The Death of Jason Dale Bolton: Sadistic Murder or Tragic Accident?
What Happened to Jason Dale Bolton?
Jason Dale Bolton, 16, lived in Franklin County, Indiana, in the town of Laurel, with a population of only 512 residents. On August 20, 1991, Jason was found dead on a rural road.
Authorities maintained that the boy passed out on the road before being struck by a car. But Jason’s family didn’t believe this was the whole story, and in the years that followed, his mother tried desperately to draw attention to her son’s death as a potential murder coverup.
Jason was known as a good kid and only had a couple of minor incidents of smoking marijuana. According to his family, he was good in school and had no discipline problem.
According to his family, Jason’s death tells a macabre horror story and ultimate betrayal. One might think that in such a small town, witnesses would come forward and law enforcement would relentlessly investigate the murder case of a young boy.
But that’s not what happened in Laurel, Indiana. There are still questions that haven’t been answered and perpetrators that have potentially yet to be held accountable.
The Fateful Night
According to eyewitness accounts from the evening of Jason’s death, as well as a report by Fayette County Coroner Joseph E. Todd, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Jason and his friend, 15-year-old Michael McIlveen, were drinking beer at the party.
When the two were ready to leave, they decided to walk to Jason’s father’s house on County Road 750 South.
The two boys reportedly became “tired and sleepy” due to the alcohol and stopped to rest, falling asleep on the roadway. The boys were asleep on the roadway when Duane A. Grimm came upon them in his vehicle at approximately 3:00 a.m., striking and killing Jason.
Trooper Todd Fields responded to the scene that night. Grimm told the trooper that he thought he saw a person in the road and swerved left to avoid him, but he didn’t see the second person on the other side.
Jason’s body was found lying on the road just outside 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.”
Jason’s cause of death was determined to be from “massive internal injuries and internal hemorrhaging.” His body was released to his sister Tomi Bolton Schmidt at Urban Funeral Home the following day.
She later wrote: “My life stopped the night I identified baby Jason.”
While it may have looked like a cut-and-dry case of a horrifying but inadvertent accident, Jason’s family noted a number of inconsistencies in the narrative.
Firstly, they found it strange that Jason was supposedly walking to his father’s house as the two had been estranged for many years. In fact, according to some reports, Jason had never even met his father.
Additionally, the police never tested any of the party attendee’s cars for blood on their tires. One of the party attendees was suspected of being a local drug dealer and was reportedly a relative of the sheriff.
Finally, Jason’s sister Tomi stated:
“What that report says and the pictures show doesn’t make sense. His whole groin area was just mutilated. There was even a little testicle on the side of the road.”
In the months following Jason’s death, rumors circulated in the small town and the family received anonymous letters claiming that a more insidious series of events transpired. For the last two decades, they have claimed that Jason’s death was more brutal and intentional than what the police contend in their report.
What Really Happened?
The family put forth a different scenario for what happened, claiming that four men restrained and castrated Jason in front of witnesses who were too afraid to come forward and tell the truth. To cover their crimes, the men placed Jason on the road and ran over him intentionally.
One can only imagine such a painful death.
Some bloggers have suggested that Jason may have witnessed something at the party or become involved in a fight there.
Brian Keith O’Hara, who has investigated Jason’s death, wrote:
“Jason’s cries and screams as he was being castrated must have been heard by everyone in that house. Jason must have been screaming, begging for mercy for the several minutes it took to kill him.”
The family still questions the Fayette County law enforcement agency’s initial investigation into the case. Many of the eyewitnesses went on to live lives of crime.
Sadly, we may never know what happened to Jason — that is unless someone comes forward.
As far as the family is concerned, the case is still “open.” They want Jason’s corpse exhumed and new forensic tests conducted.
Tomi Bolton Schmidt continues to plead with authorities for 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 is missing and found deceased, many might think there is such a thing as closure, a word I refrain from using. When a loved one is a victim of unsolved homicide, the only thing that can bring a family peace is having answers.
We must remember that for every unsolved homicide, there is a perpetrator that must be found, an investigation that must advance, a family who seeks peace … and a victim who DESERVES JUSTICE!
If you have any information, please call Indiana State Police at 765–778–2121.