When Jimmie Disappeared, Nobody Cared

Questions surrounding the strange death of Jimmie Gilmore Jr. remain unanswered almost 50 years after he walked out the front door of his home and disappeared.
 
What is perhaps the most odd component of a very peculiar case is that nobody particularly mourned the loss of the 14-year-old boy.
 
“He was a bully,” Jimmie’s younger brother, Wayne, recently told the San Bernadino Sun. “He had a reputation of being crazy.”
 
When he disappeared on January 7, 1962, police said his mother described him as “vicious.”
 
Another neighbor recalled that “Jimmie was a pain in the butt most of the time.”
 
Jimmie was missing for 23 years, but in March 1985 workers repairing the foundation of the Baldwin Park, California, house where Jimmie Gilmore lived, discovered a shoe protruding from the ground and found his skeleton.
 
The house on Bess Avenue had been abandoned for some time, but the Gilmore family had lived there for 11 years after Jimmie vanished, assuming that he had simply run away.
 
The troubled youngster was watching television with his brother in 1962 when he answered a knock at the door and announced that he was going outside. Three days later, his mother reported his disappearance to police. Because of his lifestyle, nearly everyone figured that Jimmie had just left.
 
“Some of his friends left about that time,” Jimmie’s mother, Donna Jean Gilmore said in 1985. “I thought they talked him into going with them.”
 
The Gilmore home was chaotic back then. Donna Jean and James Gilmore were separated and Donna Jean was working at night. Violence was a common occurrence at the home and the police were frequent visitors.
 
“When we said our name was Gilmore, they didn’t even ask the address,” Wayne Gilmore told the Los Angeles Times in 1985 when his brother’s body was found. “It wasn’t no Leave It to Beaver type home. It was a madhouse.”
 
When the remains were uncovered investigators figured the case would wrap up quickly despite the passage of time and the lack of evidence.
 
“I’ve got a good feeling about this case, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Vance said at the time. “Somebody out there is going to give us something. Someone we talked to is going to remember something.”
 
That was years ago and the case remains unsolved.
 
Jimmie’s body was found buried in a crawl space beneath the house in about a foot of sand. The corpse, still dressed in jeans, a shirt and sneakers, was undetected because the body was buried in a ventilated crawl space and there were chickens and other livestock in the yard around it, police said at the time.
 
Investigators subjected family members to polygraph tests in 1985, which everyone passed.
 
Barring a confession, it’s unlikely that Jimmie’s killing will be solved.
 
The policeman who handled the missing persons case in 1962 is long dead and his notes on the case are gone. Most of the Gilmore family members with connections to Jimmie are also dead.
 
Wayne Gilmore suspected that some of the tough crowd that his brother ran with wanted him dead. The one person who didn’t believe Donna’s story that Jimmie had just vanished was the boy’s father, who told police that he felt Jimmie never left the house.