Murder of Russell Ray by his wife Janet Ray profiled on Where Murder Lies

Mugshot of Janet Ray
Janet Ray was sentenced to life for the murder of her husband, Russell Ray. Pic credit: GA Dept. of Corrections

Where Murder Lies examines the murder of Russell Ray, who was killed by his own wife, Janet Ray, in their small, close-knit hometown of Eastman, Georgia.

The case is unusual in that the killer, Janet, insisted throughout the investigation into what had happened to her husband that he was absolutely fine and that she regularly spoke with him.

In July 2006, friends of Russell Ray began noticing that they hadn’t seen their pal around town in a long time. At first, nobody was very concerned as it wasn’t unusual for Russell to go fishing for a week or so. However, as the weeks passed and there was still no sign of him, the police were called on to investigate.

The cops then learned that Russell hadn’t used his credit cards since May 31, which set off alarm bells. The investigators also discovered that Russell had had a troubled marriage with his wife. There were rumors of infidelity, and the pair had even split up at one point but later remarried.

Janet insisted that Ray had just gone fishing in Alabama and would return any day. The police wondered if he had just decided to run off; they also feared he may have had an accident.

Janet Ray lied about what happened her husband, Russell Ray

However, there was a chilling breakthrough in the case when the cops learned that a man claiming to be Russell had signed a legal document at the town’s notary office. The man had been in the presence of Janet and had Russell’s wallet, but he was actually a drifter from North Carolina named Timothy Sprouse.

Sprouse was known to hang around Janet’s beauty shop, and he later admitted to impersonating her husband as a favor to her. Janet still claimed her husband had left for a fishing trip, but the cops now suspected that she was lying.

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Janet even claimed that she was in regular contact with Russell through his cellphone. However, data from a local cellphone tower indicated that Russell’s cell had not left Eastman.

The police conducted a search of Janet and Russell’s property and were surprised to find Russell’s truck parked nearby close to some pine trees. In the back of the truck was a suspicious-looking taped-up trash can, which was covered in flies. When the investigators asked Janet about this evidence, she instantly responded: “I did it. I killed him.”

Janet claimed that Russell had beaten her up one evening in May, which led to her shooting him the following morning. She then left his remains to decompose for several weeks until she could stuff the remains into a trash can.

The police suspected that Janet was lying about Russell being abusive towards her. They believe that she had been forging checks from his account for many years and that she feared he was going to end their relationship and leave her with no money.

More from Where Murder Lies

Follow the links to read about more shocking crimes profiled on Where Murder Lies.

Jacob “Jake” Millison was a hardworking Colorado farmer who was shockingly murdered by his own mother, Deborah Rudibaugh. Deborah had wanted the farm to go to Jacob’s sister, Stephaine Jackson, so she shot him while he slept. The cops suspect Stephaine may have been heavily involved with the crime.

Lorraine Hunter cold planned and executed the murder of her husband, Albert Thomas, and she recruited her 15-year-old daughter to help with the sickening crime. The cops suspect she may have also killed a previous husband.

Where Murder Lies airs Mondays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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