James Berkeley Norris, II

James Berkeley Norris, II

Birth
Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Death Oct 1974 (aged 24)
Dixie County, Florida, USA
Burial Suisun City, Solano County, California, USA
Plot Lawn D, Row 8, Plot 47
Memorial ID 15622165 · View Source
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UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
AFTER BEING A MISSING PERSON FOR 36+ YEARS OUR BROTHER'S REMAINS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED, RETURNED HOME, AND BURIED AT ROCKVILLE CEMETERY IN FAIRFIELD, CA! THERE IS AN ACTIVE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION IN PROGRESS TO FIND HIS MURDERER(S). IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT THE FLORIDA DEPT. OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AT 850-410-7450 OR DIXIE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE AT 352-498-1220 OR CRIME STOPPERS OF CITRUS COUNTY AT 888-ANY-TIPS. YOU MAY SUBMIT A TIP ANONYMOUSLY & BE ELIGIBLE FOR A REWARD. YOUR ANONYMITY IS GUARANTEED! OUR FAMILY WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE TO FDLE, Crime Stoppers of Citrus County FL, DCSD, NamUS, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS FORENSIC SERVICES UNIT, CALIFORNIA DEPT. OF JUSTICE, AND THE CITY OF FAIRFIELD CA POLICE DEPT.

My brother James was living near the Haight in San Francisco, California in the early 1970's. He was working as an E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) teacher and supplemented his income by wrenching on VW bugs and selling marijuana here and there. Please do not hurry to judgement; this was the San Francisco of the 1970's and 24 year old James was nothing unusual for that time and place.

The summer of 1974 found my brother restless and anxious for a change. He was ready to leave the City and devised a plan to earn some quick money. He decided to go to Florida to purchase a large quantity of marijuana at a good price. His plan was to bring it back to San Francisco, turn it over and move on. I guess this must have seemed like a great idea to him at the time.

Two days before he boarded the plane he visited his family, telling us he was going to take a brief vacation in Florida. He asked us to take care of Casaelya, his beloved Afghan Hound. I remember being surprised to see that he had cut his long hair to collar-length, giving him a very respectable appearance. What a change from his normal Jim Morrison look!

His flight left on the evening of October 3rd, 1974. Flight records show that he landed in Miami early in the morning of the 4th. A couple of days later we received a post card from him with a p.m. postmark from Inglis in Levy County, Florida, more than six hours north of Miami on the gulf of Mexico. This area was a hotspot for drug smuggling at that time. The postmark was dated October 4th, the same day he arrived. We never heard from him again.

In the 36 years that my brother has been missing I hear the same thing all the time from people wishing to express comfort and support: I know they mean well, but I cannot bear to hear, "He may be still out there somewhere. He may show up someday." My heart breaks every time I hear that.

My brother was a loving and devoted son. His family meant the world to him and he would never have chosen to put us through the agony of the last several decades. James was murdered for the money that he was carrying, money that was surely blown within two weeks by individuals who thought nothing of snuffing out a life.

A fantastic resource is the California Missing Persons DNA Database. Other states are expected to add their own databases and, eventually, we will have a nation-wide system. The California system is administered through the state's Department of Justice. My family members submitted DNA samples obtained through cheek swabs and a profile was constructed for my brother. This will be used to compare his genetic profile with those of unidentified remains. Through The Doe Network I came across a John Doe that looks strikingly similar to my brother. I contacted the medical examiner in that state, they extracted DNA from the remains, and sent it to the CA Department of Justice. The comparison is currently in the works. *UPDATE: The comparison was negative and the search goes on. I am happy to know that the John Doe now has DNA information available for comparisons with other missing people.

Nationwide there are about 40,000 unidentified bodies and remains in morgues and in paupers' graves. My brother's remains may be discovered someday. I yearn for the day when I can find the grave that contains his remains. When that day comes I will bring him home and lay him to rest. I will give him back his name and the dignity he deserves as a child of God. He will have a place his family and friends can visit. They can sweep the leaves that gather and can place a flower to honor him. Until that day comes, though, I'll keep doing research and keep asking people to look at his case in the hope that this heartbreaking mystery will one day be solved.

I would like to extend a very special thank you to Julie Jackson for sponsoring my brother's memorial.


Family Members


  • Created by: Rosemary
  • Added: 4 Sep 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 15622165
  • Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Berkeley Norris, II (19 Nov 1949–Oct 1974), Find a Grave Memorial no. 15622165, citing Rockville Cemetery, Suisun City, Solano County, California, USA ; Maintained by Rosemary (contributor 46541750) .