‘The Perfect Murder: Disappearing Act’ on Investigation Discovery details how Jana Koklich unexpectedly vanished from Lakewood, California, in the middle of August 2001. Although her body has never been located, the authorities have collected enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that she was murdered and apprehend the killer. We’ve got your back whether you’re curious to learn more about the case, the killer’s identity, or where they are right now. So let’s get started, shall we?
How Did Jana Koklich Die?
On January 1, 1960, in California, Jana Carpenter-Koklich was born to the late Democratic state senator from Cypress, Paul Carpenter, and Janeth Carpenter. Jana was an only child who had been her parents’ pride, according to family and acquaintances. Her family claims that she gave up her aspirations to go to law school when she met her husband, Bruce David Koklich, in order to support him in his business.
Doris Morrow, Paul’s girlfriend, recalled how Jana had been satisfied to labour tirelessly behind the scenes while Bruce focused on the company’s PR. According to Doris, “She wanted Bruce to shine.” The Seal Beach office of RE/MAX International Inc. in California employed Jana and Bruce as real estate agents. They operated a real estate and computer software business and resided in Lakewood.
Jana was a fastidious, hard-working woman who liked to be on time, according to her coworkers. Therefore, it was alarming when, on August 18, 2001, the 41-year-old skipped a morning appointment with her personal trainer. On August 20 at around 3:00 pm, her husband reported her missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. The police believed Jana may have been shot dead in her bedroom in the early hours of August 18 even though her body was never found.
Who Killed Jana Koklich?
The episode claims that Jana’s friends last saw her when she joined them on August 17, 2001, for a concert featuring Eric Clapton. Late that evening, according to Bruce, she returned to their Lakewood, California, home in the 2200 block of Lewis Street. She denied drinking at the performance during a police interview with her friends, citing a morning appointment the next day with her personal trainer. Jana’s trainer claimed she never contacted to change the appointment and never showed up at the appointed time.
Jana hadn’t missed an appointment with her trainer in two years, so it was a touch alarming. Her failure to reply to her mother’s several messages left on the house answering machine throughout the day on August 18 was another out of the ordinary behaviour on her part. Bruce indicated that Jana may have missed the calls and appointments because of her hectic schedule from August 18 to August 20 owing to duties relating to her job. He claimed that between 6:00 and 6:30 am on August 20, when he left their home, was the last time he saw his wife.
Bruce claims that after viewing a number of houses, he arrived at their office in the 3900 block of Atlantic Avenue at 8:30 am. He admitted that from 9:30 am to 11:00 am, when he got back to work, he spent time at a funeral. However, he was worried when Jana didn’t show up at work by 11:00 am and made attempts to contact her by phoning both their home and her cell phone. After Jana remained silent, he ultimately made his way to his home. He was accompanied by a coworker who saw Bruce turn off the burglar alarm before entering.
Bruce called an unnamed buddy from the Long Beach Police Department as soon as they realised Jana was missing, and together they reported her missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Given Jana’s high status as the missing daughter of a former senator, the detectives began a thorough investigation, but they turned up no information concerning her location. It wasn’t until her white 1996 Nissan Pathfinder SUV was found on August 27 that the police realised she was also missing.
In the 2400 block of California Avenue, in the Long Beach neighbourhood of Signal Hill, police found the missing automobile parked in an empty garage. About four miles from the Kokliches’ home was a neighbourhood that was primarily made up of African-Americans. The fact that her blood was all over the backseat of the car worried the detectives. In the episode, a group of youngsters claimed to have discovered the SUV open and abandoned on August 20 at around 8:00 am.
The lads claimed Jana’s pocketbook, phone, keys, and a revolver were visible through the rolled-down front windows of the car. They went through her personal items, left the bag and phone on top of an apartment block, sold the pistol and then took the car for a joyride. However, they became aware of the connection between the car and a homicide a week later and came forward with their proof. A local minister advertised for the return of the gun in exchange for a $100 reward, and it was reported that the minister received the weapon undercover.
Jana’s parents asserted that Bruce had harmed her, despite Bruce’s attempts to suggest that his wife might have been a victim of an alleged carjacking and his mention of witnesses seeing her on August 20. In 2001, Paul informed reporters that he thought Bruce killed Jana because he didn’t want to divide their marital assets and she wanted a divorce. In the event of a divorce, he would have lost 51% of their jointly owned company. Additionally, he had purchased a $1 million life insurance policy on her. Bruce was eventually detained and accused of killing Jana on January 31, 2002, though.
A pillow and sheet missing from the couple’s bedroom were discovered by the police. In the bedroom, they also found a little amount of Jana’s blood. According to the episode, the detectives also thought it was odd that Bruce didn’t appear to be distraught over his wife’s disappearance or take part in the search efforts. In contrast, he allegedly frequented prostitutes while they were married and opposed Jana’s desire to adopt a kid. He asked many female friends, including his 18-year-old niece, for sex after she vanished.
Where is Bruce Koklich Now?
When Bruce was accused of first-degree murder in February 2003, his first trial got underway. He testified and asserted his innocence, and his defence attorney informed the jury that the prosecution lacked tangible evidence. The trial concluded in a hung jury and was ruled a mistrial in March 2003 since there was no physical evidence or the body. In late 2003, Bruce was put on trial once more for second-degree murder.
He declined to provide a second testimony, but the prosecution made an effort to support its case with circumstantial evidence. Although the prosecution said they had no specific motivation, they noted Bruce’s refusal to submit to polygraph exams, his shady behaviour since his wife vanished, and potential financial benefit. Even though Bruce’s defence attorney kept repeating that he was innocent, the jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in October 2003.
He received a fifteen-year to life sentence. Despite being eligible for parole since July 2017, the 64-year-old is still detained at the California Institution for Men. Authorities and Jana’s family are still hopeful that he will one day reveal the location of where he disposed of Jana’s remains in exchange for parole. Bruce reportedly had his most recent parole denial in November 2021.
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