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"The Disturbing Mystery of the Jamison Family" is a video made by Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej, uploaded onto YouTube on March 16, 2018. It was the eighth episode of the third season of BuzzFeed Unsolved: True Crime, and the fifty-eighth episode overall. You can find it here.

Description[]

Season Finale. One missing family, dozens of clues... and no answers.

Background[]

On October 8, 2009, the Jamison family, comprised of Bobby Dale Jamison, age 44, Sherilyn Leighann Jamison, age 40, and their six year-old daughter, Madyson 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.

On October 16, eight days after the Jamisons were last seen alive, the first major discovery in the case occurred. 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. 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 Madyson, 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, "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."

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 17, 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 16, 2013, 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.

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.

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. 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 "doesn't appear to be any signs that the Jamisons were in trouble or looking to start a new life."

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.

Beauchamp also 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."

Theories[]

  • 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.
  • Tthe 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, "they were certainly a family obsessed with death." However, Sherilyn's mother has repeatedly stated that Bobby and Sherilyn were good parents: "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 Madyson unless something had been done to them."
  • 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, "hit me with his vehicle", on November 1, 2008. Bobby also wrote that Bob was a "very dangerous man who thinks he is above the law". And that he'd been involved with "prostitutes, gangs and meth".
    • Furthermore, Bobby stated in his petition, "my entire family is severely scared for their lives. I am in fear at all times." Testimonies were given in the case and a judge dismissed the protective order on May 18, 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 "scammers" 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 "disturbed at the time", Jack was "pretty sure he was not capable of being involved in that."
  • The Jamisons were murdered by a cult. Sherilyn's mother, Connie Kokotan, believes the Jamisons were killed by a religious cult in Southeastern Oklahoma.
    • According to Kokotan, the cult had a "hit list" 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. 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.
    • 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, "there hasn't been any activity in a couple of years." It's also been suggested that the Jamisons were into witchcraft. A "witch bible" was reportedly found in the Jamison home. 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 "Satanic bible". Additionally, mysterious graffiti was found on the large storage container kept on the Jamisons' property. One line read "three cats killed to date by people in this area. Witches don't like their black cat killed."
    • Sherilyn's mother also reported some odd behavior from her daughter. "She became very illogical. One day she drove me to Oklahoma City and dropped me off on the street. She told me, get...out of my car. So, I did."
    • And of course, the main evidence of strange behavior was the aforementioned security tape where the two Jamison parents appear to be in a "trance-like state". The Jamisons also reportedly claimed to have two to four ghosts in their home. Father Gary Brandon even told investigators that Bobby Jamison had once called him asking about "special bullets" that could be used to shoot spirits.
  • 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.
    • 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 Madyson with them if some kind of drug related event was taking place.
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