22 Years Later, the Pursuit of Justice for Jamie Stickle

Jamie Stickle. Photo by Mara Rago

Within the LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh, Jamie Stickle’s name is synonymous with warmth, generosity, and a life brutally cut short under mysterious circumstances. Her unsolved death has haunted our community for over two decades, and with the forthcoming release of “The Girl with the Same Name: The Cold Case of Jamie Stickle,” a new podcast aims to shed light on this enduring enigma.

Jamie Stickle, a beloved bartender and philanthropist, was known for her infectious joy and her tireless work for causes like HIV/AIDS research, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis. She was not just a fixture behind the bar of Pittsburgh gay clubs; Jamie was a beacon of hope in our community, raising funds and awareness with every drink she served and every event she hosted​​​​.

Tragedy struck 22 years ago today in the early hours of February 8, 2002, when Jamie’s life was extinguished in a fire that consumed her Jeep Wrangler outside her North Side apartment. The community was left reeling as police investigations into the suspicious circumstances yielded more questions than answers. No suspects were identified, and the case, clouded with uncertainties and a lack of conclusive evidence, went cold​​.

In the wake of this tragedy, the community came together in an outpouring of grief and solidarity. Candlelight vigils were held, and the “United for Jamie” campaign was launched, culminating in events like the touching memorial that saw 48 candles casting a soft glow along Liberty Avenue, each flame a testament to Jamie’s radiant life​​. Fundraising efforts, spearheaded by friends and local LGBTQ-owned businesses, amassed significant funds in hopes of finding new leads. Yet, despite the sizable reward offered, Jamie’s case remains unresolved​​​​.

Jamie’s story takes a compelling turn next week with the introduction of a true crime podcast dedicated to unraveling the mystery. Jaime Stickle, a writer, actor, and podcaster who shares a strikingly similar name with Jamie, is at the helm of this investigative endeavor.

While the LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh and worldwide listen in, there is a collective hope that this podcast will reignite the search for truth and justice.

Today we simply remember Jamie.

QBurgh will have ongoing coverage of the Jamie Stickle case and podcast over the next weeks and months as episodes are released.

Jim Sheppard is a resident of Downtown Pittsburgh. Jim served as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission which investigates instances of discrimination in the City of Pittsburgh and recommends necessary protections in our City Code to provide all people in Pittsburgh with equal opportunities. He has worked for Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh Mayor, and the Allegheny County Controller. For five years he was the President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (He / Him / His)