The Jamison Family Disappearance and Deaths: All Clues Lead to Nowhere

The Jamison Family Disappearance and Deaths: All Clues Lead to Nowhere

Image for postMadyson, Sherilynn, and Bobby Jamison ? Source: All That?s Interesting

The 2009 disappearance of the Jamison family ? Bobby, Sherilynn, and 6-year-old Madyson ? captured the media?s attention and the public?s interest because of the bizarre backstory associated with it. Here was a family caught on camera acting like zombies, who believed they were being haunted by a ghost or tormented by a demonic spirit when they suddenly fell off the radar.

In 2013, their bodies were found and while it was impossible to determine each individual?s cause of death, they are believed to have been murdered, but who killed them and why remains a mystery. The chilling backstory may or may not have had anything to do with what happened to the Jamison family, but it?s incredibly fascinating, nonetheless.

October 8, 2009

Bobby Jamison (44), Sherilynn Jamison (40), and Madyson Jamison (6) lived in the town of Eufaula, Oklahoma, some 30 miles from where their bodies were found in an area of the Sans Bois mountain range called Red Oak. The family traveled there because Bobby and Sherilynn were contemplating purchasing a 40-acre plot of land. The plan was to live in a storage shed [1] that the family already owned.

Image for postThe Jamison home in Eufaula, Oklahoma ? Source: Daily Mail

This might have been a spur-of-the-moment decision, as Sherilynn?s son from a previous relationship, Colton, saw his mother two weeks prior to the family?s disappearance, and he said Sherilynn made no mention [2]of the family?s plan to relocate.

On October 8, 2009, the Jamison family loaded their pickup truck, headed into the mountains, and were never seen alive again.

When the Jamisons weren?t heard from for several days, a search for the family began in earnest. After eight days of hunting their whereabouts, the police located the family?s truck, and that?s when things started to get weird.

The truck turned up in Latimer County, about an hour drive from the Jamisons? home. Based on the contents of the truck, it didn?t appear that the Jamisons planned on being away for a long period. Bobby and Sherilynn?s cellphones, wallets, Sherilynn?s purse, and the family?s malnourished dog were all located inside the truck [1], along with a GPS, maps, and $32,000 [3] in cash. The truck was in good condition and there were no signs that an accident had occurred.

Image for postThe spot where the Jamisons? truck was found ? Source: Daily Mail

Family and friends were stunned by the large amount of cash found in the truck, as both Bobby and Sherilynn were on disability at the time of their disappearance. Where the money came from is a mystery, and some suggest the cash was the result of the couple?s involvement in drug-dealing. [1] However, those who knew Bobby and Sherilynn struggled to accept that the couple would have brought their young daughter with them to conduct a drug deal.

I can tell you, as someone who has experienced what drugs can do to a family, that if the Jamisons had a serious enough drug problem or were high enough on the drug-dealing food chain, they absolutely could have dragged their poor little girl along to buy or sell drugs.

Although the police located the Jamisons? truck, their starving dog, and other belongings, it would not be until November 16, 2013, that the Jamisons themselves were found. [1]

Image for postMadyson with Maisy, the family dog ? Source: Daily Mail

On that day, just three miles from where the truck was located, hunters discovered the skeletal remains of two adults and one child. Forensic testing confirmed that the remains belonged to Bobby, Sherilynn, and Madyson Jamison.

Now?About That Crazy Backstory

Bobby and Sherilynn Jamison were eager to get away from the turmoil in their lives and start over in the mountains. [4]

Things were not easy inside the Jamison home. A car accident in 2003 had left Bobby with chronic back pain, which affected his mood for obvious reasons. Sherilynn suffered from bipolar disorder and had been prescribed medication, but she sometimes chose not to take it. As someone with bipolar disorder, I can tell you how dangerous it is to neglect your medication regimen, but I can also tell you how crappy some of the medications prescribed to treat the disorder can make you feel.

Image for postThe Jamisons with Sherilynn?s son, Colton, from a previous relationship ? Source: Daily Mail

Because Sherilynn?s disorder was poorly controlled, she often experienced bouts of severe depression and would often angrily lash out at the people in her life, including her husband. It?s no surprise, then, that the Jamisons? marriage was under a great deal of stress.

For the most part, the couple kept to themselves, and within the confines of their home, they were deeply spiritual individuals. However, this wasn?t always a positive thing in their lives. Bobby and Sherilynn believed their home was being invaded by dark spirits, so they confided in a local pastor about their concerns.

Little Madyson had started talking to an imaginary friend named Emily, and although it is considered completely normal for children to have imaginary friends, Sherilynn believed Emily was actually a malevolent entity.

Bobby, too, had developed a paranoia about the family being haunted by evil. At one point, he asked the pastor if he knew of anywhere he could purchase ?special bullets? to shoot a handful of spirits whom he said were living on the roof of the family?s home. Bobby was also planning on trying to exorcise the spirits in the home with the help of a copy of The Satanic Bible that he had purchased.

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If you take the disappearance of the Jamisons at face-value, it seems pretty simple. A family traveled to a mountainous area, where they were murdered by a crazy ?mountain person,? right? Well?maybe. But, maybe not.

With nothing but three skeletons to go on, the police were forced to dig deep into the family?s background, and what they found raised more questions than answers.

The Video

The police found surveillance video footage from outside the Jamison?s Eufaula home. In it, Bobby and Sherilynn are seen walking back and forth from their house to their truck, loading items in a zombie-like trance. Neither person appears to speak. On the Investigation Discovery series, ?Disappeared,? a policeman interviewed for the show stated that the couple made about 20 trips back and forth, and they sometimes weren?t carrying anything at all. At times, they stopped and stood in place with a vacant stare on their faces.

Perhaps the family was simply hyper-focused, but think about it? How likely is it that two people made 20 trips from their house to their truck without uttering a word to each other? If they were in a big hurry or thought they were perhaps being spied on, then the question is, ?Why??

The odd behavior witnessed in the surveillance video suggests the couple may have been on drugs.

But the surveillance video was disturbing for other reasons, as well. In it, graffiti can be seen sprayed on the side of the storage container. Sherilynn had told neighbors she believed she was a witch, and that these were important, self-protective messages she had been spraying on the container.

Image for postImage for postImage for postMessages written by Sherilynn Jamison on the family?s storage container ? Source: Websleuths

A friend of Sherilynn?s told the police that she sometimes conducted seances with Sherilynn, though Sherilynn took them much more seriously than she did.

Sherilynn had written odd messages on the storage container about her black cats being poisoned, as she believed that someone from the neighborhood had killed her cats, and ?witches did not like it when their cats were killed.?

As you can imagine, Sherilynn?s neighbors found the behavior extremely off-putting and they avoided the Jamison family like the plague. Of course, that?s exactly what the Jamison?s wanted.

Both friends and family agreed with the Jamisons that their home was haunted, and a few have shared that they, too, experienced odd things inside the house. But with severe depression and paranoia looming large over the family, it?s not hard to imagine that the house had a ?heavy? feel to it.

Here is part of the surveillance video:

Theories

If you haven?t already, brew a pot of coffee and find a comfy place to sit because there are a multitude of theories about what happened to the Jamisons.

The Jamisons Were Members of a Satanic Cult

Sherilynn?s mother, Connie Kokotan, claims her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter was on an Oklahoma cult ?hit list.? [5]

She stated:

?That part of Oklahoma is known for that?cults and stuff like that?from what I?ve been told and from what I?ve read. I was told (around the time of Sherilynn?s disappearance)?that she was on a cult?s hit list.? [6]

Ms. Kokotan didn?t provide the name of the alleged cult, nor have police found any links to one.

Image for postSherilynn?s mother, Connie Kokotan, holds up a family photo ? Source: The Oklahoman

She went on to say that there is no way Bobby and Sherilynn would have put their daughter in danger, but I?m not so sure. More on that later?

Spiritual Warfare

I am a Christian, so I do believe in spiritual warfare. I absolutely believe in a spirit world, and that spirit world is made up of both good and evil spirits. If you don?t believe in any of these things, just skip this section. I?m not trying to be preachy, I?m just trying to give the theory a fair shake using the religious beliefs I?m most familiar with.

I think when people hear the term ?spiritual warfare,? they envision a ghost or Satan himself striking someone down ? as if the devil literally killed the Jamisons up on that mountain. A guy dressed all in red, with horns and a pitchfork knocking them over and sucking the life force out of them. I guess if you?re going to believe in spirituality at all, you can?t really rule it out.

I understand that as a Christian, it?s no weirder than believing God?s Son rose from the dead after three days.

In my experience, however, spiritual warfare is more subtle. It?s fought through things like mental illness and drugs, both of which are vital aspects of this case. For some people, drinking brings out their ?demons.? Part of the solution to this problem is to quit drinking. I have bipolar disorder and I am intimately familiar with deep depression. If you believe in a literal Satan, then it?s not a stretch to believe that Satan uses mental illness to further oppress people.

Part of the solution to the deep depression that Sherilynn experienced was in a bottle of medication that she sometimes opted to ignore. I?m not blaming her for anything. I?m just saying, if you believe the devil or dark spirits can trap someone, then you must also believe that God ? or light, or whatever you personally call it ? provides a way out.

And I say ?part of the solution,? because many people are genetically predisposed to mental illness and never show signs, but then some tragedy or stressful event triggers it. In the case of substance abuse, people have typically turned to drugs to numb themselves from a painful reality. So, taking medication and getting clean are only two aspects of the solution. You also have to get to the root of the problem and fix whatever that is.

Image for postSource: Healthcentral

Unfortunately, when you have a mental illness, it?s not always possible to pull yourself together and do what needs to be done. A lot of people don?t understand that, so it needed to be said.

If it were always possible, people would not allow themselves to languish in agony.

A Meth Deal Gone Wrong

Image for postThe side effects of methamphetamine use ? Source: Northpoint Washington

The area of Oklahoma where the Jamison family lived, as well as the area they were hoping to move to, is well-known for its drug activity, namely methamphetamine. There is quite a bit to support the notion that the Jamisons? death was the result of a botched drug deal.

In the surveillance video where Bobby and Sherilynn were seen packing their truck in a trance-like state, the two also appeared to be emaciated. Now, not everyone who does meth loses a lot of weight, but many do. I have some experience in this area, as I?ve dealt with meth addicts in my life. Some meth users end up looking like Holocaust victims. They become nothing but skin and bone, they have sores on their body, and their faces become sunken in and they can look downright frightening.

Drugs would also explain the large sum of money found in the Jamisons? truck. No one knows where that money came from, or what the couple planned on using it for. Bobby and Sherilynn were both on disability and struggling financially, so how did they get their hands on $32,000?

Crystal meth could also account for the couple?s erratic behavior, and this is why I believe it?s possible that Bobby and Sherilynn would put their daughter in harm?s way. I?ve known two meth addicts in my life. One of them left her toddler home alone in a crib to go chase after a boyfriend who had beat her up. She lost custody of her daughter.

Meth can turn people into monsters, and it erodes their decency and common sense. Nothing is more important to a meth addict than meth. They don?t care who or what is in the way. It?s just collateral damage. Ms. Kokotan states that neither of the Jamisons was on drugs, but it has been my experience that relatives of drug addicts often live in denial or they?re simply too close to the situation to see the truth. They can?t always see the forest for the trees.

I?m not trying to say, yes, the Jamisons were meth heads who put their daughter in harm?s way. I?m just saying, never say never. It?s also possible that severe mental illness contributed to the couple?s gaunt appearance.

One theory is that the Jamisons stumbled upon illegal drug activity, saw more than they were supposed to, and were killed to keep them quiet. It seems odd, however, that their killer or killers didn?t take the cash in the truck. It could have been left there so as not to raise even more suspicions that drugs were involved.

Finally, the Sans Bois mountain range was known for its many meth labs, and Bobby had recently reported someone in the local area for running one.[7] The family could have been the victims of revenge, too.

Bobby?s Dad Killed the Family

Image for postBobby Dean Jamison ? Source: Findagrave.com

Bobby?s father, Bobby Dean Jamison (we?ll refer to him as ?Bobby?s dad?) apparently wasn?t the nicest guy, and Bobby and Sherilynn filed a protective order against him claiming that he had threatened to kill Bobby, Sherilynn, and Madyson over some business dealings. [8]

In the protective order, Bobby alleged that his father was a ?very dangerous man who thinks he is above the law? and that he was involved in ?prostitutes, gangs, and meth.?

According to Bobby, his dad hit him with his car on November 1, 2008.

The order was filed just six months before the Jamisons disappeared.

Bobby?s father died two months after the family went missing, however, and had been in poor health for quite some time. [1] Bobby?s uncle, Jack Jamison, said Bobby?s dad was ?either in a hospital or rest home? at the time of the disappearance, and that he was a disturbed individual but not capable of murder.

So, maybe Bobby?s dad didn?t kill the family himself, but if it?s true that he was involved in meth, it?s possible he at least played a role in the murders. It?s also possible that Bobby and Sherilynn used some of his contacts to get involved in the meth trade. Additionally, it was rumored that Bobby?s dad had connections to the Mexican Mafia. [5]

In any case, investigators said Bobby?s dad had a solid alibi and dismissed him as a person of interest. He died in December 2009.

A Kidnapping Plot

Image for postSource: McAlester News-Capital

What if someone murdered the Jamisons to get their hands on little Madyson?

If you?re familiar with this case, then you?re probably familiar with a photo of the child that was found on Bobby?s phone, showing Madyson with her arms folded, looking scared. Personally, I don?t think the photo is all that shocking, but it is part of the many theories swirling around this case, just the same.

Image for postThe last photo of Madyson on Bobby?s phone ? Source: Conundrums & Conspiracies

When the Jamisons? bodies were found, there was a dried flower included with Madyson?s remains. [9]

A Murder-Suicide

Image for postSource: The Ghost Diaries

The Jamison home was not a happy place, and Bobby and Sherilynn?s relationship was not a stable one. Investigators discovered just how shaky their relationship was when they discovered an 11-page ?hate? letter from Sherilynn to Bobby in the family?s truck.

In the letter, Sherilynn raged against her husband, calling him a ?loner? and a ?hermit? who didn?t care about his daughter. [10] It was a laundry list of all the things Sherilynn hated about Bobby, and she wrote that she wanted a divorce.

This theory is supported by the fact that Sherilynn was known to own a .22 caliber pistol that she carried with her in the truck. Furthermore, the coroner found a small hole in Bobby?s skull that might have been from a bullet. [11]

The police ultimately concluded that the hole was not from a bullet, but local hunters disagreed.

However, neither Sherilynn nor Madyson had any injuries to suggest they had been shot. Moreover, the gun has never been found. If Sherilynn had used it to kill her family and herself, one would think it would have been found at the crime scene or somewhere close by, and that all three family members would have been shot.

Sherilynn?s friend Niki Shenold explained away the hateful letter that Sherilynn wrote her husband by saying this:

?She would write things down when they came into her mind, but then she would move on. She loved Bobby.?

Image for postNiki Shenold with Sherilynn ? Source: Daily Mail

White Supremacists

In 2010, shortly after the Jamisons? story appeared on the Investigation Discovery (ID) show ?Disappeared,? Shenold received a strange phone call that suggested yet another theory as to what happened to the struggling family. [1]

The caller, a woman, informed Shenold that she once belonged to a white supremacy group and she had seen a book containing the names of people that someone in the group ?had a problem with? who needed to be ?taken care of.? [12]

The caller said she tried to memorize the names in the book and would go home and look them up on the Internet. Many of the names came back to missing person cases ? including the Jamisons.

The woman also told Shenold about the insignia on Bobby?s wedding ring, which Shenold claims few people knew about.

Shenold said:

?She had overheard some conversations with these guys where clearly they were talking about Sherilyn, Bobby and Madyson; that they took care of them.?

The caller added another disturbing detail:

?Supposedly one of the guys talked about how he liked to put Madyson on his lap and how it made him feel good.?

The above quote also supports the theory that the family was kidnapped so that the kidnapper or kidnappers could get to Madyson.

Prior to the Jamisons? disappearance, a man stayed with the family who expressed to Sherilynn his displeasure over her Native American heritage. He reportedly told her that he hated Indians and anyone who wasn?t white. Fearful of what he might do to Madyson, Sherilynn pointed a gun at him and forced him to leave the house. [7]

The man had a solid alibi, so police dismissed him as a suspect, but it?s at least possible he had true connections to white supremacists and that Sherilynn?s name wound up on a hit list.

They Got Lost

Maybe the Jamisons got lost and succumbed to the elements. After all, it was getting colder. If the family was exposed to the elements long enough, they could have frozen to death, starved to death, etc.

This is unlikely, however. Here?s why.

Image for postThe Jamisons? abandoned truck ? Source: Red Dirt Report

The Jamison?s truck was parked in such a way that it appeared that they were leaving and were stopped by somebody. The family actually ventured to the top of a hill, their GPS showed. They did not stay with their truck, but the hill wasn?t all that far away.

Their bodies were found 3 miles from their truck, and people who know Bobby say there?s no way he would have been able to walk that distance with his back problems. Also, the family was found side-by-side, face-down in the dirt. It?s unlikely that if they all died of exposure that they would have died lined up that way.

Lots of Leads but No Answers

Most of the time, a case with so many potential leads is an investigator?s dream come true. Not in the case of the Jamison family.

There are so many leads and so many different possibilities to consider, yet all of those leads have led to dead ends, and each question has only led to more questions.

The autopsies provided no answers, either. The bodies were so badly decomposed, with no soft tissue present, and so many animals had nibbled on the family?s bones that their cause of death could not be determined. [13]

Keeping in mind that I?m a writer and not a detective, here is what I think happened.

I think drugs played a role in the Jamison family?s demise. I know Sherilynn?s family doesn?t believe the couple was involved in drugs, but I tend to disagree. If they were into meth, they surely would have done their best to cover it up so as not to lose their daughter or worry their families. Have you ever tried to get a meth addict to confess to being an active user? Good luck.

Bobby and Sherilynn?s appearance on the surveillance camera ? both their behavior and their gauntness ? points to meth use, as does their paranoia.

The family was struggling with serious financial problems, yet they had $32,000 in cash on them when they disappeared. I believe they were selling drugs and they planned to use the money to move away and start over. They were only involved in dealing drugs as a temporary ?fix? for their problems and told themselves that as soon as they had what they needed, they would stop.

My theory is that they went to the mountains and met up with someone they knew from the drug trade, either on purpose or it was an unfortunate chance encounter. Bobby and Sherilynn informed that person that they no longer wished to be involved in the drug trade, and their announcement went over like a hand grenade. ?You can?t stop until we tell you to stop.? And even if that person agreed to allow them to cut ties, they knew too much, so they had to be killed.

Poor little Madyson was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, in the company of the wrong people. I hope and pray she didn?t see too much, and that nothing particularly sinister happened to her apart from the murder itself.

Unfortunately, for that reason, I think it?s unlikely the case will ever be solved. Meth addicts and manufacturers aren?t going to narc on each other, and I don?t get the impression there is much forensic evidence to go on.

Image for postSource: ViraScoop

Sources:

  1. All That?s Interesting
  2. 13th Floor
  3. Thought Catalog
  4. Talk Murder With Me
  5. Ranker
  6. The Oklahoman
  7. Daily Mail
  8. The Oklahoman
  9. Tulsa World
  10. Parkaman.com
  11. The Dark Histories Podcast
  12. Fox 25
  13. Tulsa World
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