Â©Copyright 2010, The Oklahoman
WILBURTON — The Sans Bois Mountain range holds many secrets, from Prohibition-era stills to Indian Territory legends of cave-dwelling outlaws. A recent mystery centers on the dark and bewildering disappearance of a Eufaula couple, who told their minister they were being haunted by demons and spirits.
Nearly seven months have passed since Bobby and Sherilyn Jamison and their 6-year-old daughter, Madyson, vanished from those mountains. Investigators have encountered a maze of possibilities when studying the family’s history, leaving open every scenario from murder to the staging of their own deaths.
Interviews with friends and relatives, court records and letters the Jamisons left behind depict a family in turmoil.
"Normally, you can go through an investigation, and one by one, start to eliminate certain scenarios,” said Israel Beauchamp, Latimer County sheriff. "We haven’t been able to do that in this case. With this family, everything seems possible.”
The Jamisons were last seen alive Oct. 9 by a local man as the family was looking for a plot of land for sale. Eight days later a hunter reported the family’s abandoned pickup at a well site in the mountains northwest of Red Oak.
Inside the locked, four-door pickup with the keys in the ignition they found Bobby Jamison’s wallet, his wife’s purse, a cell phone, a GPS unit, clothing and $32,000 stuffed in a bank bag beneath the driver’s seat. They also found Maizy, a family dog barely clinging to life.
There were no signs of a struggle.
"The dog was eating its own feces to stay alive,” Beauchamp said. "Why would anyone leave their family pet like that? Doesn’t make sense. Then again, nothing seems to make sense about this case.
"A lot of investigators would love to have as many leads as we do. The problem is they point in so many different directions.”
A topographical map of the mountain hangs in his office to remind him of the unsolved case. Lines crisscross the map, documenting the four massive searches that involved hundreds of volunteers, horses, mules, four-wheelers, 16 teams of cadaver dogs, helicopters and even an unmanned drone.
The 31-year-old sheriff, a former U.S. Army Ranger and drug officer, needs little reminding. His mind is consumed by questions and theories.
"Throughout this whole process, I’ve found myself going back and forth as to what might have happened,” Beauchamp said. "I’m at my wit’s end. I have asked for all the help I could get — 12 FBI agents, three OSBI agents, Troop Z (of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol), private investigators who have contacted me. I even belittled myself to the point where I listened to psychics.”
Demons and spirits
Gary Brandon, a Eufaula pastor, told investigators the Jamisons were engaged in spiritual warfare. He said Bobby Jamison told him he often saw "two to four spirits on the roof” of their lakeside Eufaula home.
Once, Bobby Jamison called Brandon to inquire whether there were "special bullets” he could use to shoot the spirits, the minister told investigators. He told the pastor he was reading the "satanic bible” for a natural remedy.
Investigative notes show Sherilyn Jamison told Brandon there were "three to four spirits” in the house, including children named Michael and Emily, and that Madyson often talked to Emily’s sister — a spirit that had wings. Sherilyn Jamison wasn’t afraid, though. She believed she had the gift to cast out demons.
Graffiti on a massive storage container outside their home also prompted questions. One message reads: "3 cats killed to date buy people in this area … Witches don’t like there black cat killed.” Beauchamp said the family planned to live in the container once they acquired mountain property.
Beauchamp said the paranoia could suggest an addiction to drugs, but has found no evidence they were users or dealers. Ruling out the role of drugs in the family’s disappearance is another issue.