“Jade Janks and the Secret Photos”: 48 Hours Reports on Tom Merriman Homicide June 22 2024

On June 22, 2024, CBS airs an encore presentation of a chilling “48 HOURS” episode titled “Jade Janks and the Secret Photos.” This episode delves into the complex case surrounding the death of Tom Merriman, a prominent figure in the Solana Beach community, and his stepdaughter, Jade Janks. The episode promises viewers a deep dive into a mix of family dynamics, secrets, and a subsequent criminal investigation, featuring exclusive interviews and new evidence that have kept audiences intrigued.

Tracy Smith, the correspondent for “48 Hours,” navigates through the intricate details of the investigation. The episode brings to light the complex relationship between Merriman and Janks, exploring how a discovery on a computer spiraled into a series of events leading to a crime that shocked their community.

Background of the Case

On New Year’s Day 2021, authorities were alerted to a potential crime involving Jade Janks and her stepfather, Tom Merriman. Initial suspicions arose from a phone call made to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, suggesting Janks’s involvement in Merriman’s disappearance and possible death. This section of the episode sketches the beginning of what would become a highly scrutinized investigation.

Merriman, known in the community for his work with a nonprofit, had a seemingly close relationship with Janks, who described him affectionately as her father figure despite their step-relative status. However, the discovery of compromising photos on Merriman’s computer by Janks would change the dynamics of their relationship forever.

The Discovery and Immediate Aftermath

Days before Merriman’s reported disappearance, Janks uncovered numerous explicit photos of herself on Merriman’s computer. These images, she claimed, were taken consensually with former partners and never meant for Merriman’s eyes. This discovery, described by Janks as violating and horrifying, led her to seek help from Alan Roach, a man she connected with through Facebook who promised to “fix” her problems.

The narrative then shifts to the fateful day when Merriman’s body was discovered. After a distressing call led detectives to Merriman’s residence, they found his body concealed under debris in his driveway, sparking immediate action from law enforcement and culminating in Janks’s arrest.

The Trial and Its Revelations

The trial of Jade Janks began nearly two years after the discovery of Merriman’s body. Prosecutors presented a narrative of premeditated murder, pointing to text messages between Janks and Roach as evidence of her intent. These messages, particularly one where Janks mentioned dosing Merriman heavily, played a pivotal role in shaping the prosecution’s case.

Conversely, the defense portrayed Janks as a distraught stepdaughter who acted out of panic and not malice. They argued that Merriman’s death was the result of his own deteriorating health and misuse of prescription drugs, suggesting that Janks’s actions post-mortem were driven by fear of wrongful blame.

Verdict and Aftermath

In a dramatic conclusion to the trial, Janks was found guilty of first-degree murder. The jury, unpersuaded by her defense, decided her actions were deliberate and calculated. This section of the episode examines the emotional and legal ramifications of the verdict, including the impact on the family and the community.

During her sentencing, Janks made a poignant statement about the alleged years of manipulation and inappropriate behavior by Merriman, which she claimed culminated in the tragic events. Despite her emotional plea, she received a sentence of 25 years to life, leaving a community and a family still grappling with the complexities of trust, betrayal, and justice.


As “48 HOURS” wraps up “Jade Janks and the Secret Photos,” viewers are left to ponder the deep-seated issues that led to such a tragic outcome. The episode not only highlights the investigative efforts but also poses broader questions about privacy, consent, and the hidden dynamics within familial relationships. This story remains a poignant reminder of how quickly lives can be altered forever by secrets coming to light.

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Ryan Gill

Ryan is a passionate follower of true crime television programs, reporting on and providing in-depth investigations on mysteries in the criminal world.

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