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Remembering Jamie

20 years later, still more questions than answers
Jamie Stickle. Photo by Mara Rago

Twenty years ago this past month, Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ Community suddenly and shockingly lost a beloved member.

Jamie Lynn Stickle had moved to the city to live with her long-term girlfriend. She took up bartending at Downtown gay & lesbian clubs, such as the now-closed Sidekicks, to help make ends meet. At the end of her shifts, she’d mesh into the queer nightlife, loving her city.

Stickle was known as an upbeat, jovial person who was fun to be around and always cracking jokes. She often used her position as a bartender to support charitable causes such as fundraising for breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS research. She was a very connected, active, respected figure in the LGBTQ+ Community of Pittsburgh.  

“JUSTICE FOR JAMIE” Angie, Sprout, Joe, Tom, Brian, & Tracie. Photo by Mara Rago

In the early morning hours of February 8, 2002, Pittsburgh firefighters responded to a burning Jeep parked in a lot near the George Warhola Scrap Yard on the North Side of the 16th Street Bridge. Once they quenched the blaze, they found Jamie Stickle’s body inside. Blood and her belongings were strewn around her car and up to her apartment, evidence of a struggle. The coroner could only officially rule her death as “undetermined.”

Her death, especially the brutality of it, was such a shock at the time and remains so to this day. Who would wish violence against her? Even before social media, everybody in the local queer community knew each other and everyone else’s business – which makes the mystery around Stickle’s death even more disturbing. She had recently broken up with her girlfriend, but she had an alibi. She had no known enemies. Hundreds of interviews later, detectives are still unsure about the circumstances around her death.

Memorial candlelight vigil for Jamie. Photo by Mara Rago

A “United for Jamie” campaign raised a monetary reward for whoever could provide any further details on the crime. That money was mishandled and lost by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh. On behalf of Stickle’s mother, Divine Intervention Ministries along with the local police included Jamie among other cold cases on a billboard on 16th Street Bridge in 2004. Investigators deem the case open but inactive and are awaiting an attack of conscious to prompt someone to come forward.

With dearth of evidence, rumors circulate and true crime hobbyists speculate with the few clues they have. Was this a hired hit from someone outside of Pittsburgh? Could she have been a victim of a hate crime? Did her murderer or murderers act on the spur-of-the-moment? Whatever happened, Jamie didn’t deserve her fate.

Jamie Stickle was born on April 1, 1968. Known as a “tough tomboy,” she grew up in “The Patch” of Uniontown and was the only girl on her high school basketball team. She loved Valentine’s Day and butterflies.

Anyone with information regarding Jamie’s murder are encouraged to contact the Pittsburgh Police at (412) 323-7800