Middle Georgia Cold Cases: The Body in the Oconee National Forest

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FORSYTH, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – GBI agents are trying to figure out who killed a Monroe County man and dumped his body in Jasper County in April 1999. It’s another Middle Georgia Cold Cases.

James Earl Brown, who was in his 30’s, was last seen leaving his father’s house on Stokes Store Road. Records show he had gotten into an argument with relatives. The investigating agent says Brown was trying to find a ride. Two days later, his body was found in the Oconee National Forest.

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A turkey hunter found his body on April 15, 1999.

“Cause of death was blunt force trauma. He had been beaten and his body had been dumped in the wooded area off Highway 83,” Ryan Carmichael, the assistant special agent in charge of the GBI’s Milledgeville Office, said.

Brown was staying with his father.



“Brown had been staying at various locations throughout that time. He stayed at the Salvation Army house in Bibb County. He stayed at locations in Spalding County, Butts County, and eventually he stayed there at his father’s house in Monroe County,” Carmichael said.

During that time, Brown worked odd jobs — scraping up cash any way he could.

James or “Jimmy’ as those closest to him called him, had several run-ins with the law. Arrest records show him in jail in Butts County and with the state department of corrections for probation violation.

That day, something led Jimmy and a relative to have a falling out at his father’s house.

The last time anyone saw Brown he was walking on Stokes Store Road in Monroe County. He had just gotten into an argument with one of his family members. The problem is he didn’t have a car so no one knew where he was going.

“There was information that was developed as the investigation went on that Brown was potentially seen at the bar, which is no longer at that location, but it was on Highway 87 near the intersection of Highway 83 on the Monroe County side,” Carmichael said while reviewing the case file.

That was the last time anyone reported seeing Jimmy.

His beaten body was discovered two days later.

Carmichael says three law enforcement agencies were part of the initial investigation. Search parties looked all over for Brown when he was missing.

“We’re hoping that somebody may know some information that may have encountered him during that time or potentially had given him a ride, but he did not own a car,” Carmichael said.

Who could’ve killed Jimmy? Why?

The long-time agent says it’s possible Jimmy was killed somewhere else and his body was dumped in the forest. With little clues, he’s hoping there is someone out there who knows what happened to Jimmy and can bring a killer to justice.

“We’re looking for anybody who has any information that may be related to it because even though it’s a 17-year-old case. We still have this case open and active and are looking for the truth in this case,” Carmichael said.

If you know what happened to Jimmy Brown, call the GBI’s Milledgeville Office at (478) 445-4173.