Brown hair, brown eyes, 5'5", 125 lbs., 16 years
If you have/remember any information, please contact:
Agency Case Number: 72-84856
|December 7, 1971 dawned bitterly cold in Vancouver
WA, on the banks of the Columbia River, across from Portland OR. It would
end with a bitter cold in a sister’s heart that would last forever.
Jamie and her sister, Starr, had gotten ready for school. Jamie was wearing hip hugger jeans, (all the rage in 1971) a red and white striped blouse with puffy sleeves and a round neckline. She had on her white tennis shoes where she had handwritten ‘peace’ and ‘love’ and put little drawings.
Jamie Grisim had gone to the end of the driveway that morning to wait for the bus that would take her to Fort Vancouver High School, a bit over 2 miles away. After a few minutes, she came back inside saying, “It’s too cold. I can’t wait much longer”. She went to look in on the girls' foster mother, Grace, who had a bad heart. When she came out, she said, “Tell Grace I’m walking home from school…..and I’ll be here about 1:00.”
With those words, she walked out the door of the home she shared with Starr and Grace ……and into the mists of time.
By dark, the cold knot in Starr's heart was growing. Jamie had not come home. It snowed that night, and there was no word from Jamie. It was as if the cold and snow had absorbed her and swept her away.
The teenagers were close. They had been in foster care since they were 3 and 4 when the state of Washington had taken them from their mother. Their father had been long gone. The state had wanted to set them up for adoption, but the girls wanted to remain together, and prospective families only wanted one or the other. Jamie took care of Starr, she was the “big sister”, no one could pick on her little sister!
They were 14 and 15 when they went to live with Grace on NE 58th St. in Vancouver. Other than being a foster child, Jamie was the typical teenager of that era. She was very talented, she wrote poetry and loved art. Jamie has a beautiful handwriting, and could draw very well, especially people. She had won a contest that year that gave her some art scholarship money, and was in a graphic arts class that year'
She was a good student, belonged to 4-H and loved horses and learned to ride. One of the poems she wrote was about a horse, and said in part; "Running wild and living free. In the wild, my banderbee." The summer of 1971, she and some of her girlfriends got together and went horseback riding, bareback. She took Starr along, for her first ever horseback ride. She gave Starr a nice friendly trail horse to ride. They ran across a a huge open field bareback, Starr was terrified, but not Jamie!
During the summer of 1971, Jamie and Starr went swimming nearly everyday. Usually Jamie and Star went with Jamie's boyfriend and his friend to Lackamas Lake, which was open 9 a.m to 9 pm. Every Staurday night there was skating at a Hazel Dell rink. Good memories for Starr to hang on to the rest of her life, of the big sister she did not get to share life with.
Like typical teenagers everywhere she sang along with Elvis records and argued with Grace over the length of her miniskirts. Her favorite music, along with Elvis was Joe Crocker, The Bee Gees and Credence Clearwater Revival. One favorite song was from James Brown, which she would sing portions of when she was happy, "I feel nice like sugar and spice. I feel nice. I feel good like I knew I would."
Growing up, Jamie suffered from the same reactions many children in foster care have. She had some physical and emotional problems to overcome. It is hard to do when you are so young, have no parents/family and live in the "system". Like other teenage girls, she experimented with hair color. She had bleached her naturally brown hair blonde, which left it red. When she went missing, it was almost back to brown.
Jamie was reported missing, but back then, many times Law Enforcement agencies just considered many of them as “runaways”. Nothing pointed to Jamie as being a runaway. She was very close to sister. The only things she had with her that morning was her purse and school books. She had a savings account that was never touched, containing money she had earned. For a foster kid, her life was going well. She had plans for her future.
Time passed and with a growing fear in her heart, Starr looked for her, passing out flyers with her photo in Portland and Vancouver.
It was determined Jamie had taken the bus and was in school that day. Whatever happened to her came during the 2 mile walk home at 1:00.
Jamie would have walked home along this route. From Ft. Vancouver High School, she would have walked west on E. 18th, 0.1 mile to NE Stapleton Rd, then north on NE Stapleton, across E. Fourth Plain Blvd., 0.9 miles to where Stapleton becomes NE 54th St., continuing for 0.6 mile further, to where NE 54th becomes NE 47th St. She would have turned east on NE 47th, 0.1 mile, where she would have turned back north on NE 56th Ave for 0.5 miles, then back west on NE 58th St, 0.1 mile to her home. Whatever happened, came along that route.
In May, 1972, Jamie’s purse and possessions were found in the woods NE of Vancouver. Police told Grace, but it was kept from her sister as they thought she couldn’t handle it. She had nightmares for years and a terrible hurt that would not go away.
On January 10, 1972, Jamie became officially missing. Over the years, Her sister called the police occasionally, to see if they had found out anything. Usually she was told her sister "probably had run away".
There are still many unanswered questions. Starr
wants to know where her sister is, and what really happened
that cold December day 33 years ago.
Web page, 1-27-2002