Christine Denise James, Missing Since 1979 or 1980

February 5, 2021 — Underground Mysteries

Christine Denise James went missing as a child, either in 1979 or 1980 when she was 11 or 12 years old. It is unclear exactly what year she vanished, because she was never reported missing (at least not as of 2/5/2021, the day I am writing this article).  Her last known whereabouts is Coleman, Florida, but before she left she made it clear she did not want to stay in Coleman.

(UPDATE 3/8/2021: Christine’s sister reported her missing a couple of weeks ago, and I entered her information into Namus.)

Christine was born on either March 27 or March 28 of 1968 to Lizzie Mae Williams and Freddie James, both now deceased.

The events circling around Christine’s disappearance are anything but usual.  When she was in the 6th grade, she told her best friend that she was running away from home that day because she was pregnant with twins.  Her best friend tried to stop her from leaving, and she pleaded with Christine to just let her mom know that she was pregnant.  Perhaps Christine was afraid of her mother’s reaction. Also, Christine may have wanted to leave because she had lived a very difficult life and experienced severely troubling occurrences prior to her disappearance.  It is suspected that she planned her disappearance.  However, that does not make her case any less noteworthy.  In fact, it makes it more serious.  Christine was only 11 or 12 when she vanished.  She was an endangered missing child to begin with. Children who run away that young and live as transients are far more likely to come into foul play.  They find themselves in far more dangerous situations than non-transients.  Couple that with her being just 11 or 12 years old, and you end up with a severely endangered child who was at high risk of abduction, foul play, succumbing to the elements, and so forth.  Also, due to her extenuating circumstances, she could have also been at risk of being the victim of retaliation (more information below) or asked to keep silent.  She was also still getting molested by one of her uncles, and she may have feared staying in the town.  Perhaps she was angry at her mother (for reasons mentioned in the following two paragraphs). She told her best friend that she would “never come back” to Coleman.  As you can see, Christine was not living a pleasant life in Coleman. Could you even blame her for wanting– or even feeling the innate need– to escape?  Sadly, many children who do escape that young, do not survive.  Hopefully we can find Christine alive. 

Christine had just gotten released from a detention center in Florida just a day or two before she disappeared. She was in the detention center for a few months for a crime that she did not commit.

Chrisine’s sister stated that their mother, Lizzie Mae Williams, was reportedly addicted to drugs, and that she witnessed her fatally stab their cousin, Robert Jackson, Jr, in self-defense. Robert was not invited into the home.  He was also accused of repeatedly and ongoingly raping and/or molesting Christine.  The molestation may have played a role in the murder as well. However, Robert nor his uncle were never formally charged prior to their deaths.  (Their uncle passed away a few years ago while he was serving time in prison for molesting his daughter, who was also a child when she was molested.)  Robert ended up getting pushed out the front door by Christine’s mother, with the knife still in lodged in his body, but he died on the porch at a residence across the street from where the incident took place.  (This residence across the street may have belonged to a family member.)

I found this news article online that reads:

COLEMAN – An 11-year-old baby-sitter stabbed to death a 17-year-old acquaintance who forced his way into a mobile home and beat and kicked the young girl during an argument, deputies said yesterday. The boy, Robert Jackson, died in a hospital emergency room from a stab wound in the back that penetrated his heart, doctors said. “The only crime “committed was committed by the deceased,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Jim Roops. “Jackson battered this little girl. She was in fear of her life.” Roops said Christine James “was baby-sitting with her 5-year-old brother at her aunt’s mobile home Wednesday when Jackson forced his way in. He insisted on turning on the television set, which the girl’s aunt had told her not to use, Roops said. An argument and fight erupted, he said, during which Jackson beat and kicked the girl.  “She grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed him in the back once,” Roops said. Witnesses said they saw Jackson run from the mobile home with a knife in his back yelling, “Christie stabbed me.”

Source: Newspaper from May 26, 1979; A Publisher Extra Newspaper;
Fort Lauderdale News from Fort Lauderdale, Florida · Page 36

Due to how many years have passed, the age of the young witnesses at the time, potential for media exaggeration, and other factors, keep in mind that there may be differences in accounts from the newspaper article and any witnesses involved.  Also the article refers to Christine as “Christie”.  Was her name in fact Christie or was it Christine?  Her sister states it is “Christine”.   However, maybe the media entered incorrect information.  Or perhaps “Christie” may have just been what Robert called her. Also keep in mind that nothing was said in the article about how Robert had been molesting Christine.  Perhaps that was concealed to protect Christine, since she was a minor. 

The date that Robert was killed is significant because it gives us an idea of when she was in the detention center, which would then help us find out when she went missing.  She may have immediately went to a detention center.  Christine’s sister did not know the year that Robert was murdered, which is why I searched and found the newspaper article. Now we know that he passed in May of 1979. If Christine was detained for a few months, she may have gotten out prior to 1980, but I will notate a loose ‘missing date’ for now.

Christine’s sister recounted the day Christine vanished.  She explained that she had only just gotten home from the detention center the day or two prior.  She said that she remembers Christine getting on the school bus the day she vanished.  She also remembers she came home from school that day and came inside the house.  Christine got dressed and told her, “I’ll be back, I’m going out.”  Christine’s sister usually asked to come along, but this time she was not allowed.  This was the same day the friend had last heard from her.  In fact, none of her friends or family members had ever heard from Christine again.  The exact date she vanished is uncertain.  If I can obtain her detention center records, it would point to a more precise time frame.

Christine left school in the 6th.  She attended Wildwood Middle School in Coleman, FL for her sixth grade year.  Prior to that, she attended Wildwood Elementary School. It is suspected she gave birth to her twins, but it is unclear whether or not the twins were put up for adoption.  It is also unknown if she lost custody of her kids, or if she raised them. However, Christine was indicted on the charge of her cousin’s murder, even though she was innocent, according to her sister.  Christine’s sister, who became estranged from her mother’s side of the family, states that she believes Christine only went to detention because she may have been persuaded to take the blame for her mother’s crime, so that her mother would not go to jail for life.  Since Christine was a minor, she would have served less time. Their mother (Lizzie Mae Williams) passed away in either 1990 or 1991. The other witnesses to this murder was Christine’s mentally challenged brother and mentally challenged uncle (not the same uncle who had molested Christine and her sister).  The uncle answered the door even though he was told not to.  Robert Jackson, Jr, knew he was not allowed inside, as he was told “no” many ties, but he kept fighting and insisting.  Perhaps the family sensed trouble was going to occur if Robert came inside the home.  The reason the uncle answered the door was because he did not know any better, due to him being mentally challenged.

Christine’s sister desperately wants to find her. She seeks closure, and not knowing her sister’s whereabouts– especially given the suspected foul play circumstances– is tearing her apart. Someone informed Maggie that Christine was  in Detroit.  Another person gave a tip that she was seen at a gas station.  Maggie says that no tip has panned out thus far.  She started sharing Christine’s photo on Myspace back when it was new.

Christine’s sister finds it alarming  and suspicious that no one ever filed a missing person report on Christine.  (Christine’s sister was around ten years old when Christine vanished.)  She used to repeatedly ask her mother, “Aren’t you worried about Christine?”  and her mother would just express that she’s not worried and that Christine should be fine.  Maggie is upset that no one cared enough to report Christine missing– either that or they know something and are keeping a dark secret.

So, that leads me to my next thoughts:  Does someone else know a secret about Christine?  Is it possible that Christine let her mother know she was safe but begged them to not let anyone know her whereabouts, for her protection?  Is it possible that her mother harmed her if she had threatened to spill the beans on the crime?  Is it possible that Christine was abducted after running away, but because she told people she “ran away”, she was just assumed to be “starting anew”… even though she was so young?  Is she in a witness protection program? What if Christine came into foul play?  What if she is a Jane Doe? What if her children were born and are alive and have taken a DNA test?  The last two hypothetical scenarios are why Maggie’s DNA getting into Gedmatch is so important. 

It is going to be difficult to further perfect this timeline to get a more precise date as to when Christine vanished.  Memories can blur. Christine’s sister knows that very shortly after Christine was released from the detention center, she was never seen again.  But Christine’s best friend insisted she vanished in the 6th grade. 

Christine’s sister wants her sister to know that she never stopped thinking about her or caring.  She wants her to know that she was her protector and that she loves her so much.  She states that she’ll always have a home with her and that she did not “throw her away”.

Christine’s father’s name was Freddie James, who unfortunately passed away never knowing what became of Christine.  According to Christine’s sister, her father would often ask about her whereabouts.  Christine also had another sister who passed away years ago.  She also has three brothers.

Physical description:  Christine has a bald spot on the top of her head that was there since she was born.  Supposedly hair never grew in that area. She also had a gap in her two front (center) teeth.  This gap may have closed up by now, with wisdom teeth coming in, among other possibilities. She is of African American descent.  Her height and weight are unknown.  It is suspected she was likely of average height and weight.  She has black or dark brown hair and brown eyes.

I used facial recognition software on Christine’s photo, but I did not get any promising clues as results.  I also age-progressed her photo.

This is considered an “unreported missing person case” at the moment that I’m writing this article, on 2/5/2021.  My goal is that it will be formally reported with the police and that her sister’s DNA will be entered into Codis. She is also working on taking a private DNA test to be uploaded to Gedmatch.  There is no information found online about Christine James’ disappearance as of today, other than a short blurb and picture of her that her sister posted. However, that will change!  Once this story is circulated, it should be picked up by many other missing person sites.  I’ll also post the story to many Facebook groups, my Reddit page under Underground Mysteries, my Facebook page, my YouTube page, NamUs, and more.  So, by the time you are reading this article, you may end up searching the web and seeing that there is now public information on this case.  And that is/was the goal, to take the case from zero recognition to extensive media circulation.

Another I had was to recreate the timeline to the best of my ability, in hopes it will bring any clues. Thanks to Christine’s sister, I was able to do so.  Then I was able to find documents to provide more clues, and to simply put all the ‘puzzle pieces’ together.

If you have any information regarding Christine’s whereabouts, please comment below. As of now, Christine does not have a missing person’s report. You can also contact your local authorities and explain that she has no missing person report but that she is in fact missing.

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Underground Mysteries

(This is the original post made by Christine’s sister, which prompted me to contact her to offer help in researching her story, re-creating a timeline, and sharing her story to this website so that either a) the Law Enforcement can find it if they are trying to search for a Jane Doe match, or b) someone may recognize her. I have also urged for a police report to be filed, so that the NamUs entry could be approved by a Detective.)

6 thoughts on “Christine Denise James, Missing Since 1979 or 1980

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      1. Thank you for that information. So in a situation like this would they be able to possibly identify off of physical characteristics and maybe dental records if any existed? In this case especially… there’s no post Mortem photo but they look very close and based on the location this doe was found, the dates, amid other circumstances would they be able to make a rule out or a match? I would assume dna will never be available especially because the people who were suppose to be her #1s don’t even know exactly what year she went missing let alone an approximate month etc…

      2. The sister was too young to know what year she vanished. She was a small child. The other family members knew but they are now deceased. The detectives are aware of the Doe. No, she doesn’t have dental records. Her sister does have a good idea as to when she went missing. And through putting the pieces together I was able to get a more accurate month. She went missing around September of 1979, possibly October, November, December, and maybe January of 1980. It’s about a 5 month span that we could narrow it down to. She was still in a detention center in Sept of 1979.

        Yes, they can often identify people based on characteristics. But since it’s a cold case, I’m sure they’d want to use DNA…. since the sister can’t go see what she looks like in person to identify her.

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