It was one of those rainstorms you can’t forget. On April 15, 1986, before the days of text messages, Lynda Lubinski called her sister Janice Potter to cancel their evening plans. The torrential downpour in Rosedale, Maryland had immobilized them both.
The two sisters were incredibly close. Growing up in a family with just two girls and four brothers, their bond was incomparable.
At the time, Lynda’s daughter was 11 months old. Janice, 24, was newly pregnant with her first child, and the sisters had planned to go out the evening of the thunderstorm to shop for maternity clothes. The cancellation call was the last time Lynda ever spoke to her sister.
“That still bothers me all of these years later,” Lynda Lubinski told Dateline NBC. “Because if we had gone out, she wouldn’t have been home that night.”
Janice met her fate that night at the hands of a cold-blooded killer. She was found brutally stabbed to death in the basement of her and her husband's townhouse.
Thirty years later, her death remains a mystery.
“There are so many things that just don’t add up,” Lynda told Dateline. “Any random person just wouldn’t be out on a night like that.”
Police believe Janice received harassing phone calls in the weeks leading up to her murder. At the scene, they found that some of Janice’s jewelry was missing.
Lynda said police looked at Janice’s husband, but quickly dismissed him as a suspect. On the night of the murder, Janice’s husband was at night school. He told police that before leaving home, he had left the basement door ajar to let in some air.
“Janice was very introverted and she didn’t socialize a lot,” Lynda told Dateline. “She was very safe. She was so careful about locking doors and windows.”
This past Friday marked 30 years since Janice’s murder, and there are still more questions than answers in the case. Police are once again asking for the public’s help in the open investigation.
“The suspect could have targeted her, this could be something that is completely random or it could have been a burglary gone horribly and violently wrong,” Corporal John Wachter of the Baltimore Police Department told NBC Affiliate WBAL.
For the Lubinski family, Janice’s murder is a painful legacy. But they aren’t giving up on justice.
“My oldest brother and I spent numerous days, hours, just sitting at the homicide department night after night, week after week, year after year, just trying to see what are we overlooking,” Lynda told Dateline.
Lynda says the Potter family is determined to continue fighting for her sister’s legacy, no matter the passage of time.
As the 30 year mark passes, Lynda thinks of her father. He refused to accept his daughter’s tragic, mysterious death.
“My dad, he was an avid gardener. For the next fifteen years after my sister’s death, he would cut fresh flowers and take them to her grave every single day,” Lynda told Dateline.
Today, Lynda’s daughter is 31. It is she who now hopes to solve Janice’s case.
“Janice was a good person. She was an innocent person. She was goodness contained in one. She deserved to have a life. And everything was taken from her for nothing,” Lynda told Dateline. “And whoever did this has spent the last 30 years enjoying their life, seeing the holidays, seeing the change in seasons, while my sister had everything taken away from her at the age of 24.”
If you have information about this case, please contact the Baltimore County Police Department's Homicide Unit, Unsolved Case Squad at (410) 887-3943, or the Communications Team at (410) 307-2020. Callers may remain anonymous.