Man Held in Wife’s 1974 Disappearance

From Associated Press

A man whose first wife vanished nearly 26 years ago in Ohio was arrested in her murder Tuesday and was named a suspect in his second wife’s disappearance.

Escondido police and the FBI arrested John David Smith, 49, of Oceanside at a custom vehicle company where he worked as an engineer.

Smith is expected to be extradited to Wayne County, Ohio, to face a murder charge in the death of Janice Hartman, said FBI spokeswoman Jan Caldwell.


Smith reported Hartman missing from her home in Doylestown, Ohio, a few days after their divorce in 1974. She was never seen again.

Smith became a suspect in Hartman’s death after the disappearance of his second wife, Fran Gladden of West Windsor, N.J., said Jocelyn Stefancin, a Wayne County prosecutor.

He is also the prime suspect in the disappearance of Gladden, Stefancin said. She remains missing.

Authorities only confirmed that Hartman was dead this year after examining unidentified skeletal remains found in 1980 along a rural road near Morocco, Ind., she said.

Smith was arrested without incident at La Forza Motors in Escondido, about 30 miles north of San Diego. He lived with his third wife in Oceanside, authorities said.

An extradition hearing was scheduled for today.