Jackson County authorities reopen 50-year-old fire mystery

Jackson County authorities have exhumed two bodies in the hopes of solving a more than 50-year-old mystery.

Lt. Adam Nicholson is investigating the fire at a makeshift cabin near Brownstown in December 1971. Three teens — 17-year-old Stanley R. Robison, 19-year-old Jerry Autry and 16-year-old Michael W. Sewell — were believed to be camping there when a fatal fire broke out the night of December 18th. The bodies were badly burned in the fire and Robison and Autry’s remains were identified as victims, primarily by their class rings found in the cabin. Sewell was reported missing that day and never seen again.

Sheriff Rick Meyer said a family member reached out to him, asking for the case to be revisited.

The bodies were exhumed from Fairview Cemetery in Brownstown last week and they were taken by anthropologists to the University of Indianapolis to be analyzed. Dr. Krista Latham, a professor of biology and anthropology, will be investigating whether the remains could have been more than those of two people.

The families of the deceased were notified and gave consent to have the bodies exhumed.

If you have any information on the case, you can call Nicholson at 812-358-2141.