The Disturbing Mystery of the Jamison Family


(sirens blaring)
(creepy music) – This week on BuzzFeed Unsolved, we cover the case of the Jamison family. A case that’s as odd as it is creepy. There’s a lot of weird circumstance
that surround this one. It’s the woods. – Ooh. – There’s some images in
here that keep you wonderin’. – The woods are intriguing. Last time we were in the
woods was the Keddie cabins. – Yeah, I didn’t like that. – I didn’t care for it. – Well, let’s get into it. On October 8th, 2009, the Jamison family, comprised of Bobby Dale Jamison, age 44, Sherilyn Leighann Jamison, age 40, and their six year-old daughter,
Madison Stormy Star Jamison were seen for the last
time before vanishing. The family, who lived in Eufaula, Oklahoma at the time of their disappearance was last seen by a man
who lived in the mountains in Southeastern Oklahoma. However, the man told
authorities that he only saw the family and nobody else
in the area during that time. Officially, the Jamisons
were near this area to view a 40-acre plot of land that they were looking to purchase. Bizarrely, they planned
to live on that land in a storage container
that they already owned on their current property in Eufaula. – [Shane] I know a lot
of people who do that. Tiny houses! You’ve seen the tiny houses movement? – [Ryan] I don’t think they
were the tiny house type. – Well, a storage container is tiny. They’re going to live in it. – But you’re thinking of it–
– Make it their house. – Being like decked out,
like with beautiful decor, a cool use of the space. – Yeah. – I think this was like, let’s throw some sleeping bags in
there kind of situation. – That’s it? I’m just saying, if
it’s nice enough to say, hey, we’re bringing this container all the way over from
our old plot of land, clearly there was something
about that container that was maybe luxurious
or maybe customized, or. – Okay sure, yeah. That’s fair.
– Decked out. – That’s fair. That’s fair. I’ll take it.
– Thanks. – [Ryan] On October 16th, eight days after the Jamisons were last seen alive, the first major discovery
in the case occurred. (birds chirping) (rustling leaves)
(footsteps) Hunters in a remote location in the woods, about a quarter mile
away from the Jamisons’ last known location,
discovered the Jamisons’ truck abandoned and still locked. (wind blowing) (footsteps) (creepy music) Inside the truck, investigators
found Bobby’s wallet, Sherilyn’s purse, jackets,
a GPS, Bobby’s cell phone, 32 thousand dollars cash in a bank bag stashed below the driver’s seat, and finally, the
Jamisons’ pet dog, Maisie, who was malnourished and
incredibly, still alive. Bobby’s cell phone found in the truck contained a photo of his daughter Madison, which was believed to have been taken the day before they disappeared. One key observation was
that the truck showed no evidence of any kind of struggle. Former Latimer County
sheriff, Israel Beauchamp, would eventually state, quote, I think they were forced to
stop and got out of the truck to meet with someone they recognize. And I think they either
left willingly or by force. End quote. (gravel crunching)
(creepy music) – [Shane] Signs that point to them maybe leaving on their
own accord would be, they seem, possibly,
like off-the-grid types. If they’re living in a storage container– – [Ryan] Though, if you
were leaving willingly, why wouldn’t you take your dog with you? – That’s what I’m saying
is against the willingly, which would make me think
it was against their will, as if someone had them at gunpoint, maybe they’d leave the dog. Because you bring that dog with you, that’s very handy in a survival situation, depending on what kind of dog it is. – Also, at gunpoint, you’re not really in the position to make demands. You can’t be like, could
I bring my dog, though. – What about Maisie? – [Ryan] The GPS unit in the
truck indicated that the family had been farther up a nearby
hill prior to the location where their truck and
belongings were found. Investigators followed
the GPS coordinates, and it’s there that they found footprints. One day later, on October 17th, over 300 people, including
authorities and volunteers, formed a large-scale air
and ground search party. Unfortunately, the leads went cold, and the search for the
Jamisons was called off. Which brings us to the case’s second major and unfortunate discovery. On November 16th, 2013– (rustling leaves) (crickets chirping) (rustling leaves) (creepy music) Hunters were out scouting
for deer hunting locations in the deep woods, when they stumbled upon the partial skeletal
remains of three bodies of two adults and one child. The remains were discovered
less than three miles away from where the Jamisons had disappeared over four years earlier. The search by officials that followed would uncover shoes, bits
of clothing, adult teeth, an adult arm and leg
bones, and bone fragments. The bones would eventually be confirmed as the missing Jamison family. – I mean, they don’t know
how long they were out there? – Uh, I guess not because you would think they would have found
it in the initial search ’cause if it was only, it was less than three miles away from the truck. – Though I’ve said this
before, the wilderness is big. – The wilderness is big. – The wilderness is big. You miss things. – I guess, but not when
you have a starting point. A radius of five miles,
anything within that. – You think maybe they were hiding when the search was going on? – Oh, from people? – Maybe might have gone
climbed a tree or something. – Why would they do that? The Oklahoman state medical
examiner, Dr. Joshua Lanter, reported that a cause and
manner of death were unknown, possibly due to the fact that the skeletal remains weren’t complete. Lanter stated that there
was no evidence of trauma, though it couldn’t be fully ruled out due to the incomplete remains. Lanter could also not rule out disease. There was also evidence of
posthumous damage by animals. Lanter’s final report on the case states the deaths occurred
under suspicious circumstances. – I mean, this is a morbid thought but I’ve always thought that it would be nice to be given back. – Oh, to the earth? Like a recycling kind of thought? – Yeah. Just have vultures pick
me apart or something. – That’s– – After I die. I don’t want to be like,
oh, I’m feeling old. Let me go lay out in the sun. (Ryan laughs) – No, but what I was, when you said that I was picturing dying and then my body slowly and beautifully
decomposing into the ground. – I want, no I want animals–
– But you were picturing– – To be tearing my meat. (Ryan laughs)
Sort of tug of war. – You want a vulture
picking out your eyeballs? – It’s kinda neat. – [Ryan] Other items worth
mentioning from the investigation are a missing briefcase and
a missing 22 caliber handgun registered to Sherilyn Jamison, both of which were never found. Let’s provide some background on the two Jamison parents,
Bobby and Sherilyn. Both Bobby and Sherilyn were not working at the time of their
disappearance due to disabilities and were receiving disability cheques. Bobby was on disability due
to being in a car accident, though one thing worth noting
is that Sherilyn’s mother, Connie Kokotan, stated
that she did not know of any settlement from the car accident that might explain the 32
thousand dollars in cash found in the Jamisons’ truck. Neither Kokotan nor anybody else know where this money came from. Former sheriff, Israel Beauchamp, while on the investigation,
stated that there, quote, doesn’t appear to be any
signs that the Jamisons were in trouble or looking
to start a new life. End quote. One odd wrinkle to the
case was security footage taken outside the Jamison home. The footage, according to Daily Mail, was from the day that they left and showed the couple
making several silent trips between the car and their home as they methodically packed to leave. They were moving in a
manner that Beauchamp described as, quote, trance-like. On the video, sometimes they
would just stop and stare. – If I’m packing all my things and I’m getting ready
to leave my life behind, go off the grid, that’s a big commitment. – Yeah. Yeah. – So if I’m loading up my
car, like oh boy, this is it, I’m probably going to
be a little trance-like. And in the middle of it, I might stop. – Have a couple pregnant pauses. – Look at the sunset. Think, what am I doin’? What am I doin’, man? – [Ryan] Beauchamp also said,
quote, 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. End quote. And with that, let’s
get into the theories. (creepy music)
The first theory is that the family simply got lost in the woods and died from hypothermia and exposure. In the days following their disappearance, the area where the Jamisons were last seen experienced heavy rains, albeit not rains strong enough to cause their deaths. A glance at the Farmer’s
Almanac for weather reports in the area at that
time showed temperatures of merely 40 degrees at the coldest. As a reminder, the bodies were found only 2.7 miles from their truck. – If you’re two miles away from your car, and you go, oh it was
that way, I know that. If you pick even the
slightest wrong direction, suddenly, you’re way off the mark. – Why would they leave their cell phone, all their possessions,
things that you could use to then get back to your car? These do seem like people
that may be wilderness savvy. – Well, doesn’t sound like it if– – No, I’m talking about it,
they’re looking in that area, if they’re looking at a plot of land to maybe live in a storage container. – But they didn’t have
anything on ’em, right? Did they have compasses,
did they have maps? – No, and that to me means they didn’t intend to go on a trip. – If the little daughter
got spooked by something, she started running, they ran after her because obviously, holy
shit, our daughter. – How fast could a daughter run? She’s gonna run 2.7 miles
before they catch her? – I don’t know, if she was
trying to get away from ’em. – How fast is this six year-old? What is she, the fucking Flash? The second theory is
that the Jamisons’ demise was a murder-suicide scenario. The investigation would
turn up a suspicious letter that according to one
report, was 11 pages long and was found in the
Jamisons’ abandoned truck. The letter is what was
called a hate letter written from Sherilyn to Bobby in which she accused
him of being a hermit. Another letter that was
said to mention death was also found in the family home. According to former
sheriff Beauchamp, quote, they were certainly a
family obsessed with death. End quote. However, Sherilyn’s mother
has repeatedly stated that Bobby and Sherilyn were good parents. Quote, like I’ve said
from the very beginning, I think somebody killed them. There’s just no way
that Bobby and Sherilyn would ever let anything happen to Madison unless something had been done to them. You have some marital
disputes, that seems minor. – [Shane] 11 pages is
a lot of pages, but– – [Ryan] Yeah, but if the worst thing you say in it is you’re a hermit. – [Shane] Yeah. – Also, if you’re gonna
murder somebody in the woods, why bring your daughter with you? – Yes. Though, if you’re murdering
someone, you’re probably not in the right frame
of mind to begin with. – I suppose but the mom doesn’t think so. Also, it’s noteworthy that
the mom lived with them for a certain amount of time. – Oh, she did. – So, she would have
reference of how they behaved. – Yeah. – [Ryan] Which brings
us to our third theory. That the Jamisons were murdered by Bobby Jamison’s 67 year-old
father, Bob Dean Jamison. Earlier in 2009, approximately six months before the family
disappeared, Bobby had filed a protective order against his father. Allegedly, Bob had threatened
to kill Bobby and his family on two separate occasions in
November 2008 and April 2009. In the petition, Bobby did not detail how his father had made the threats. He did write that Bob had,
quote, hit me with his vehicle, end quote, on November 1st, 2008. Bobby also wrote that Bob was
a, quote, very dangerous man who thinks he is above the law, end quote. And that he’d been involved with, quote, prostitutes, gangs and meth, end quote. Doesn’t look good. – [Shane] That’s not good. – No.
– That’s bad. – [Ryan] I mean that
definitely gives motive, and it does seem like– – [Shane] Seems like the kind
of guy who might do that, on account of he threatened to murder– – [Ryan] Yeah, it does seem
like this wasn’t a case like, oh, I couldn’t see this coming. It was, many warnings were given. Furthermore, Bobby stated
in his petition, quote, my entire family is severely
scared for their lives. End quote. And quote, I am in fear
at all times, end quote. Testimonies were given in the
case and a judge dismissed the protective order on May 18th, 2009. Bobby Jamison was also in the process of suing his father at the time of the Jamison family’s disappearance. The gist of the suit was
that Bobby would sometimes work for free at his father’s gas station, where half the sales had
been promised to Bobby, but were never paid. Though, Bobby and Sherilyn
had been described as, quote, scammers, end quote,
by former sheriff Beauchamp. As they had also previously sued three others in 2005 after a car accident. Moreover Jack Jamison, Bob
Dean’s brother and Bobby’s uncle, claimed that Bob Dean was,
quote, disturbed at the time, end quote, Jack was, quote, pretty sure he was not capable of being
involved in that, end quote. – [Shane] You wish these stories had a black and white to ’em. – [Ryan] Yeah, right? Every time you think this
is clear-cut, now this– – [Shane] You got this poor family, they turn up in the woods. You feel for ’em. Now suddenly they’re casting
doubt upon their characters because they’re, what, they’re scammers? – Apparently–
– They’re scammers! – [Ryan] According to the sheriff. That’s his opinion. – And now we can’t even trust the sheriff because you’re casting doubt on him. – Well, I don’t know. I mean, he seems like a
legitimate investigator. He doesn’t have any motive
in this to have a cover-up. – I hate these stories, Ryan. (Ryan laughs) – I know. Bob Dean died in December 2009. Jack Jamison, like Sherilyn’s mother, still suspects that
foul play played a part in the Jamison family’s death. This brings us to our
bizarre fourth theory, that the Jamisons were murdered by a cult. (creepy music) Sherilyn’s mother, Connie Kokotan, believes the Jamisons were killed by a religious cult in
Southeastern Oklahoma. According to Kokotan,
the cult had a, quote, hit list, end quote, that Sherilyn was on. After Investigation
Discovery aired a special on the Jamison family
on the show Disappeared, Sherilyn’s close friend, Niki Shenold, said she received a phone
call from an anonymous woman. (phone dialing) This woman reportedly told Shenold that she’d once been in
a white supremacy group that kept a book
containing a list of people who’d been problems for them. Sometimes, this woman
claimed, if she could remember one of the names she had seen, she’d go home and look
it up on the Internet. This had led her to multiple
missing persons cases including Sherilyn and Bobby Jamison. Shenold said she wasn’t sure
what to make of the caller. – Cults, I don’t know. Cults, cults are out there. I wouldn’t initially
just refute it outright. – No, it just sounds outrageous, given everything else and this
seems very par for the course when it comes to cold cases, right? – Yeah. – And then all of a
sudden, here’s this cult. A 1993 article in the Oklahoman
stated that a few cults had sprung up around Eastern Oklahoma, though a US marshal named
James Webb had added, quote, there hasn’t been any
activity in a couple of years. End quote. It’s also been suggested that the Jamisons were into witchcraft. (whispering) A quote, witch bible, end quote, was reportedly found in the Jamison home. (creepy music) (papers rustling) Though, Niki Shenold claims
that Sherilyn Jamison bought the witch bible as a joke. That being said, their pastor in Eufaula, Gary Brandon, claims Bobby confessed that he was reading a, quote,
Satanic bible, end quote. Additionally, mysterious
graffiti was found on the large storage container kept on the Jamisons’ property. One line read, quote, three cats killed to date by people in this area. Witches don’t like their black cat killed. End quote. There was a witch bible
found in their house. Which was written off as a joke, sure. But then– – [Shane] Funny, funny joke. – But the husband–
– Ha ha, look at this. (laughing) A witch bible! – [Ryan] But then the husband himself has admitted he was
reading a Satanic bible, so obviously it was not a joke. – Maybe she brought the witch bible home and then was like, ha ha! Witch bible! Witch bible, waka waka. And then he was like, ah,
pretty good joke, honey. I’m gonna read that. – Oh, and then late at
night, when she’s sleeping he puts on his little–
– And she was like, what are you reading? And he was like, ah! Funny book. – [Ryan] Sherilyn’s mother also reported some odd behavior from her daughter. Quote, she became very illogical. One day she drove me to Oklahoma City and dropped me off on the street. She told me, get (beat) out of my car. So, I did. End quote. – [Shane] Get (beat) out of my car. – [Ryan] Yeah, that was
like the T-1000 right there. – Get out. (Ryan laughs) You don’t do that to your mother. – No, I mean and that
could be other factors, but could it also be because
she was maybe in a daze? – Yeah. – Your head gets kind of lost in a fog when you’re involved in some
shady business, I suppose. – Yeah. – Also, my mom was the kind of mom who, if I said that to her,
first she’d smack me. And secondly, I’d have to get out, so. – Yeah my mom once stopped the car and told me and my brother to get out. – Oh, shit.
– We said no! We’re just kidding. We’re not fighting. – What did you do to prompt that response? – I think we were just
fuckin’ hitting each other in the backseat or something. – Yeah. – You know, classic brother stuff. – [Ryan] And of course, the main evidence of strange behavior was the
aforementioned security tape where the two Jamison
parents appear to be in a, quote, trance-like state, end quote. The Jamisons also reportedly claimed to have two to four ghosts in their home. (creepy music) (tap running) (electricity shorting out) (creepy music) Father Gary Brandon
even told investigators that Bobby Jamison had once called him asking about, quote,
special bullets, end quote, that could be used to shoot spirits. – You’re not related
to this guy in any way? (Ryan laughs) You looked that up? – (laughing) No. No. But I thought, I don’t
know if that belongs in the cult theory, maybe
they’re in a religious cult where they believe that sort of thing. – Doesn’t matter. I’m glad you included it. – It does contribute to odd behavior and, for the record, I don’t
believe in special bullets. Which brings us to our
fifth and final theory, that drugs were involved. All of the aforementioned strange behavior from the Jamison parents
could be explained by the influence of drugs. There were actually rumors
that the Jamison parents were involved with drugs, and some believe that the family was involved
in a drug deal gone awry. As reported by the Oklahoman in May 2010, Sherilyn’s mother, who didn’t
believe drugs were involved, said the couple had been
in financial straits. Pure speculation here, but
maybe the 32 thousand dollars in cash had something to
do with the possible deal, as it makes no sense how
the Jamisons had that money, let alone in the car
they disappeared from. – People didn’t know
where the money came from. – Mm hm. – If they were making
money off of some kind of– – It would be off the grid.
– Drug situation. It would be, they’re not keeping, they’re not taking it to the bank and saying, this is from
the meth that I just sold. – They’re not reporting that to the IRS. – Right. – [Ryan] Police initially suspected drugs after viewing the
strange security footage, but former sheriff Beauchamp
said there was no evidence backing up the theory that the
Jamisons used or dealt drugs. Yet, he also stated he could not rule out the possibility that drugs could have been somehow involved in the disappearance. To be fair, many have
pointed out that the Jamisons likely would not have taken
6 year-old Madison with them if some kind of drug related
event was taking place. That’s fair. – [Shane] That’s fair! – [Ryan] I mean, why would you take your daughter to a drug deal? – [Shane] Don’t do drugs,
don’t do drug deals. Don’t take your children
to any of the drugs or the drug deals. – Every time in this case
I think I’ve come to some kind of logical conclusion,
I’m sadly mistaken. – Would it be easy though
for them to cover up the evidence of their
involvement with drugs? What if they were going to,
perhaps, buy some drugs? In that case, someone
shows up who’s allegedly going to give them drugs. They’ve got the money that they’re going to give to that person. Though I don’t know why that
person didn’t take the money. – Oh, and there’s our
daughter in the backseat. – Maybe the person was
like, I’m not doing this. Not with her around. – So, instead I’m going
to kill all three of you and leave the money? – Maybe just chased ’em. – But I can’t wrap my head
around the cash being left there and then the daughter being there. That doesn’t make any sense. – Maybe the person didn’t
know the cash was there. – But they’re going to a drug deal, of course they would
know the cash is there. – Maybe they tried
giving them the briefcase and they didn’t realize they
didn’t put the cash in it, they hand it over, the guy opens it up and he’s like, where’s the cash? And they go, yipes! And they run into the woods. – And then he goes, no
need to check the car. – It’s like I said, there’s
a scary dog in there. – [Ryan] Former sheriff Beauchamp has said that there were no suspects in the case. While investigating the disappearance, Beauchamp was quoted as saying, quote, 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. End quote. Perhaps one day, those leads will point in one clear direction. But for now, the case remains unsolved.

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