In 1992, Robert and Janet Kirkup lived in Apple Valley and owned a business. When they retired they sold their business and purchased a motorhome. Robert and Janet traveled the country in their motor home. In July 1992, their daughters stopped hearing from their mother. When they tried to contact her, Robert told them she was asleep, on a walk or at the doctor’s office. The daughters became suspicious and filed a missing persons report at the Apple Valley Sheriff’s Station.
During the investigation the homicide detail assumed the case and learned that Robert and Janet were last seen together in Michigan. The SBSD homicide detectives worked with the Michigan State Police in a joint investigation. After an extensive investigation the Michigan State Police were able to prove that Janet and Robert most likely arrived together at an RV campground in New York. The Michigan State Police then worked jointly with the New York State Police. When interviewed, Robert told the Michigan and New York detectives that Janet left him for another man while at the campground in New York. Their motorhome was processed for evidence but none was located. The Michigan and New York State Police believed Robert killed Janet, but they could not prove it at the time.
In June 2008, Janet’s daughter contacted the SBSD Cold Case Team. Detectives Robert Alexander and Greg Myler picked up the case. Later that month, Myler and Alexander interviewed Robert at his residence in Big River. After eight hours he confessed to killing Janet and described it in detail. Robert said he strangled Janet to death on her birthday while at the RV campground in New York. After the homicide, Robert buried Janet in a remote area near the campground. After Robert confessed, the New York State Police obtained a murder warrant for Robert, who was subsequently arrested and extradited to New York where he pled guilty.
Efforts were made to find Janet’s body with Robert’s assistance, but were all unsuccessful. The case was later featured on Dateline NBC.