Investigation Discovery’s ‘Betrayed: Motel Hell’ chronicles the more than two decades wait the parents of 22-year-old college student Janet Chandler had to endure before the killers of their daughter were brought to justice. Janet was raped and murdered in February 1979 in Holland, Michigan. The episode is a testament to their perseverance and fighting spirit as they saw that their daughter gets justice. So where are Jim and Glenna Chandler now? Let’s find out more about them, shall we?
Who are Jim and Glenna Chandler?
James “Jim” and Glenna Chandler had children, James “Jim” Chandler Jr., Dennis Chandler, and Janet Marie Chandler, in Muskegon County, Michigan. Their only daughter, Janet, disappeared on January 31, 1979, while working as a night clerk in the Blue Mill Inn in Holland, Michigan. To the horror of the Chandlers, their beloved Janet’s deceased body was found on February 2, 1979 (as per the show); her unclothed body was dumped in the show south of South Haven, on Interstate 196. The investigators looked into the case, but it soon turned cold when they could find any leads or suspects.
The case remained dormant for nearly 3 decades until Associate Professor David Schock of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, decided to make a documentary, titled ‘Who Killed Janet Chandler?,’ on the murder of Janet in 2003. The film department professor was from the same college where Janet was pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Music Vocal Education. David and his students decided to interview everyone related to the case, including old investigators and Janet’s parents and siblings.
When the crew arrived at the Chandler residence in the Fall of 2003, Jim and Glenna opened up about their daughter. Her mother brought out Janet’s stuff, including her application letter to the college, among other things that she had not touched in the decades since they lost her forever. Jim reminisced how her daughter was “the most spiritual one of the family,” as Glenna tried to fight back the tears gracefully. He also talked about Janet’s “rich mezzo-soprano voice,” wistfully remembering how it had made the neighbors crowd outside her window to listen to her sing.
One of the film students, Sarah Hartman, recalled, “The Chandlers talked about her as if she’d left the room five minutes ago.” However, the parents clammed up when the topic of Janet’s workplace was brought up. They had despised the motel and had warned Janet about the dangers of the place. Jim remembered his experience that one time he visited the Inn to meet his daughter, talking about the uneasy feeling he had upon seeing the “rough-looking” guys loitering around. Tearfully, he said, “I wish that I had questioned it more. [There were] things I should have done.”
Glenna even found the 20-year-old Sarah to be the spitting image of her beloved daughter, as she rested her head on Sarah’s shoulders and sobbed. The documentary rekindled national interest, and the Holland police department was forced to reopen Janet’s case. Ultimately, in February 2006, they made their first arrest – Robert Michael Lynch, who was one of the perpetrators and the guy who dumped Janet’s body. His confession led to further arrests in September 2006, that of Arthur “Carl” Paiva, Anthony Williams, Freddie Parker, James Cleophas Nelson, and Laurie Ann Swank.
Where are Jim and Glenna Chandler Today?
Except for Laurie Ann Swank, all five guys used to be employed by the Wackenhut security company in 1979. Laurie and Robert took plea deals and testified against the other guys in exchange for the lesser charge of second-degree murder. The remaining four — Arthur “Carl” Paiva, Anthony Williams, Freddie Parker, and James Cleophas Nelson — were tried and convicted of felony murder charges and sentenced to life without parole. In 2010, Jim and Glenna filed a civil suit against the Florida-based Wackenhut security company, accusing the company of negligent hiring and supervision of their employees.
As per the suit, the Chandlers endured mental pain and suffering suit and alleged the company was at fault because of their improper background investigation of their employees. It was stated in the suit that the family sought damages from the company. However, the case was dismissed in part of a technicality in 2010, which stated that as per the Michigan statute, the case “to recover damages for the death of a person” should’ve been filed within three years of the incident.
Jim and Glenna were also seen in the courthouse in July 2015 during an ongoing trial where the parents of another teenage girl, Shannon Siders, had to wait for decades before her killers were finally sentenced. Jim said, “We waited about the same amount of time.” Glenna added, “We’re just here to support.” The couple had also lost one of their sons, James Chandler Jr., in 2015 owing to natural causes. From what we can tell, they continue to live in Muskegon County, Michigan.