Southern Ohio’s rural counties, with their rocky and wide-open
spaces, are perfect for outdoor recreation. Coal miners, factory
workers and farmers make up most of the population, and many take
advantage of the streams and forests during hunting and fishing
seasons. These counties were at one time a place where residents
would leave their doors unlocked at night and violent crime was
considered a problem of big cities. But all that began to
change in the spring of 1989.
On November 10, 1990, 21-year-old Jamie Paxton, a steelworker,
awoke just before dawn. It was a frosty Saturday morning, but
Jamie had plans outdoors. Ohio’s annual bow hunting season
was in full swing, and he was not going to miss the opportunity to
bag a deer. Jamie lived with his parents in a cozy white frame
house in Bannock, Ohio. Following breakfast, just
before seven o’clock, the handsome young man, nearly six feet tall
with blue-green eyes and dark brown hair, headed out the door with
Jamie’s mother, 49-year-old Jean Paxton, had expected her son
home by mid-afternoon. When he failed to show, she assumed he
had a successful hunt and would pull up the drive any minute with a
buck in his trunk.
At 2:40 p.m., as Jean went about her household chores, she looked
out the window and saw a sheriff’s car pull up. She dashed
onto the porch where her husband Mickey was clutching a post for
“Don’t tell me!” she screamed. “Don’t even tell me.
|The area near where Jamie's
body was discoverd
Her son had been found by friends on a brushy hillside along
Route 9, dead from apparent rifle-bullet wounds to his chest, right
knee and buttocks.
The killing of Jamie Paxton horrified the quiet community.
Hunting accidents were not uncommon to southern Ohio, but Sheriff
Tom McCort knew that this was no accident. “When we saw more than
one wound, we knew it could not be a accident … plus it was a
bullet wound rather than an arrow, and gun season was not in yet,”
Sheriff McCort explained.
The killer had left no clues behind. Investigators checked
the area for spent cartridge cases, tire tracks, footprints,
anything that might shed some light on the killer identity.
Sheriff McCort said that his deputies also “checked the area
around the body looking for the spent projectiles that had passed
through the body.”
Investigators were bewildered by the senseless killing and after
interviewing and polygraphing friends, family members and
acquaintances, they were even more baffled. “Everyone in the
area knew Jamie Paxton. No one that we knew of, or even to this day,
had ever disliked the young man,” said McCort.