The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.

The Corpse in the Backyard

I think I have a title for my first mystery novel.

Seriously, though, big news here in Nashville - Perry March has been arrested in Mexico, is being deported to Los Angeles, and will be brought back to Nashville to face charges of second-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here's a brief summary (the link above has a little more detail, but not much): In 1996, a local artist named Janet March disappeared from her home on Tyne Blvd. Her husband, Perry, claimed he didn't know where she was. He said he thought she had simply left him and their two children, due to a recent fight. A few days later, her car was found parked at the end of Tyne Blvd., several miles from their home.

Not long after that, Perry picked up and moved to Mexico with his kids. No body was ever found. For the last few years, Perry has been locked in court battles with Janet's parents over custody of the children (the grandparents went so far as to kidnap the kids in Mexico and bring them back here, but they were eventually returned to their father), Janet's assets, and a wrongful death suit that is still in appeals.

In 1997, the winning YASNI was inspired by the case. This is a story that has all the elements of a really good murder novel - a missing body, feuding relatives, even a lawyer as a defendant. It will be interesting to see the evidence when it is presented; let's hope it will be an open court, so the news channels can keep us up to date.

Specifically, I want to know what piece of evidence has come to light after all these years to make the case solid enough to bring charges. And what charge Perry was deported under (note, he wasn't extradited to face charges) - what did he do to piss off Mexico? The AG's office must have a pretty good theory about what happened to the body. Did he do something creative and heinous with it? Were there other people involved in her disappearance? It should be a fascinating trial. That is, if he doesn't enter a plea of some sort. (To Tory Johnson - don't plead him! If you've got enough evidence, put the jerk away. We lawyers have enough of a bad reputation.)

And the corpse in the backyard? My dad is convinced he knows where Janet March's body is. You see, if you drive down Tyne Blvd. from where the Marches lived to the church where her car was found, you pass two wooded areas. One, in fact, has houses behind the trees; you just can't see them from the road. The other is a probably 10-acre wooded lot. It is what is left of the farm that was developed into my parents' neighborhood. The lot actually belongs to an adjoining house, but has never been cleared or developed for anything. As kids, my brother and sister and I had a great place to play. My dad thinks the body is probably buried in there somewhere. It's the only stretch along that road where something like a body could be hidden, and assuming that the murderer killed her at the house, dumped the body and then the car, it does make a certain amount of sense that that person would have taken the most direct route straight down Tyne.

Surely, if there were any real probability, the police would have searched the area. So far as I know, they never have. So they must have another idea of what happened to the body. Either way, as much as the public (including me) wants its morbid curiosity satisfied, it is still possible to convict a person of murder without an actual body, if the evidence is strong enough.

I did sit through most of the press conference a little while ago. It was fun to watch the journalists trying to pry information out of the AG, FBI agent and police chief. Their response to most of the questions was along the lines of, "That's evidence, and we can't comment on the evidence." Then the next journalist would try to think of an even trickier way to ask about evidence. A battle of wits like you've never imagined. Eventually, everyone realized that as much as was going to be said, had been.

Welcome home, Perry. We've been waiting for this.

9 Responses to “The Corpse in the Backyard”

  1. # Blogger Katie

    I, too, was interested by the latest developments in the Janet March case. I remember covering this story back in my news days and it played a very important part of my day for about 2 years straight. You're right, the evidence they have must be solid enough...or more solid than they've had in the past. I know he's been a suspect all along, but they could never pin it on him. Perhaps they've found some incriminating evidence...taped his phone calls or something. I don't know...but I'm curious to say the least. I'm just glad I'm not in news anymore, because I'd get sick of talking about it all over again.  

  2. # Blogger Michael Hickerson

    I thought I heard in one of the reports on this that one of the charges against him was abuse of a corpose..which leads me to think they've found a body.  

  3. # Blogger Tara

    Okay, so back in May when I was sitting on the patio at Mom and Dad's, working on my paper, I heard a sound in the woods, possibly behind our neighbors' yard. And it sounded like metal on a rock, and I thought of a shovel. It was a little freaky at the time, but I told myself I'm my father's daughter and I was being paranoid. And I still can't imagine, if anyone were going to do something disturbing with a shovel, that they'd do it in the middle of a sunny summer day. But just the fact that there might be a body back in those woods where we played...just a freaky thought that my mind now has sound effects for playing in the background.  

  4. # Blogger amanda

    Girl, that YASNI 1997 winning entry was horrible! Granted, I laughed for a nanosecond before my conscience kicked in!  

  5. # Blogger Casey

    Write the novel! Sounds like a good plot.  

  6. # Blogger The Blogger Formally Known As Van!

    OHHHHHH my!  

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    good post... thanks.

    my site: mensa  

  8. # Blogger LB

    abuse of a corpse? how about abuse of one's wife to the point of death?? I can't wait until A&E's Cold Case Files on this one!!  

  9. # Anonymous Anonymous


    For an alleged attorney, you certainly spent absolutely no time evaluating the actual facts in this modern day lynching. Even though all the local and even the natinoally syndicated 48 Hours have already decided Perry March is guilty of murder, they do have more than enough real facts and details revealed to recognise that there is no direct or indirect evidence that establishes Janet March is dead or that Perry MArch killed her...  

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