Body may be missing woman
Recently discovered human remains could be those of Janet Kovacich, who vanished from Auburn in 1982.
“A couple of the parameters (of the remains) seem to match Janet, but we don’t know for sure,” Auburn Police Sgt. Chris Reams said Monday. “We don’t want to raise the hope of the family.”
Reams did not say where the human remains were found or when.
While there are no official suspects in the disappearance, authorities said Monday that much of the current evidence seems to point to Kovacich’s husband, former Placer County sheriff’s deputy Paul Kovacich.
Janet Kovacich was reported missing in September 1982 by her husband. She was legally declared dead in 1995.
Earlier this month, authorities searched the Lake of the Pines home owned by Paul Kovacich’s parents. Investigators took away several pieces of evidence, including the remains of a dog, which reportedly died just prior to Janet Kovacich’s disappearance.
Reams said the human remains were not found in the same place as the dead dog.
Later confiscated was a Ford Bronco that once belonged to Janet and Paul Kovacich, and DNA samples were taken from family members.
“It will take months to analyze (the evidence),” he said. “The only question is how many months.”
At the time of Janet Kovacich’s disappearance, she was reportedly having marital problems with her husband, and the two were having an argument over where their children should go to school.
Authorities are now investigating a domestic violence angle in the case.
“In 1982, they did not talk about domestic violence like we do now,” Reams said. “To my knowledge, there were no spousal abuse laws in the early ’80s.”
Reams said the department is not actively searching for Paul Kovacich and is not sure where he is.
“I don’t want to call him a suspect, but he is a person of interest,” Reams said.
In fact, Paul Kovacich is one of the few people that authorities have not yet contacted for interviews since reopening the case about a year and a half ago.
“In 1982, he told us that he would not talk to us anymore,” Reams said. “We offered him a polygraph test, but he said he did not want it.”
Auburn police are also looking to hear back from an anonymous caller who has already helped the department twice in its investigation. Authorities do not know who the mystery woman is, or where she lives.
“Most of the facts point toward Paul Kovacich,” Reams said. “But we are not closed-minded. Anybody that knows anything, please call us.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Reams at 823-4237.
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