Left: Sheketah circa, 1985
Right: Age Progressed to age 37
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: July 16, 1985
Missing From: Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, Florida
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: December 20, 1974
Age: 10 years old
Height and Weight: 4’6″ and 65 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African American Female, Black hair, Brown eyes, Sheketah wears eyeglasses
NCMEC Number: 600459
Details of Disappearance
Sheketah was last seen with her siblings, Brandon and Barry, and her mother, Carolyn, on July 16th 1985. They were also seen with the father and husband, James. The entire family disappeared on that day and were never seen or heard from again.
Carolyn’s mother became concerned after so much time had passed and she never made contact with her. She hadn’t seen the family since July 4th so in August she called the police. Authorities were initially unconcerned and when they first searched the Brown home they found no obvious indications that foul play had been involved.
Authorities located Carolyn’s purse with her identification torn up and shred in the corner of the family garage. Authorities also found and uneaten medal spread on the table and noted that one of the rooms in the home has been freshly painted.
Further analysis of the paint found that it was covering bloodstains but this was not noticed until later. The family was officially listed as missing when the next school year started because James and Carolyn never reported to teach and the kids that attended school did not do so. James reportedly called Carolyn’s sister and informed her that she could take possession of anything from in the home.
When she asked him where the family was, he said “Out there”. A few weeks after the family’s disappearance, James resurfaced in a hospital in Savannah, Georgia. He had apparently been using a false name. He claimed that someone had robbed him and tried to kill him by shooting him in the head.
When he was caught, he confessed to the murders of his children and his wife. He stated that he killed Carolyn by shooting her as she slept and then killed Brandon by smothering him with a pillow because he was sleeping next to Carolyn in the bed. He dumped their bodies in Palm Beach County, Florida.
He would then go on to state that he drove Sheketah and Barry to Brunswick, Georgia where he shot them and left their bodies along the highway. James was later acquitted of the murders of his wife and daughter. He was apparently never charged in his sons deaths. Authorities were not certain of where he killed them. They also could not locate the remains of his family despite extensive searches.
James was diagnosed as being a paranoid schizophrenic after he told psychiatrists that he heard voices in his head. He was committed to a FL State Mental Facility and has been moved to various other places since. He was imprisoned for attempting to murder a bank clerk in a 2005 robbery.
The Brown Family has never been located and foul play is suspected.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Port St. Lucie Police Department 561-871-5000