After the Jamison family vanished in 2009, for years all investigators found of them was a series of clues in the woods. No one could work out why or how the mom, dad and daughter had disappeared. And as more evidence was gathered, the case seemed to become more and more bizarre.
At the time of their disappearance in October 2009 the Jamison family consisted of dad Bobby, mom Sherilynn and their six-year-old daughter Madyson. They resided in the city of Eufaula in Oklahoma. However, before they went missing, the Jamisons were apparently looking to buy a forty-acre plot of land half-an-hour’s drive outside Eufaula, close to Red Oak.
But on October 8, 2019, the Jamison family disappeared in rather strange circumstances. The trio were last spotted in the mountains of south-eastern Oklahoma by a man who lived there. The location of this final sighting was close to the plot of land that the family was believed to have been looking to purchase.
It’s believed that the Jamison family was going to place a storage container that they already owned on the site and use that as their home. In the wake of their disappearance, this plan raised eyebrows among some. However, others pointed out that people often converted containers into homes as part of the so-called Tiny House Movement.
While the idea of moving into a metal box was strange for some, the Jamisons’ story got even stranger following their disappearance. The family never returned from the woods in which they had last been sighted. And so a few days after they were last seen, some family members contacted the authorities to report their disappearance.
The first breakthrough in the Jamisons’ case came a whole eight days after the family was last seen alive. About a quarter of a mile from the location in which the threesome had last been spotted, some hunters found the Jamisons’ pickup locked and abandoned, with their emaciated dog still trapped inside.
Given that the Jamisons had left the animal inside their vehicle, it was believed that the family had not chosen to disappear. Alongside the dog, investigators also found many everyday items including jackets, phones and IDs, which seemed to support the theory that they had not vanished on their own terms. What’s more, the truck also contained cash amounting to $32,000 hidden under the driver’s seat.
Such a vast sum of money raised suspicions among investigators working on the Jamisons’ disappearance. At the time they vanished, neither Bobby nor Sherilynn worked and both received disability allowance. As a result, cops couldn’t help but wonder where they might have acquired $32,000.
Bobby was on disability following a car accident. However, Sherilynn’s mother Connie Kokotan later stated that she knew of no payouts he had received as a result of the incident that would account for such a vast amount of money. In fact, Connie couldn’t shed any light on where the cash had come from, and neither, it seems, could anyone else.
It was speculated that the Jamisons might have been on their way to buy or sell drugs. However, if Bobby and Sherilynn were involved in drug dealing, why would they have brought their daughter, let alone their dog, along with them? Hauntingly, Bobby’s cell phone – which was also found in the truck – contained a photograph of his daughter Madyson which was believed to have been taken just one day before the family went missing.
One of the key observations that investigators made was the fact that there were no indications that a struggle had taken place inside the Jamison’s truck. According to a 2018 episode of web documentary series BuzzFeed Unsolved, former Latimer County Sheriff Israel Beauchamp would later state, “I think they were forced to stop and got out of the truck to meet with someone they recognized. I think they either left willingly or by force.”
So Beauchamp was still open to the possibility that the Jamisons had disappeared by choice. And some people could sympathize with his position. Perhaps the family were the kind of people who might voluntarily drop out of society, choosing to live off-grid in the isolation of their storage container. But if they were disappearing willingly, why did they leave their dog and so many important possessions behind in their car?
Investigators retrieved a GPS device from the Jamisons’ truck, data from which suggested that the family had been further up a hill nearby before the vehicle came to the location where it was later discovered. As a result, authorities retraced this journey and found a series of footprints. Could it have been possible that the family had gone wandering in the woods?
In order to widen the search for the Jamisons, on October 17, 2009, a ground search was conducted in the area in which they were last seen. Over 300 volunteers turned up to look for the missing family, alongside dozens of cops. However, their efforts came to no avail, and eventually, the search was called off.
The next major breakthrough on the Jamison case came on November 16, 2013. More than four years after the family disappeared, any illusions that they might have slipped away to a quiet life in the country were shattered when remains were discovered in the woods. The skeletal bodies belonged to two adults and a child and were found only three miles from the location of the Jamisons’ truck.
In a statement, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said, “Law enforcement authorities do not have any information to indicate these human remains are that of the Jamison family; however since the remains were found approximately 2.7 aerial miles northwest of where Bobby Jamison’s pickup was found in 2009, authorities are looking into the possibility of the remains belonging to the Jamison family.”
Also reacting to the grim discovery, in 2013 Jack Jamison, Bobby’s uncle, told Associated Press that he’d lost hope that the family was still alive. He said, “It brings a closure… Not knowing – especially the little girl – she did nothing to cause something like that. It brings closure. That’s about all I can say. It’s sad. It’s about what we expected.”
Jack’s statement came before the remains were officially identified, but they were later identified as the Jamisons. However, the bodies were in such an advanced stage of decomposition that the medical examiner could not provide a cause of death. Nevertheless, with new evidence, police returned to their investigations.
It was at this point that the cops began to make some strange discoveries. Firstly, they found bizarre security footage taken at the Jamison family home on the night they’d left. In the clip, Bobby and Sherilynn are seen packing up their possessions, moving them from their house to their truck. Their movements are methodical and almost trance-like. Furthermore, at seemingly random intervals, the couple just stop what they’re doing and stare off into the distance.
Commenting on the increasingly bizarre Jamison case, according to BuzzFeed Unsolved, Sheriff Beauchamp had 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 is possible.”
With seemingly very little for investigators to go on, the Jamison case soon became the perfect breeding ground for a number of theories that speculated on what might have happened to the family. One such theory suggested that they had simply become lost in the woods and later died of exposure and hypothermia.
In the days following the Jamisons’ disappearance, the area they had been in when they vanished experienced heavy rainfall. However, it wasn’t generally believed that the elements could have played a part in their subsequent deaths as temperatures didn’t dip below 40°F. Besides, why wouldn’t they have taken their dog or belongings with them?
Another theory posits that the Jamisons’ downfall was the result of a murder-suicide situation. During the investigation, cops apparently discovered an 11-page letter in the family’s truck. The correspondence was reportedly an angry letter from Sherilynn to Bobby, which accused him of being a hermit.
Furthermore, investigators found another letter at the Jamisons’ home which allegedly made references to death. According to BuzzFeed Unsolved, Sheriff Beauchamp later said, “They were certainly a family obsessed with death.” However, Sherilynn’s mom Connie claimed that her daughter and Bobby would never harm Madyson.
Connie insisted that Sherilynn and Bobby were good parents to Madyson. BuzzFeed Unsolved revealed how she’d stated, “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.”
But who might have wanted to harm the Jamison family? Well, some people believe that they could have been murdered by Bobby’s 67-year-old dad, Bob Dean Jamison. About six months before the Jamisons went missing, Bobby had filed a protective order against his dad, claiming that Bob had threatened to kill him and his family twice, one time in November 2008 and once five months later in April 2009.
In the petition, Bobby didn’t elaborate on how his father had made the alleged death threats. However, he did accuse Bob of having struck him with a vehicle in November 2008. Bobby also wrote that his dad was a “very dangerous man [who] thinks he is above the law” and also claimed Bob was involved with “prostitutes, gangs and meth.”
Given all of the above, the picture that Bobby had painted of his father wasn’t a positive one. And it appears that the deceased family man had taken Bob’s threats against his family very seriously indeed. In fact, he wrote in the petition, “My entire family is severely scared for their lives… I am in fear at all times.” However, a court later dismissed the protective order.
Still, that wasn’t the end of Bobby’s issues with his father. As a matter of fact, he was suing Bob at the time the former vanished. The basis for the claim was that Bobby had allegedly worked at his dad’s gas station without being paid as agreed. Instead, he claimed he was promised half of the profits in exchange for his labor, but he said that he never received them.
However, on the other hand, Bobby and Sherilyn didn’t have the most spotless reputations either. According to BuzzFeed Unsolved Beauchamp once accused the couple of being “scammers” after they had previously tried to sue three other individuals in 2005 following a car accident.
In any case, Bobby’s father died in December 2009, just two months after the Jamisons went missing. Later, Bob’s brother and Bobby’s uncle Jack Jamison would claim that while Bob was “disturbed at the time” he was “pretty sure he was not capable of being involved” in the disappearance of Bobby and his family. And the police agreed.
Instead, Jack believed that foul play was responsible for the demise of the Jamisons. Sherilynn’s mom Connie shared this theory. However, she went one step further by claiming that they may have died at the hands of a religious cult based in south-eastern Oklahoma, that – Connie alleged – had a hit list with Sherilynn’s name on it.
Apparently, a friend of Connie’s, Niki Shenold, had received an anonymous tip-off after the Jamisons’ case was featured on the TV show Disappeared. A woman had reportedly called to tell Shenold that she had been a member of a white-supremacist group that had kept a book of names of people who had supposedly created problems for them.
The mystery caller allegedly told Shenold that she would memorize a name from the list and search it online when she got home. This had led her to a number of missing person cases, including the Jamisons. However, despite the fact that there were some cults in Oklahoma, Shenold wasn’t sure what to make of the claims.
Furthermore, it has been claimed that the Jamisons had an interest in witchcraft. Sherilynn was said to have bought a Satanic bible, though this was reportedly for a joke. Bobby, however, apparently confessed to having read the book in a conversation with his pastor, Gary Brandon. He also told Brandon that their home was “possessed” with spirits and reportedly asked the pastor for “special bullets” that he could use in an exorcism.
What’s more, strange inscriptions were found on the family’s storage container. One extract reportedly read, “Three cats killed to date buy [sic] people in this area… witches don’t like there [sic] black cat killed.” And Sherilynn’s mom Connie also reported that her daughter had been acting strangely before she’d disappeared.
According to BuzzFeed Unsolved, Connie had said of Sherilynn, “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.” Furthermore, Brandon claimed that Sherilynn had reported a number of spirits in her home, but boasted she had the ability to “cast out demons.”
Another theory relating to the Jamisons’ disappearance and subsequent deaths suggests that Bobby and Sherilynn were involved with drugs. All of the strange behavior that they exhibited prior to vanishing could perhaps have been explained by substance use. As such, some people believe that the family may have been involved in a drug deal that went wrong.
Apparently, police first suspected that drugs played a part in the Jamisons’ demise after seeing the strange security footage of Bobby and Sherilynn. However, BuzzFeed Unsolved reported that Beauchamp has stated there was no evidence to support the suggestions that the parents used or sold drugs. He admitted, however, that he couldn’t rule out the possibility that illicit substances played a part in the family’s disappearance.
While there are many theories floating around which aim to provide an explanation of what happened to the Jamisons, nobody knows for sure. Perhaps we’ll never learn why or how Bobby, Sherilynn and little Madyson lost their lives in the woods. But while people remain fascinated with their case, the family’s fate looks sure to remain the subject of rumors for years to come.