By 1985, Carolyn and James Michael Brown had been married for ten years, as reported by the Charley Project. The couple was teachers in St Lucie, Florida, where they lived with their three children, 9-year-old Sheketah, 7-year-old Barry, and 2-year-old Brandon. In February of 1983, James was fired from his teaching job. Police reports indicate he beat Sheketah until she had welts and bruises because she spent 10 cents of her lunch money on a pencil at school. He was arrested for child abuse, pled guilty, and received 3 years of probation. His teaching license was revoked and he began working as a 4-H counselor.
Reports indicate he was abusive to Carolyn and she would often stay at their church with the children. According to the Charley Project, in August 1985, Carolyn’s mother, Rosa Walker, contacted authorities stating she hadn’t spoken to the family since July 4th. Authorities went to the home and discovered Carolyn’s purse in the garage with all of her identification cut up inside. There was a meal spread out and left on the dining room table and one of the walls was freshly painted.
The police felt there were no signs of foul play in the house and were unconcerned. The entire family with a history of abuse was missing, the mother’s purse was located with all her id cut up inside, a full meal was left on the table as if dinner was interrupted, and there was fresh paint on the walls, yet, the police felt nothing was wrong.
The family was not officially reported missing until the school year began and, Carolyn never arrived to teach.
After an official investigation was launched, they realized no one had heard from the family since July 1985. According to police reports, authorities discovered the fresh paint on the wall in their house was covering bloodstains. At some point, James called Carolyn’s sister and told her she could have everything in their house. She asked where her sister, niece, and nephew were and James advised, “out there”.
Several weeks later, James was located in Savannah, Georgia. He had checked himself into a hospital under the name Demetrius Jones stating he had been robbed and shot in the head. When the staff discovered his real identity and confronted him, James admitted that he killed his family and then tried to kill himself.
James told the police Carolyn and Brandon were asleep in the couple’s bed. He said he shot Carolyn in the head and smothered Brandon with a pillow. James told them he then disposed of their bodies in Palm Beach County, Florida. He said that three days after that, he drove Sheketah and Barry to Brunswick, Georgia, shot them in the head and face, and disposed of their bodies along Interstate 95, the Charley Project reports.
Investigators conducted extensive searches of both areas, but Carolyn, Sheketah, Barry, and Brandon have never been found.
James was acquitted for the murders of Carolyn and Sheketah and was never charged with Brandon and Barry’s murders.