Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The True Story of Thomas Jabin Berry

A Week in the Sun Comes To an Abrupt End

Robert and Janet Siclari were more than brother and sisterthey were best friends. Less than two years apart, they were literally inseparable, doing everything together. A trip to the Outer Banks for a week of fun and sun was for Janet and Robert, like countless others, a family tradition.

The beach at Nag's Head
The beach at Nag's Head

On August 20, 1993, the Siclaris and three female friends arrived in Southern Shores, North Carolina for a week-long vacation. When the week came to an end and their rental agreement on their vacation cottage expired, one friend opted to return home, while the others decided to spend one more night at the beach.

Unable to rent the cottage for another day, the group decided to finish their stay at the Carolinian Hotel, whose oceanfront bar had been the site of several pleasurable evenings during their vacation. On Friday afternoon, they rented two of the Carolinian's rooms: one, the more expensive of the two, for Robert and Janet, and the other for their two companions.

The four spent the afternoon relaxing, swimming and enjoying their time on the beach. When evening came, they had dinner at the hotel, and then went to the Carolinian's Comedy Club.

When the show was over, Robert, exhausted, opted to go back to his room, while

Janet and her friends decided to continue the evening at a local watering hole called the Port-O-Call Restaurant & Gaslight Saloon. There they had drinks and chatted with a few friends they had met on the beach. While at the Port-O-Call, Read Powell, the bartender from the Carolinian's Tiki bar, noticed the three and stopped by to chat with Janet.

Earlier, the three women had stopped at the Carolinian's bar and spoken with a couple of men about where to go to listen to music. One of the men kissed Janet on the cheek and told her that he had been trying to speak with her since he had first laid eyes on her, earlier in the week. At about midnight, Janet's friends called it a night and decided to head back to the hotel. Janet chose to stay behind to listen to the band. The friends left her the keys to the rental car and walked back to the hotel. An employee would later remember seeing Janet dancing with another of the patrons.

When last call came at 2:00 a.m., Janet left the bar with Read Powell. His date had left him at the bar and gone with the man with whom Janet had been dancing, much to Powell's chagrin. Janet felt bad for Powell, so she offered to give him a ride home. Powell accepted, and together they got into her rental car and drove off down the beach.

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