It’s evident when you speak with Starr Lara that she is determined to find out what happened to her older sister Jamie.
“You never give up on your sister, “ Starr told Dateline.
Jamie Grissim, 16 at the time, left her and her sister’s foster home the morning of December 7, 1971 for another school day at Fort Vancouver High School in Vancouver, Washington. Jamie and Starr were placed into a foster home together at very young ages: Jamie was five and Starr nearly four. Starr always greatly admired her older sister, whom she called her “protector.”
Jamie was outgoing and popular. And she loved horses. She was a hardworking student, and was on track to graduate a year early from high school, according to her sister Starr. On that chilly December day, she only had two classes to attend, Starr told Dateline.
But Jamie didn’t come home that day. It was if she simply vanished into thin air.
It would be nearly six months until Jamie’s purse, ID and other possessions were discovered about 20 miles away, along a rural road outside Battleground, Washington. But they did not hold the answers as to what happened to her. Her case is the oldest missing person’s case in Clark County, according to the sheriff’s office.
Authorities believe Jamie was murdered and have long believed she may have been the first victim of suspected serial killer Warren Leslie Forrest. Authorities believe Forrest may have raped and killed at least six young women in Clark County in the early 1970s.
Forrest was charged and convicted in connection with the killing of a 19-year-old Vancouver woman, Krista Kay Blake, in 1979. He received a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
Forrest was denied parole in 2011 and again in early 2014. Starr spoke before the board on both instances. She firmly believes Forrest is responsible for her sister’s death, and is extremely vocal about her opposition to the possibility of him ever being released.
“There is no way he should ever even think about leaving prison,” Starr said.
When asked if she has forgiven Forrest for his believed involvement, Starr is equally as clear. "Yes I have forgiven him. He killed his own life in a way," she said. "The one thing that I can't forgive him for is for withholding the truth."
Forrest has not been charged in connection with Jamie's disappearance or any of the murders for which authorities suspect him.
Jamie's case remains open and active, according to police.
Although 45 years have passed since that chilly December morning, Starr is determined as ever to bring Jamie home.
The details of her sister haven’t faded away; Jamie’s love for rock music, her “beautiful” poetry, her cursive handwriting, or that she loved chewing on lemons.
But most of all, Starr remembers Jamie’s love. “She was the best big sister ever,” Starr told Dateline. “I love her."
If you have any information regarding Jamie’s case, please contact the Clark County Sherriff’s Office at (360) 397-2024.
You can also visit the website jamiegrissim.com, run by Jamie's sister Starr, for more information.