Bench dedicated to girl who disappeared 40 years ago Friday - WNEM TV 5

Bench dedicated to girl who disappeared 40 years ago Friday

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A ceremony is being held in Tolland Friday to dedicate a bench in remembrance of a 7-year-old girl, who disappeared 40 years ago Friday.

Tolland residents were shocked when Janice Pockett disappeared on July 26, 1973, after she went hunting for a butterfly that she left under a rock a day or two before.

"The next thing I remember is walking up the road with my mom and holding her hand," said sister Mary Engelbrecht, who is the only close family still in the area. "And her just calling my sister's name, over and over."

People with the town's 300th anniversary committee believe this granite bench with Pockett's name engraved into it is an important tribute.

"I just thought it was a nice way to remember her, to keep her spirit alive," said Sharon Hiller, chairwoman of the anniversary committee's religious subcommittee. "Keep it in the back of the minds of the community."

The ceremony is being held at 7 p.m. at Cross Farms Recreation Complex.

"We did not want this anniversary to pass without acknowledging that it was an important event in our town's history,'' Hiller said. "Janice will always be remembered by Tolland residents."

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman is also expected to deliver remarks at the event, before a bench is dedicated in Pockett's honor. The event will feature a blessing from Pastor Weston Brooks.

More than 800 people searched for Pockett for days, after she was reported missing, and the FBI became involved in the case, in 1974.

Many people were questioned about Pockett's disappearance, and a carnival worker admitted to killing her, but the case was never solved.

This spring, when human remains were found in nearby Vernon, some wondered if they might possibly belong to Pockett. However, forensic labs ruled that out.

Even after all these years, her family is still looking for answers.

"Somebody might remember something. Anything could happen," Engelbrecht said. "Just recent news events have made you wonder too, you know. You never know what's gonna happen, or what's gonna crop up."

If you think you have even a shred of information on this disappearance, please give state police a call.

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