Their Daughter Went for Drinks With Her Friends Then Her Body Froze in the Snow on a Christmas Morning

The tragic case of Joanna Yeates

image by HelloDavidPradoPerucha

It was a beautiful, snowy Christmas morning. And a couple decided to take a walk with their dog in Failand, Bristol. Then they saw what looked like denim jeans buried in the snow.

The couple had a bad feeling about it. And they called the police.

The police would soon confirm that what the couple found was Joanna Yeates’ body.

“The investigation into the death of twenty-four-year-old Joanna Yeates is now a murder investigation.

The post-moterm examination has taken longer than usual because of the frozen condition of her body. The cause of her death was compression of the neck.

In other words, strangulation… We believe that Joanna’s body has been on the roadside verge for several days before being discovered on Christmas morning.” — Detective Chief Inspector Phil Jones.

Joanna Was a Woman in Her Twenties

Joanna Yeates was a twenty-four-year-old woman born to Teresa and David Yeates.

Joanna grew up in Hampshire, England.

Her parents tried to give her the best life that they could. She attended private school. She went on to study landscape architecture at university.

Joanna got a job within her field soon after she graduated.

That’s where Joanna met Greg Reardon.

The two had a lot in common.

They started spending time together outside of work. And eventually, Joanna and Greg started officially dating.

Joanna and Greg Relocated To Bristol

Joanna and Greg decided to move to Bristol. The firm that they worked for had relocated there.

The couple moved in together in a flat.

And they were so excited about the new step in their relationship.

Everything was going well for Joanna and Greg. And Joanna soon got a better job offer than she had from a different architectural firm.

Greg Traveled to See His Family During the Festive Season

On December 17th, 2010, Greg traveled to Sheffield to visit his family.

Joanna felt lonely afterward.

She was anxious about spending the weekend without Greg. So, after work, she decided to hang out with her coworkers.

Joanna went out for drinks at a pub with her friends that night. She stayed at the pub for a few hours. Then, before she went home;

She bought two bottles of cider at a corner shop. She got pizza from Tesco on her way home.

She got to her flat, parked her car, and she got inside her apartment. That was the last time Joanna was seen alive.

Greg Tried to Contact His Girlfriend

Greg tried to reach Joanna via text when he reached Sheffield. But Joanna didn’t reply.

So Greg assumed that maybe Joanna was busy. Or maybe her phone was out of battery power.

When Greg woke up the next morning, he checked his phone to see if Joanna had finally replied to his text. But she hadn’t. That’s when he started getting worried.

He kept trying to reach Joanna throughout the whole weekend. But she wasn’t responding to his texts, calls, and voicemails.

Greg Came Back Home After His Weekend Away

Greg returned to Bristol after a weekend with his family. He noticed that his flat door was unlocked.

So Greg walked inside the house. But Joanna wasn’t home.

Greg panicked.

He immediately grabbed his phone and tried calling Joanna. Then he heard Joanna’s phone ringing in the flat.

Greg followed the sound.

He found Joanna’s phone in her coat pocket. Her keys and purse were also in the coat.

Greg then called his girlfriend’s parents. And he asked them if they had heard from her. But they told him no.

Greg Reported His Girlfriend As Missing

Graduation photograph of Joanna Yeates — Wikipedia

Greg immediately called the police to report Joanna as missing. Her parents also rushed to Bristol to find their daughter. Then they found the pizza receipt from Tesco. But they couldn’t find the pizza box anywhere.

The bottles of cider that Joanna had gotten were still in the house. But one of them was partially consumed.

The police soon arrived at Greg and Joanna’s residence. They believed that Joanna had made it home safely.

All her belongings were inside the house.

There was also no sign of struggle or forced entry around the house. So, probably, Joanna had been abducted. And whoever abducted Joanna was someone that she knew very well. Someone she trusted enough to let them inside.

Thus, a search for Joanna commenced.

Joanna’s family reached out to the public for anyone with information to come forward.

The media also covered Joanna’s story. Meanwhile, the police rigorously searched for her.

A Couple Found Something Buried in the Snow on Christmas

A couple noticed blue denim sticking out from the snow on Christmas morning that year.

The couple knew that a woman had gone missing in the area. So they immediately called 911.

The police came down to the spot. Then, they found a female body buried in the snow. The police confirmed that the body belonged to Joanna.

Joanna was found three miles away from her flat.

She had suffered 43 injuries, including wounds to her face, throat, and arms.

There was no sign of sexual assault.

She had died from strangulation. Her body was almost perfectly preserved because it was snowing outside.

The Police’s First Suspect Was Joanna’s Boyfriend

The investigators initially suspected that Greg had something to do with Joanna’s murder. But Greg had a rock-solid alibi.

Plus, he was nowhere near Bristol when Joanna went missing. So, the police shifted their attention.

They interviewed Joanna’s neighbors. These included Vincent Tabak and his girlfriend, Tanja Morson.

During the interviews, Vincent acted suspiciously quiet.

The only person who was answering their questions was Tanja.

Tanja told the police that she was at a work party out of town on the night Joanna went missing. And that Vincent picked her up later that night. That meant Vincent was home alone for a while.

But Vincent told the police that he had never met Joanna before. And he had an alibi.

He had gone to the supermarket that night around the time Joanna was supposedly murdered.

And he didn’t see or hear anything weird that night.

The Police Interviewed Joanna’s Landlord

The police then questioned Joanna’s landlord, Christopher Jefferies.

The police believed that Joanna was killed in her apartment. Then, her body was taken out afterward.

Christopher was the only person with spare keys to Joanna’s apartment.

And Christopher’s tenants told the police that they felt he was creepy. He always made people feel uncomfortable.

Christopher didn’t have an alibi.

He told the police that he was alone in his flat reading books the night Joanna was murdered.

And he knew that Joanna was alone that night. Greg had told him that he was going away for the weekend.

The Media Tarnished Christopher’s Name

The media immediately painted Christopher as guilty.

Christopher was arrested on suspicion of Joanna’s murder.

And one of his tenants, Vincent, immediately contacted the police after his arrest. He told the police that he recalled seeing Christopher’s car turned around like it had been out the night Joanna was murdered.

So the police seized Christopher’s car. And they tested it for Joanna’s DNA.

But the police found nothing.

And they had to let Christopher out a few days later.

The Police Thought That Vincent Acted Suspiciously

The police felt they hit a dead end. Then they remembered Vincent was suspicious.

Vincent only tipped the police that he had seen Christopher’s car change directions once he knew Christopher was arrested.

So they brought Vincent for questioning again.

The police took Vincent’s DNA sample. The sample was sent and tested against everything they found at the crime scene.

The DNA results soon came back.

Vincent’s DNA was found on several pieces of evidence from the crime scene.

His DNA was also found on Joanna’s chest and on her clothes.

The police also found Joanna’s blood in the boot of Vincent’s car.

So Vincent was arrested.

The Police Came up With a Theory of What Happened To Joanna

The police drafted a timeline of events of what they believe happened to Joanna.


Joanna returned home safely. She got inside her flat and put her food down.

Then Vincent walked right in before Joanna had the chance to lock her door. Vincent then pinned Joanna down by her wrist. Then he strangled her slowly.

After that, Vincent carried Joanna’s body to his car. He put her in the boot and drove to a supermarket with Joanna still in his car.

He parked his car and made sure he was caught on CCTV as he entered and exited the supermarket. That was the alibi he would later use.

Vincent also bought a couple of items to make sure he had a receipt.

He drove away from the parking lot and dumped Joanna’s body. Then he picked up his girlfriend Tanja from her party and acted like everything was normal.

The Aftermath

Vincent was charged with the murder of Joanna.

However, he claimed that he was innocent. And that the DNA the police found was all set up.

Vincent, however, confessed to killing Joanna to a prison chaplain three weeks after he was arrested.

He later pled guilty to manslaughter.

The jury rejected Vincent’s plea of guilty to manslaughter. He was found guilty of murder instead. And he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 20 years.

Vincent’s motive for killing Joanna remains a mystery to this day.

Joanna’s family was devastated by her death. But they were also relieved that they found her body.

Joanna’s father stated;

“Last week was the worst of our lives.

And we are hoping that we will never have to go through anything like this again. Things were a little bit less terrible when we saw Joanna’s body yesterday.

It was a relief to see her again — we just said: ‘Welcome back.’”

Sources: Wikipedia, theguardian,, JOANNA YEATES CASE