vanished from Wayne County, Ohio in November, 1974, three days after her divorce from John had been finalized. John reported Janice as a missing person two days later.
John was never charged in connection with either of his wives' disappearances in the 1990's and moved to California after Fran vanished. He married for a third time in 1998.
Janice's remains were located in an Indiana roadside ditch in 1980, six years after she was last seen. She was not identified until 2000. John was charged and convicted of the murder of Janice in July 2001 and is serving a 25 year to life sentence.
Foul play is suspected in Fran's disappearance due to the circumstances involved. John is not charged in her case and she has never been located.
Connected to this case is Hot Case #3 Smith had several photographs of this woman in his possession at the time of his arrest. He has refused to tell who she is.
If you have any information concerning Smith's whereabouts, please contact:
West Windsor Township Police Department
Sgt. Brian Melnick
Federal Bureau Of Investigation - New York
Cold Case Division
SSA Robert Hilland
You may remain anonymous when submitting information to any agency.
Agency Case Number: 91-013139
NCIC Number: M520039204
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
National Center for Missing Adults
ABC News On-Line
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