(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 circumstancethat surround this one. it's the woods. - ooh. - there's some images inhere that keep you wonderin'. - the woods are intriguing.
last time we were in thewoods 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 lasttime before vanishing.
the family, who lived in eufaula, oklahoma at the time of their disappearance was last seen by a manwho lived in the mountains in southeastern oklahoma. however, the man toldauthorities that he only saw the family and nobody elsein the area during that time. officially, the jamisonswere near this area to view a 40-acre plot of land that they were looking to purchase.
bizarrely, they plannedto live on that land in a storage containerthat they already owned on their current property in eufaula. - [shane] i know a lotof people who do that. tiny houses! you've seen the tiny houses movement? - [ryan] i don't think theywere 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 inthere kind of situation. - that's it? i'm just saying, ifit's nice enough to say, hey, we're bringing this container
all the way over fromour old plot of land, clearly there was somethingabout that container that was maybe luxuriousor 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 discoveryin the case occurred. (birds chirping) (rustling leaves)(footsteps) hunters in a remote location in the woods, about a quarter mileaway from the jamisons' last known location,discovered the jamisons' truck abandoned and still locked. (wind blowing) (footsteps)
(creepy music) inside the truck, investigatorsfound 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, thejamisons' pet dog, maisie, who was malnourished andincredibly, 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 wasthat the truck showed no evidence of any kind of struggle. former latimer countysheriff, israel beauchamp, would eventually state, quote, i think they were forced tostop and got out of the truck to meet with someone they recognize. and i think they eitherleft willingly or by force.
end quote. (gravel crunching)(creepy music) - [shane] signs that point to them maybe leaving on theirown accord would be, they seem, possibly,like off-the-grid types. if they're living in a storage container-- - [ryan] though, if youwere leaving willingly, why wouldn't you take your dog with you? - that's what i'm sayingis against the willingly,
which would make me thinkit 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, couldi bring my dog, though.
- what about maisie? - [ryan] the gps unit in thetruck indicated that the family had been farther up a nearbyhill prior to the location where their truck andbelongings were found. investigators followedthe gps coordinates, and it's there that they found footprints. one day later, on october 17th, over 300 people, includingauthorities and volunteers, formed a large-scale airand ground search party.
unfortunately, the leads went cold, and the search for thejamisons was called off. which brings us to the case's second major and unfortunate discovery. on november 16th, 2013-- (rustling leaves) (crickets chirping) hunters were out scoutingfor deer hunting locations in the deep woods, when they stumbled upon
the partial skeletalremains of three bodies of two adults and one child. the remains were discoveredless than three miles away from where the jamisons had disappeared over four years earlier. the search by officials that followed would uncover shoes, bitsof clothing, adult teeth, an adult arm and legbones, and bone fragments. the bones would eventually be confirmed
as the missing jamison family. - i mean, they don't knowhow long they were out there? - uh, i guess not because you would think they would have foundit in the initial search 'cause if it was only, it was less than three miles away from the truck. - though i've said thisbefore, the wilderness is big. - the wilderness is big. you miss things.
- i guess, but not whenyou 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 goneclimbed a tree or something. - why would they do that? the oklahoman state medicalexaminer, dr. joshua lanter, reported that a cause andmanner of death were unknown,
possibly due to the fact that the skeletal remains weren't complete. lanter stated that therewas 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 ofposthumous damage by animals. lanter's final report on the case states the deaths occurredunder 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? just have vultures pickme 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 beautifullydecomposing 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 vulturepicking out your eyeballs?
- it's kinda neat. - [ryan] other items worthmentioning from the investigation are a missing briefcase anda 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 theirdisappearance due to disabilities
and were receiving disability cheques. bobby was on disability dueto being in a car accident, though one thing worth notingis that sherilyn's mother, connie kokotan, statedthat she did not know of any settlement from the car accident that might explain the 32thousand 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 anysigns that the jamisons were in trouble or lookingto start a new life. one odd wrinkle to thecase was security footage taken outside the jamison home. the footage, according to daily mail, was from the day that they left and showed the couplemaking several silent trips
between the car and their home as they methodically packed to leave. they were moving in amanner that beauchamp described as, quote, trance-like. on the video, sometimes theywould just stop and stare. - if i'm packing all my things and i'm getting readyto leave my life behind, go off the grid, that's a big commitment. yeah.
- so if i'm loading up mycar, like oh boy, this is it, i'm probably going tobe 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 todo that in this case. with this family,everything seems possible. and with that, let'sget 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'salmanac for weather reports in the area at thattime 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 wasthat way, i know that.
if you pick even theslightest 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 peoplethat 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 haveanything 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 daughtergot spooked by something, she started running, they ran after her because obviously, holyshit, our daughter. - how fast could a daughter run?
she's gonna run 2.7 milesbefore they catch her? - i don't know, if she wastrying to get away from 'em. - how fast is this six year-old? what is she, the fucking flash? the second theory isthat the jamisons' demise was a murder-suicide scenario. the investigation wouldturn up a suspicious letter that according to onereport, was 11 pages long and was found in thejamisons' abandoned truck.
the letter is what wascalled a hate letter written from sherilyn to bobby in which she accusedhim of being a hermit. another letter that wassaid to mention death was also found in the family home. according to formersheriff beauchamp, quote, they were certainly afamily obsessed with death. however, sherilyn's motherhas repeatedly stated that bobby and sherilyn were good parents.
quote, like i've saidfrom the very beginning, i think somebody killed them. there's just no waythat bobby and sherilyn would ever let anything happen to madison unless something had been done to them. you have some maritaldisputes, that seems minor. - [shane] 11 pages isa 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 gonnamurder somebody in the woods, why bring your daughter with you? - yes. though, if you're murderingsomeone, you're probably not in the right frameof mind to begin with. - i suppose but the mom doesn't think so. also, it's noteworthy thatthe mom lived with them for a certain amount of time.
- oh, she did. - so, she would havereference of how they behaved. - [ryan] which bringsus to our third theory. that the jamisons were murdered by bobby jamison's 67 year-oldfather, bob dean jamison. earlier in 2009, approximately six months before the familydisappeared, bobby had filed a protective order against his father. allegedly, bob had threatenedto kill bobby and his family
on two separate occasions innovember 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 wasa, 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 thatdefinitely gives motive, and it does seem like-- - [shane] seems like the kindof guy who might do that, on account of he threatened to murder-- - [ryan] yeah, it does seemlike this wasn't a case like, oh, i couldn't see this coming.
it was, many warnings were given. furthermore, bobby statedin his petition, quote, my entire family is severelyscared for their lives. and quote, i am in fearat all times, end quote. testimonies were given in thecase 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 wasthat bobby would sometimes work for free at his father's gas station, where half the sales hadbeen promised to bobby, but were never paid. though, bobby and sherilynhad 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, bobdean'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 beinginvolved in that, end quote. - [shane] you wish these stories had a black and white to 'em. - [ryan] yeah, right? every time you think thisis clear-cut, now this-- - [shane] you got this poor family, they turn up in the woods.
you feel for 'em. now suddenly they're castingdoubt 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 alegitimate investigator. he doesn't have any motivein this to have a cover-up. - i hate these stories, ryan. - i know. bob dean died in december 2009. jack jamison, like sherilyn's mother, still suspects thatfoul play played a part in the jamison family's death. this brings us to ourbizarre fourth theory,
that the jamisons were murdered by a cult. sherilyn's mother, connie kokotan, believes the jamisons were killed by a religious cult insoutheastern oklahoma. according to kokotan,the cult had a, quote, hit list, end quote, that sherilyn was on. after investigationdiscovery aired a special on the jamison familyon the show disappeared, sherilyn's close friend, niki shenold,
said she received a phonecall from an anonymous woman. (phone dialing) this woman reportedly told shenold that she'd once been ina white supremacy group that kept a bookcontaining a list of people who'd been problems for them. sometimes, this womanclaimed, if she could remember one of the names she had seen, she'd go home and lookit up on the internet.
this had led her to multiplemissing persons cases including sherilyn and bobby jamison. shenold said she wasn't surewhat to make of the caller. - cults, i don't know. cults, cults are out there. i wouldn't initiallyjust refute it outright. - no, it just sounds outrageous, given everything else and thisseems very par for the course when it comes to cold cases, right?
- and then all of asudden, here's this cult. a 1993 article in the oklahomanstated that a few cults had sprung up around eastern oklahoma, though a us marshal namedjames webb had added, quote, there hasn't been anyactivity in a couple of years. 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. (papers rustling) though, niki shenold claimsthat 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, mysteriousgraffiti 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. there was a witch biblefound 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 wasreading 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 atnight, 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. - [shane] get (beat) out of my car. - [ryan] yeah, that waslike the t-1000 right there. - get out. you don't do that to your mother.
- no, i mean and thatcould be other factors, but could it also be becauseshe was maybe in a daze? - your head gets kind of lost in a fog when you're involved in someshady business, i suppose. - 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 justfuckin' hitting each other in the backseat or something. - you know, classic brother stuff. - [ryan] and of course, the main evidence of strange behavior was theaforementioned security tape
where the two jamisonparents 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. (tap running) (electricity shorting out) father gary brandoneven 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 relatedto this guy in any way? you looked that up? - (laughing) no. no. but i thought, i don'tknow if that belongs in the cult theory, maybethey'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'tbelieve in special bullets. which brings us to ourfifth and final theory, that drugs were involved. all of the aforementioned strange behavior from the jamison parentscould be explained by the influence of drugs. there were actually rumorsthat the jamison parents
were involved with drugs, and some believe that the family was involvedin a drug deal gone awry. as reported by the oklahoman in may 2010, sherilyn's mother, who didn'tbelieve drugs were involved, said the couple had beenin financial straits. pure speculation here, butmaybe the 32 thousand dollars in cash had something todo with the possible deal, as it makes no sense howthe jamisons had that money, let alone in the carthey disappeared from.
- people didn't knowwhere the money came from. - mm hm. - if they were makingmoney 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 fromthe meth that i just sold. - they're not reporting that to the irs. - right.
- [ryan] police initially suspected drugs after viewing thestrange security footage, but former sheriff beauchampsaid there was no evidence backing up the theory that thejamisons 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 havepointed out that the jamisons likely would not have taken6 year-old madison with them
if some kind of drug relatedevent 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 childrento any of the drugs or the drug deals. - every time in this casei think i've come to some
kind of logical conclusion,i'm sadly mistaken. - would it be easy thoughfor them to cover up the evidence of theirinvolvement with drugs? what if they were going to,perhaps, buy some drugs? in that case, someoneshows 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 thatperson didn't take the money.
- oh, and there's ourdaughter in the backseat. - maybe the person waslike, i'm not doing this. not with her around. - so, instead i'm goingto kill all three of you and leave the money? - maybe just chased 'em. - but i can't wrap my headaround the cash being left there and then the daughter being there. that doesn't make any sense.
- maybe the person didn'tknow the cash was there. - but they're going to a drug deal, of course they wouldknow the cash is there. - maybe they triedgiving them the briefcase and they didn't realize theydidn'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, noneed to check the car. - it's like i said, there'sa 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. perhaps one day, those leads will point in one clear direction. but for now, the case remains unsolved.