Photo from: https://www.strangeoutdoors.com/mysterious-stories-blog/jamison-family-mystery (Picture depicting the Jamison Family)
The Jamison Family was last seen alive on October 8, 2009. The Jamison’s abandoned truck was discovered by hunters on dirt bikes in Latimer County, North-west of Red Oak, on Saturday, October 17th, 2009. According to the report, the truck must have been stolen, as it only sat on the roadside for a few hours. However, later that day, this same hunter confirmed to police that he had seen it there for several days, abandoned even though Jamison’s’ home in Eufaula was an hour away. Despite searching the area around the truck extensively, the Jamison family was nowhere to be found. After investigating the vehicle and the soft ground surrounding the truck, the police did not find any signs of a struggle, even though the vehicle had fuel and hadn’t been in an accident. A deer hunter discovered the remains of two adults and one child within 2.7 miles of the truck. Though there was no blood or broken glass, rubbish was scattered around the truck. Panola Mountain’s Smokestack Hollow was where they were. Despite the remoteness of the location, three bodies were found and severely decomposed. There were three skulls, bones, bone fragments, and some clothing scraps found along with the bodies. Eight months later, forensic tests confirmed that the remains were Bobby, Sherilynn, and Madyson Jamison. Having vanished from the truck four years ago, the Jamison’s’ cause of death could not be determined due to extensive decomposition. The skull of Bobby, however, had a small hole that was initially thought to be a bullet wound, although their cause of death was deemed impossible due to the extensive decomposition that had occurred. A cause of death could not be determined because the bodies were so badly decomposed with no soft tissue and evidence of animal predation that the police dropped this line of inquiry. I will discuss these aspects in greater detail throughout the paper. These are just a few examples.
The victim profile is an important aspect of this cold case. According to strangeoutdoors.com “Bobby Jamison, was 44, his wife Sherilynn was 40, and their daughter Madyson was 6 years old. A car accident in 2003 involving Bobby had left him with chronic pain. Sherilynn suffered from bipolar disorder and had been prescribed medication but rarely took her medication due to depression”. A case like this can be better understood by understanding Bobby and Sherilyn’s mental health. Sherilynn was known to be into witchcraft and often said that their home was haunted. “Bobby went to their pastor and asked if he knew of anywhere he could purchase special bullets to shoot a handful of spirits” according to strangeoutdoors.com. Besides the mental health circumstances of this case, their family relationships were on the rocks. Inside the truck contained an 11-page letter, written by Sherilynn. Sherilynn attacked Bobby’s hermit status and his inability to cope with his family in it. Additionally, she expressed a desire to divorce. According to Andrew Knittle from The Oklahoman, he stated: “Bobby Jamison claimed his own father threatened to kill him and his family on at least two occasions, in November 2008 and in late April 2009.” Two months after the Jamisons went missing; their father passed away from underlying health issues. “In addition to filing the petition for a protective order, Bobby Jamison was suing his parents at the time of his disappearance, claiming he was owed property for himself and two vehicles for his daughter” stated Andrew Knittle from The Oklahoman. There is also law enforcement involvement, in addition to family turmoil and mental health concerns. At the time of finding the family truck, this was a week after their disappearance, law enforcement found the family’s coats, phones, maps, GPS, and $32,000 cash. According to Skylar Aries from medium.com, she states “authorities began the search for the missing family including but not limited to search dogs, people on horseback, helicopter patrols, and more.” On the day of the disappearance (October 2009) of the Jamison Family, “Bobby and Sherilynn were considering purchasing a forty-acre plot of land in the Red Oak, OK area. The Jamison family wanted to move to the San Bois Mountains and live in metal shipping containers”, according to Skylar Aries frommedium.com Photo from https://firstname.lastname@example.org/true-crime-what-happened-to-the-jamison-family-38575be25968 (The shipping container the Jamison family was going to live in.)
After packing up their belongings, the family drove to Red Oak, OK; this is where the family truck was finally found on October 17, 2009. According to Will Payne from Dailymail.com, he stated: “The local sheriff’s department and FBI agents spent months chasing down leads and questioning potential suspects, but agonisingly for the family, everything they tried led to a dead end.” It wasn’t until 2013, that hunters stumbled across something that looked like human remains. Footwear, clothing pieces, and teeth were just some of the items that were discovered with the remains.
The remains were analyzed and identified as Bobby, Sherilynn, and Madyson. According to Aimee Lamoureux, she states “Forensic testing proved they were the skeletons of the Jamison family, but due to the state of decomposition, the cause of death could not be determined.” Photo from https://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2015/may/05/life-after-death (example of the decomposed body on leaves, with clothes still on)
This case has a number of issues that need to be addressed. It took four years for the bodies to be found after they went missing. During the family’s disappearance, heavy rains caused the remains to be found in an extremely remote area. As a result of the heavy rain, the leaves fell from the trees and stuck to the remains, burying them and preventing the search party from finding them. During the duration of the four years, the combination of moisture, insects, and clothing covering the remains increased the speed of decomposition. Bones that have been damaged by trauma, fractures, or illness will gradually deteriorate leaving no trace or resolution. According to Strangeoutdoors.com “It was deemed impossible to determine a cause of death, though one of the skulls that of Bobby, had a small hole that was initially suspected as being a bullet wound.” Given that animal scavenging is a possibility, and considering the area, one wonders if forensics in the area compared Bobby’s skull hole with other deceased cases. To see if there are other examples that could lead to the cause of death. The shape of the remains is the main reason as to why this cold case is still cold. It is possible that the search party would have been able to identify the cause of death if the remains had been found. The remains wouldn’t have been decomposed beyond belief, and there might have been evidence of who exactly murdered the Jamison family. There might have been DNA evidence on the clothing, under fingernails in case of an altercation, or on their skin. If the Jamisons were murdered, the weapon might still be in that spot, just buried deep in the ground from years of weather. There is also the possibility of the death occurring at one spot being followed by a move of the bodies to another. I believe this case is going to stay cold unless there is new evidence that possibly helps identify the killer and close this case.
Aries, Skylar. “True Crime — What Happened to the Jamison Family? – Skylar Aries – Medium.” Medium, 19 Feb. 2023, email@example.com/true-crime-what-happened-to-the-jamison-family-38575be25968.
Lamoureux, Aimee. “The Jamison Family’s Disappearance and the Story Behind It.” All That’s Interesting, July 2022, allthatsinteresting.com/jamison-family.
Oklahoman, Andrew Knittle. “Jamison Family Was Threatened by Relative Before Vanishing, Records Show.” Oklahoman, 28 Nov. 2013, www.oklahoman.com/story/news/crime/2013/11/27/jamison-family-was-threatened-by-relative-before-vanishing-records-show/60862685007.
Payne, Will, and By Will Payne in Eufaula Oklahoma. “Bobby, Sherilyn and Madyson Jamison Family Disappearance.” Mail Online, 23 July 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2700722/Witchcraft-white-supremacists-meth-labs-family-grudge-Inside-Americas-bizarre-unsolved-murder-mystery-five-years-husband-wife-daughter-six-vanished-remote-mountains.html.
StrangeOutdoors.com. “The Strange Disappearance and Deaths of the Jamison Family in the Sans Bois Mountains — StrangeOutdoors.com.” StrangeOutdoors.com, Aug. 2021, www.strangeoutdoors.com/mysterious-stories-blog/jamison-family-mystery.