The Grosse Pointe Park community is still struggling to come to terms with the death of Michigan mother Jane Bashara, found strangled in her car in a Detroit alley last week . But just one week into the investigation, her husband Bob has been identified as a person of interest in her murder.
Bob Bashara's family is standing by him in the aftermath of his wife's brutal killing. Jane Bashara's relatives, however, are convinced that the killing was not random, and rumors that Bob Bashara recently failed a lie detector test have only helped fuel their suspicions.
Body Found In Alley
Jane Bashara, 56, disappeared Jan. 24 from Grosse Pointe Park, a little town in Detroit, Mich. Her husband Bob reported her missing at 11:30 p.m., claiming he had spoken to his wife when she was driving home from work but wasn't there when he got home. He saw her work ID on the table and reported that the TV was on when he entered their house. He became worried when hours passed and there was still no sight of her.
Bashara's Mercedes-Benz SUV was found the following morning in a Detroit alley near 7 Mile Road and Hoover. Her body was found in the backseat. The Wayne County Medical Examiner's office reported cause of death as homicide by strangulation.
'I Have No Clue'
Bob Bashara has told reporters that he has no idea what happened to his wife of 26 years. Last week, he expressed nothing but shock and grief to reporters in Grosse Pointe Park.
I have no clue [how she died], he told the Detroit Free Press. Someone obviously made their way into her car or attack her and did what they did to her and dropped her.
My heart is broken, and I'm very sad, he continued. It's terrible to thank what she had to go through in the last moment of her life.
The police, however, were not convinced.
On Jan. 27, Jane Bashara's husband was interrogated for four hours and was given a polygraph test.
Though police have not officially identified him as a suspect, authorities did tell ABC 7 that he was the only person of interest in the murder. Investigators have seized several computer hard drives and other materials from the Bashara home, and cadaver dogs have been seen on the premises.
[Bob Bashara] has continued to cooperate in our investigation, Police Chief Davdi Hiller told WJBK. The evidence seized at the home will be turned over to our detectives and investigators for their review.
'I'm doing everything I need to do'
Jane Bashara's husband has expressed complete willingness to aid in the investigation of his wife's murder.
It's just unthinkable that this happened to her and what she had to suffer, Bob Bashara told Fox 2, saying he understands why police are investigating him.
They said [they usually] start closest to home and then spread out, and so I'm doing what I need to do to cooperate with the authorities to find who did this to my wife.
'We don't know anything'
Bashara's family, meanwhile, has rallied to his defense.
He's an innocent man, said his sister Laura Maurer, who flew in from California last week to help her brother take care of his two children with Jane. We know he's incapable of this horrific act.
Gwenn Samuel, Bob Bashara's aunt and godmother, echoed Maurer's conviction that her nephew is innocent, and said the entire family was distressed and confused by the murder and its aftermath.
We are devastated, but we don't know anything, she said. Everything we learn, we get from the media.
For Samuel, Jane Bashara was as much a part of her family as her nephew. She told reporters that relatives and friends from both sides of the family gathered Jan. 29 at the couple's home to support them.
The entire Bashara family is grieving, she said.
'It just looks like he's hiding something'
Jane Bashara's sister, Julie Rowe, also refused to believe her brother-in-law was capable of her sister's murder.
Their statement is our statement at this time, she told the Detroit Free Press.
In an exclusive interview with Local 4, however, Jane's other sister Janey Gottsleben and her husband Mark expressed doubt that the killing has been random, and insisted that their family would continue to search for the truth.
Both were shocked to learn that Jane Bashara had been strangled.
For my niece and nephew's sake, I hope to God Bob didn't have anything to do with it, Janet Gottsleben said. But I'll tell you one thing, I want to know what happened to my sister.
Her husband Mark, meanwhile, felt Bob Bashara's behavior after Jane's disappearance was very suspicious, and said he felt his brother-in-law was still withholding information from the police.
I think the guy's not telling everything he knows, he said. If he isn't, then somehow it just looks like he's hiding something.
Investigators: Killing Was Not Random
As Jane Bashara's family searches for answers, Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park investigators are continuing to look into the Michigan mother's murder, and to follow any possible leads in the case.
According to Bob Bashara's attorney, John Brusstar, his client took a polygraph test during his initial interrogation. Though The Daily Mail reports that Bashara failed his lie detector test, police have not released any information regarding the results.
According to Local 4, investigators continue to question the timeline laid out by Bob Bashara on the night his wife Jane disappeared, and do not believe her killing was random.
They have spoken with Bashara's children in order to learn about a cell phone conversation their mother had with her daughter the night she disappeared.
They were just a great couple, neighbor Alex Jones told ABC 7. It's hard on their kids to hear something like that. There's no doubt in my mind that it was not him.
Family Asks For Support, Privacy
No arrests have been made in the murder case. Bashara's lawyer continues to ask that the public remain open-minded and respectful during the course of the investigation.
After the terrific tragedy, the family asks for prayers, support and respect of the privacy as they try to cope with this family catastrophe, he said in a statement.
Visitation for Jane Bashara is scheduled for Monday at A. H. Peters Funeral Home in Grosse Pointe Woods from 3 to 9 p.m. Her funeral is 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church.