Jay and Jaymie GrahlmanCourtesy photo Shannon Salmons
Jay Grahlman with daughter Jaymie

I always know this day is coming long before it arrives. With a list of unsolved cases now at 615, one would think it would be difficult to keep them all straight. With some — where few details are available — the answer would be yes. But with others — the ones where I’ve had the opportunity to review autopsy reports and other documentation and even gotten to know the victim’s family members — I not only know the cases intimately, but feel the unsettled rustling deep down inside as an anniversary date approaches.

Jaymie GrahlmanCourtesy photo Shannon Salmons
Jaymie Grahlman

The Jay and Jaymie Grahlman double homicide is one such case.

On a day like today — the 9th anniversary since the arson fire in their home that would claim both their lives — my mind plays out different scenarios in my head: What Shannon Salmons (Jaymie’s mother) might be doing at this very moment … is she looking through photo albums? Putting flowers on Jaymie’s grave? Writing in a journal or somewhere else about how another year has passed with no answers?

And what about Steve and Lori Salmons, Shannon’s brother and sister-in-law, who sat at Jaymie’s hospital bedside until Shannon arrived and hospital personnel eventually turned off the life support once they’d had the chance to say their final goodbyes? Or what about Duane Grahlman, who’d spent that last day with his brother Jay, barbecuing outside despite the chilly weather?

Jay Grahlman with his childrenCourtesy photo Shannon Salmons
Jay Grahlman with his children Leanna and Boseck (back row) and in front, Ida Mae and Jaymie.

This case is one of the tough ones. There are still more questions than answers when it comes down to who started the fire. Or how Jaymie ended up lying in the bathtub in a supine position, stretched out full length, as if simply taking a nap. Or why the burns were confined solely to the front of her six-year-old body. And why were there no burns on her feet? Why no singeing to her beautiful long brown hair?

This case did not end when neighbor Brian Zirtzman — charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson — was acquitted on all three charges. The double homicide remains an open case — one that continues to baffle authorities, who still aren’t convinced Zirtzman started the fire. Like nearly all arson cases where a body is discovered after the fire, this one also has the presupposition that the fire was set to cover up another more heinous crime.

This case is far from over.

Answers will be exhumed from the smoke and mirrors that once reflected and furthered fiery lies. This time, though, when the flames wane and weaken to all but crackling cinders, truth will find a backdraft and burst forth justice in a mighty blaze.

2 Responses to Jay and Jaymie: Nine Years, No Justice

  1. Kendra says:

    This Article is Heart Bearing for so many, I think The Salmons & Grahlmans have went through this tragedy knowing and not knowing how to stay strong. This article is so Accurate, The truth will soon come to a head and set these Families at Peace!

Comment Policy

We encourage thoughtful discussion here but ask that comments remain civilized and constructive … i.e. without personal attacks or name-calling. Be respectful of others and remember that victims' family members visit these pages, too. If you'd like to provide us with information regarding a suspect or have other sensitive details to relay, please email us directly. Thank you in advance.

Share Your Thoughts