The Unsolved Murders of the Jamison Family

Hello and welcome back to another unsolved mystery! Today, I'm going to be talking about the incredibly strange case of the Jamison family. This is a little bit different than any other case I've ever spoken about before because the bodies have actually been found...but they still haven't been able to solve it! There's a lot to it and I have 9 theories on what may have happened, So, let's get right into it...

The Jamison family consisted of 44-year old Bobby Dale, 40-year old Sherilynn Leighann and their 6-year old daughter, Madyson Stormy Star and they disappeared in October of 2009.

Bobby and Sherilynn met in 2002 and they quickly fell in love. The next year, they had their daughter, 
Madyson, and in July of 2004, they got married. They all lived together, in a lakefront home iEufaula, Oklahoma, with Sherilynn's son from a previous marriage, Colton. They were seemingly happy, but always had the dream of relocating, to live a much more minimalistic lifestyle, away from civilisation. Both, Bobby and Sherilynn did not work and were receiving disability cheques, which meant that money was tight. 

However, Bobby did receive a large sum of money from a lawsuit against his father, Bobby Snr.  Bobby suffered from chronic pain and depression, as a result of a car accident and Sherilynn suffered from mental health issues. She initially fell into a pit of depression, after her sister suddenly died from a bad reaction to a bee sting and she was also later diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but reportedly, wasn't very consistent with taking her medication. Her friends and family even said that she was like a completely different person when not taking her medication.

2009 came and turned out to be an extremely hard year for the Jamisons. Madyson was hit in the face by a swing whilst at school and as a result, knocked both of her two front teeth out. This deeply distressed Bobby and Sherilynn, and so they removed her from mainstream schooling and decided to homeschool her instead, and they also filed a lawsuit against the school. In July, Colton's dad decided to fight for full custody and won, which meant that they also lost his child maintenance money and things became even tighter. As Colton was over 12 years of age, he was able to have a say in who he'd rather live with and he said that his mother "had seemed very depressed” and that she often “acted strangely”. In September, Sherilynn attempted to take her own life and was hospitalised. Her friends and family were extremely worried about her and said that she had lost so much weight, she looked emaciated and was extremely unhappy.

Bobby and Sherilynn had also become extremely paranoid and claimed that there were 2-4 ghosts in their home, that spoke to their daughter, Madyson, and they even visited their local pastor to ask if there were any special bullets that they could buy, to fight these spirits. Bobby went on to say that he'd even bought a satanic bible and was going to attempt to perform an exorcism. Sherilynn then claimed that she was practising witchcraft and when her cats were killed, she even wrote on the container in their garden "3 cats killed to date buy people in this area… Witches don’t like there black cats killed." However, her friends and family believe that she was just joking and did things so people would think she was crazy and leave her family alone. Ultimately though, things weren't going well for the pair and it was clear that something had to change...

They saw an ad online for a 40-acre plot of land near Red Oak, Oklahoma in the secluded Sans Bois Mountains, which was only around 30 miles from where they were currently living, and they decided to purchase the land and live there in the storage container, in which, they already owned. This way, they could rent out their current lakefront home to help solve their money woes. Red Oak is a tiny town with a population of only 500, perfect for those wanting to live a minimalistic lifestyle and after the tough few years the Jamisons had endured, this is exactly what they needed. On the 7th of October, 2009, the Jamisons went and viewed the area for the first time and actually found themselves lost at one point and even stopped to ask a man for directions. They also asked him some questions about the general area and what it was like to live there. They were said to have been in very good spirits.

The next day, the 8th of October, Bobby, Sherilynn and Madyson packed up their truck, also taking with them their dog, Maizy to go and inquire about the plot of land that they wanted to buy, but strangely enough, after the meeting was over, they were never heard from ever again. When a number of days had passed, their friends and family began to worry but didn't think it was that unusual for the family to go off-grid for a while so nobody reported them as missing.

On the 16th of October, Eight days after the Jamisons were last seen, the family's locked truck was found, abandoned in Latimer County, Oklahoma, a short distance south of the town of Kinta, by some hunters. Initially, it was thought that the truck may have been stolen and abandoned, but when they saw an extremely malnourished Maizy, who had been without food or water for the whole duration and was almost starved to death, they decided to break the window to free her.

They also then started to make a note of the inventory inside of the truck and found their jackets and warm clothing, Bobby's wallet and Sherilynn's purse, their phones, IDs and GPS unit, a pill bottle, keys, an eleven-page document written by Sherilynn about how much she hated Bobby and $32,000 that was underneath the drivers seatHowever, the Jamisons were nowhere to be seen. There was no evidence of any form of struggle and it's believed that they had either left the truck willingly or by force, but as it was an area which was very easy to get lost in, police assumed maybe they just couldn't find their way back. They then decide to check the GPS on their phones, to see if they would be able to track their last movements, and it turned out to be a pretty helpful piece of evidence. The GPS coordinates lead the investigators up a nearby hill, where they found several sets of footprints, and one set of footprints matched that of a small child. 

They follow these footprints all the way up to a rock, where the Jamisons had spent 15-20 minutes before heading back to their truck and moving on, what happened to them after this, remains a mystery. The pill bottle that was found in their truck, belonged to a man that used to rent out a room in the Jamison family home. He was eventually kicked out when he started to claim that he was connected to white supremacists and would go on racist rants. Sherilynn discovered that she had Native American heritage and so the two would argue an awful lot. In the end, she even fired a .22 calibre pistol into the ground by his feet and made him leave. However, he was questioned and was quickly ruled out as being a suspect.

The next day, on the 17th of October, over 300 people including authorities, friends, family, and volunteers joined the large-scale air and ground search. They had officers on horseback, drones, cadaver dogs, helicopters and it was said that is was one of the most extensive manhunts in Oklahoma history, but still, nothing of huge note was found. At one point, the cadaver dogs took them to a nearby water tower, which was subsequently drained, but nothing was found, and as a result, they soon called off the search. However, they did go on to search the Jamison's Eufaula home and recovered their security footage, which showed them packing up their car before they left. 

This information alerted the investigators that there were a couple of items missing from the truck, a large brown briefcase and also, a .22 calibre pistol that was registered under Sherilynn's name, these items were never recovered. They then checked their phones and their phone records. Firstly, they discovered an image of Madyson on Bobby's phone, which appears to have been taken when they stopped their car and and and visited the nearby hill. This photograph caused a lot of controversy because it seems like Madyson could be in some sort of distress. She's sort of smiling and posing, but a lot of people believe that she may have been forced to smile and take that picture when she didn't want to, or maybe it was taken by someone she didn't know and she felt uncomfortable. The police suspected foul play, and although they did have multiple leads, they never really led anywhere. Sheriff Beauchamp said: “A lot of investigators would love to have as many leads as we do. The problem is that they point in so many different directions." And as a result, this case went cold in the media for a little while...

And then on November the 16th, 2013, some deer hunters stumbled across the partial remains of three bodies in the Smokestack Hollow area of Panola Mountain, 2.7 miles away from where the Jamison family's truck was found abandoned, only four years earlier. The bodies were all lying side by side, face down, and also found with them, were some shoes and pieces of clothing. The remains were medically examined through anthropological and forensic pathological testing and on the 3rd of July, 2014, officials confirmed that these remains were in-fact, those of the missing Jamison family and it was stated that it's thought that deaths occurred under suspicious circumstances. 

However, a cause of death could not be identified, which could possibly be due to the fact that some of the remains were missing or that the bodies were too severely decomposed. There was a hole at the back of Bobby's skull, but it couldn't be confirmed that this was due to a bullet or just a hole from decomposition, however, the hunters that initially found the bodies were completely convinced, it was a bullet hole. It was also stated that there is evidence of animal damage to the bodies, sometime after death and the reason why the bodies had gone undetected for so long was that they were partially covered by fallen leaves.

In the Disappeared episode of this case, named Paradise Lost, it was said that if they found the bodies, they'd be able to finally solve it, but this wasn't what happened, and for now, they still don't know what fate met this family. Sheriff Beauchamp said: “Normally, you can go through an investigation, and one by one, start to eliminate certain scenarios, we haven’t been able to do that in this case. With this family, everything seems possible.

And that's all the information I've found on this case. This is an extremely strange one. It's the first one I've ever researched, where the bodies have actually been found, but even so, they still don't have a clue as to what may have happened to them and I don't even have a particular theory I strongly believe. When the Sheriff said anything is possible with this case, he wasn't kidding...

Now it's that time of the post to discuss some theories. Please remember that all theories featured on this blog are all pure speculation, not fact, and are not meant to harm any person or business.

They were killed by a cult?
Let's start with one of the most extra theories out there, that they were murdered by a religious cult. This theory actually came from Sherilynn's mother, Connie and she said that a cult from southeastern Oklahoma had a "hit list" and her daughter was on it. Sherilynn's best friend, Niki went on to say that after the disappearance of the family, she received a phone call from an anonymous woman, who said that she had once been in a white supremacy group and they had kept a book, which contained a list of people who had been problematic for their agenda. She went on to say that sometimes, she would try and remember some of the names and go home and Google them and it had led her to discover multiple missing person cases, one of which was the Jamisons. Niki also said: I went up to those mountains about a year later and near where the bodies were found, there was a line of cars parked with Texas licence plates. When we got near the actual spot there were a couple of gunshots. They sounded like warning shots to me. I don’t scare easily, but that place really freaks me out. There is something not right about it.” 

It was a murder-suicide?
We know that Sherilynn had been going through a really hard time with her mental health and we also know that she would just randomly stop taking her medication, which then resulted in her having extreme mood swings and often lashing out in anger. Her mother, Connie even said: "She became very illogical. One day she drove me to Oklahoma City and dropped me off on the street. She told me to, ‘Get ... out of my car.’ So I did." There was also that eleven-page letter about Bobby and how much she despised him, and there was another letter found in their home that spoke about death and the Sherrif working on the case even said that they were a family obsessed with death. When Sherilynn left for their road trip, she took her gun with her and after their disappearance, the gun could be no longer found. Some people believe that Sherilynn lured her family away and shot Bobby, Madyson and then herself. This could be plausible, but I'm really not sure I believe this one and their family have all heavily disputed that this could be true. I really don't believe that if Sherilynn was planning on killing her entire family that she'd take the dog Maizy with her and I also think if this was true that the gun would have been found beside them, but it wasn't. However, police did take their theory as a serious line of enquiry.

It was a drug deal gone wrong?
The behaviour displayed by both, Bobby and Sherilynn before their disappearance was definitely strange and could point to the possibility that they were using drugs. There has been a lot of speculation that the couple were addicted to Meth and their family and friends had raised their concerns, after the both of them became so slim, they looked emaciated, which again, could point to drug use. This is plausible due to the fact that Bobby suffered severely with chronic pain and it wouldn't be too out there to think that he'd do something drastic to relieve this pain, and maybe Sherilynn took drugs to help with her mental health issues, who knows? Police suspected drugs may have been used due to how the pair was acting in their surveillance footage, whilst they were packing up their car, they'd just stop and stare for a while, in a trace-like-state, it was a little weird. It would also explain why they became so paranoid and were having hallucinations and thinking ghosts were in their home. 

It was also common knowledge that the couple were having finical problems due to them both not working and a lot of people were left confused when it was stated that there had been $32,000 found in their car, and some people believe that maybe they had taken up selling drugs to earn some tax-free cash and it went awry. However, this is a theory I really don't believe. Firstly, I really don't believe they would have taken their 6-year old daughter and her dog to a drugs deal(!!!!!!) and secondly, the money found in the car, more than likely came from the lawsuit Bobby went through with his father. Also, I think that if someone had murdered the family after a drugs deal, they would have taken the money and ran, not left it behind for the police to find and it's also worth noting that police never found any drug paraphernalia or any other evidence that the couple ever took or sold any drugs, but they stated that they couldn't rule out that drugs were somehow involved in their disappearance. 

They were murdered by Bobby's father?
Bobby had an extremely strained relationship with his father, Bobby Snr. Apparently, Bobby Jnr used to work for free at his dad's gas station and the deal was that when he eventually sold the business, that he'd get a 50% cut from it, but when the time came, he wanted to back out and not give his son a penny and soon resulted in a lawsuit and a whole load of arguments. It got so bad that Bobby Snr even attempted to run his son over and also threatened to murder his family on two occasions. They went back to court, this time the Jamison family were trying to gain a protective order against Bobby Snr. Bobby Jnr said in court that his father was involved in prostitution, crystal meth and the Mexican mafia and he went on to say “My entire family is scared for their lives. I am in fear at all times.” 

The protective order was issued but was later dismissed at another hearing. Bobby Snr then decided to write his son completely out of his will and give his entire estate to Madyson. Some people believe that either Bobby Snr went and killed the family, once and for all or he got his mafia buddies to do the job instead. However, at the time the family disappeared Bobby Snr was living in a care home and died a few months later so I think this theory is pretty much impossible. I guess, he could have got someone to kill them, but I just don't buy into this theory. In your final days of life, it's rare that you'd feel so revengeful.

They simply got lost and succumbed to exposure?
When the family initially went missing, police believed they had just simply walked away from their car for a little while and somehow got lost and were unable to find their way back, and sadly, succumbed to the elements and got something like hyperthermia. This could be plausible, but this wouldn't explain why all bodies were found lying face down, side by side. I think this definitely points to foul play and this theory also wouldn't explain what happened to the briefcase and the gun. I also think if they had just gone for a family walk, they'd have taken their dog, Maizy with them, or at least taken their phones or jackets. Other people believe that maybe Madyson ran off and so Bobby and Sherilynn chased after her and then they all got lost and died from the elements. I don't really find this one plausible at all because she was literally 6 years old, she couldn't have got THAT far and their bodies were found 2.7 miles away.

They witnessed a crime and were silenced?
I think this theory originally came from the police force themselves and they kind of thought that maybe the family stumbled upon something or something they shouldn't have and as a result, paid the price and were silenced. Sherilynn's mother, Connie also backed up the theory by saying: "Like I've said from the very beginning, I think somebody killed them. There's just no way that Bobby and Sherilynn would ever let anything happen to Madyson unless something had been done to them first." 

Something paranormal occurred?
This theory is definitely a little more out there, but I'd thought I'd add it anyway! The Jamisons were a family that definitely seemed to be drawn to all things spiritual and paranormal. We know that Sherilynn claimed to have been practising witchcraft and even wrote messages to her neighbours warning them that witches don't like their black cats killed, she was also known to leave little notes around the house saying "get out Satan". The family thought that their lakefront home was haunted and had even visited their local pastor telling him of the spirits that walked the halls in their home and Bobby even asked if he would be able to buy "special bullets" to combat these spirits, and then later bought a satanic bible, with the intent of performing of exorcism and when searching the house, police also recovered a witches bible...

However, close friend, Niki, said that Sherilynn had just bought that as a joke, but she also went on to say: "That house was haunted. I don't want to sound crazy, but whenever I went there I felt a horrible presence, I would leave feeling so down and depressed, it's hard to describe. Once I was in the living room and this sort of grey mist descended the stairs. It really scared me. Sherilynn told me on a couple of occasions, Bobby - who was such a gentle man, would suddenly come at her and his eyes would be completely dead and black, like he was possessed." All of this combined with that CCTV footage, which police say showed the couple packing their car in an almost trace-like-state definitely gives me Paranormal Activity (2007) vibes. One of the weirdest things about this theory is that shortly after the family disappeared, it's said that the pastor left town and was not happy to talk about the case...This sounds like an actual horror film. 

A hitman was following them?

So, let's say that the Jamison family were aware someone was after them. They decide their only option is to flee town and try and start a new life somewhere. Maybe even in Red Oak, the population is so tiny, they'd probably be able to start anew, who knows? They pack up their truck, knowing what might be ahead of them and of course, they are freaked out, it put them in a trace-like-state, they were almost in fight or flight mode. They take as much as they could with them, even their dog, and they also take the $32,000 dollars to allow them to skip town and their gun, for protection purposes, but the people that were following them, were smarter than they originally thought and quickly found them. They made the family leave the car at gunpoint. They didn't want to create any suspicion and leave scuffle marks on the ground. They could have even taken that weird photo of Madyson and that's why she looked so uncomfortable. Later, they take the three of them to the woodland and shot them all. This theory is probably one of the more plausible ones and would explain a lot. However, it's really horrific to think about. Something that does make me believe this theory though is the fact that Sherilynn's son, Colton, had seen his mother just weeks before she disappeared and she hadn't even mentioned the prospect of them seems all a very spontaneous thing. 

They succumbed to the line of tragedy?
Another theory that sort of connects to the more paranormal/spiritual side of things is the phenomenon known as the "35-degree latitude" or it's also known as "The Line of Tragedy" and along this line of 35-degree latitude, a string of brutal murders have taken place. Such as, the 2001 case of Andrea Pia Kennedy Yates, a woman from Houston, who was suffering from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis and ended up drowning all five of her children in the bathtub. Also down this line was the brutal murder of Pastor Carol Daniels who was found in 2009, behind the church alter, naked, propped up in a crucifix position. This is also where Timothy McVeigh carried out the 1995 bombing on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, where 168 people died and around 700 people were injured.

 The most disturbing incident that occurred on this line was the 2013 disappearance of Tommy Raymond Eastep. He went missing after a family event in Eufaula (which, if you remember is where the Jamisons lived!!!) Later, police found his abandoned truck and then four years later, his remains were found. Now, let's quickly re-cap the Jamison case. They went missing. Their truck was found, and then four years later their remains were found. Where did they go missing? The 35th-degree latitude. Of course, this could be a complete coincidence. I think a lot of the things we're scared of in life, is just a simple matter of us building it up so much in our minds and thinking ARGHHHH, but could this seriously be just a coincidence? The two cases match up SO well...

Woah, this is such an interesting case and it's probably one of the most complex ones that I've ever researched. Usually, the theories of missing person cases are pretty straight-forward and the same old ones, but these people are so unusual and interesting that literally, anything could be possible! I definitely think that the Jamisons were met with foul play at some stage, I think everything points to murder, it's just a case of connecting someone to the crime. I also don't believe it was just a random thing either, it seems very calculated and like someone knew where they were going and the police also think it was a premeditated crime, but for now, they just have no suspects, which is super frustrating.

It's so weird to me how eerily similar the Tommy Eastep case is to this. I'm honestly a little bit creeped out. It's the SAME pattern. Someone goes missing, their truck is found and then FOUR YEARS LATER, they find the remains, which are so decomposed, that they cannot find a cause of death. I don't know, something is so off about that. There has to be a connection!!! I get the feeling that there are so many things being kept private about this case and I really do hope it gets solved one day, but for now, it remains a cold case. Sheriff Israel Beauchamp decided to quit the force in 2011 and moved overseas. It was said that he couldn't stand the guilt of not being able to catch the killer. He was in the Disappeared documentary of this case and he seemed completely broken, which makes me so sad. I think if the truth ever came out about this case, it would give so many people peace. If you think you have any information on this case, please contact Latimer County Sheriff’s Office on 918-465-2021 or 918-465-4012.

As always, thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts on this case, feel free to leave me a comment below and if you have any suggestions of cases to cover in the future, you can send me an anonymous suggestion here, or leave a comment! If you'd like to learn more about this case, here are some links! 

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