Jason Dale Bolton, 16, lived in the town of Laurel in Franklin County, Indiana, which has a population of only 512 people. Jason was discovered dead on a rural road on August 20, 1991.
According to authorities, the boy passed out on the road before being hit by a car. But Jason’s family didn’t believe this was the whole story, and in the years since, his mother has worked tirelessly to draw attention to her son’s death as a possible mur*der coverup.
Jason was known as a good kid who had only a few minor marijuana-related incidents. According to his family, he did well in school and did not have a problem with discipline.
Jason’s death, according to his family, tells a macabre story of horror and ultimate betrayal. One would think that in such a small town, witnesses would come forward and law enforcement would relentlessly investigate a young boy’s mur*der case.
That, however, was not the case in Laurel, Indiana. There are still unanswered questions and potential perpetrators who have yet to be held accountable.
The Fateful Night
According to eyewitness accounts from the night of Jason’s death, as well as a report by Fayette County Coroner Joseph E. Todd, Jason and his friend, 15-year-old Michael McIlveen, were drinking beer at the party around 1:00 a.m.
They decided to walk to Jason’s father’s house on County Road 750 South when they were ready to leave.
Due to the alcohol, the two boys reportedly became “tired and sleepy” and pulled over to rest, falling asleep on the road. The boys were sleeping on the road when Duane A. Grimm arrived in his vehicle around 3 a.m., striking and kil*ling Jason.
That night, Trooper Todd Fields responded to the scene. Grimm told the trooper that he saw a person in the road and swerved to the left to avoid him, but he didn’t see the second person on the other side.
Jason’s body was discovered on the side of the road just outside of Laurel.
The investigating agency wrote in their report:
“The front left tire struck the deceased in the groin area, causing severe trauma and loss of tissue. The body was pushed down the road for a short distance and then passed over the body, crushing the rib cage on the left side and fracturing the skull in two places. The deceased had no ID on his person and was later identified by his sister at the hospital morgue.”
The cause of death for Jason was determined to be “massive internal injuries and internal hemorrhaging.” The next day, his body was released to his sister Tomi Bolton Schmidt at Urban Funeral Home.
Later, she wrote, “My life stopped the night I identified baby Jason.”
While it appeared to be a straightforward case of a horrifying but unintentional accident, Jason’s family noticed a number of inconsistencies in the story.
First, they were perplexed that Jason was allegedly walking to his father’s house, despite the fact that the two had been estranged for many years. According to some sources, Jason had never even met his father.
Furthermore, the police never checked any of the partygoers’ cars for blood on their tires. One of the partygoers was suspected of being a local drug dealer and was related to the sheriff.
Finally, Jason’s sister Tomi stated:
“What that report says and what the pictures show makes no sense.” His entire groin area had been mutilated. On the side of the road, there was even a testicle.”
In the months following Jason’s death, rumors spread throughout the small town, and the family received anonymous letters claiming a more sinister series of events had occurred. They have claimed for the past two decades that Jason’s death was more brutal and intentional than the police claim in their report.
What Really Happened?
The family presented a different explanation for what occurred, claiming that four men restrained and castrated Jason in front of witnesses who were too afraid to come forward and testify. To conceal their crimes, the men deliberately placed Jason on the road and ran him over.
One can only imagine the agony of such a death.
Some bloggers have speculated that Jason may have witnessed something or become involved in a fight at the party.
Jason’s death was investigated by Brian Keith O’Hara, who wrote:
“Everyone in that house must have heard Jason’s cries and screams as he was castrated.” For the several minutes it took to k*ill Jason, he must have screamed and begged for mercy.”
The family continues to question the initial investigation into the case conducted by the Fayette County law enforcement agency. Many of the eyewitnesses went on to lead criminal lives.
Unfortunately, we may never know what happened to Jason unless someone comes forward.
According to the family, the case is still “open.” They want Jason’s body exhumed and new forensic tests to be performed.
Tomi Bolton Schmidt is still pleading with authorities for more transparency:
“Please allow your heart and understanding to open up an honest investigation into Jason’s death. This is all we ask.”
No Justice, No Peace
When a loved one goes missing and is later found dead, many people believe there is such a thing as closure, a word I avoid using. When a loved one is the victim of an unsolved homicide, having answers is the only thing that can bring a family peace.
We must remember that for every unsolved homicide, there is a perpetrator to be found, an investigation to be conducted, a family seeking closure… and a victim DESERVING JUSTICE!
Please contact Indiana State Police at 765-778-2121 if you have any information.