The information provided in this week’s feature can be found in public records, therefore the names have not been changed. Read at your own risk.
In the spring of 1989, Robert Earl Jines — a 19-year-old migrant worker— and his girlfriend traveled from where they lived in Lakeland, Florida to Estillfork, Alabama for a logging job. Despite only having met their new boss, Frank T. Potts, one month prior, they accepted his invitation to stay with him in his cabin on Garrett Mtn. while they worked.
On the morning of April 1, 1989, as usual, Potts, Jines, and a small crew of men, left early for work, leaving Robert’s girlfriend behind at the cabin. Later that night, however, Robert’s girlfriend noticed that he had not returned; and with no explanation from Potts or his crew…
Robert Jines was never seen again.
Unfortunately Jines and his girlfriend were unaware that Potts had just been released one year prior, in 1988, after serving six years in a Florida prison on sex offender charges. According to Jines’ girlfriend, she was held captive in the cabin for two weeks following Jines’ disappearance; and was only released once Potts got word that her family was looking for her. Frank T. Potts had also been suspected of several other abductions and murders over the years, but had never been convicted.
A few years later in 1994, in Port Orange, FL, a town about two hours northeast of Lakeland, Sue Sault was at home when she heard her four-year-old son, Nicholaus, chatting with someone on the back porch. When she realized he was clearly alone at the time, she called out to him through the kitchen window.
“Who you talkin’ to, Nicholaus?”
“Bobby,” he replied.
“Bobby- who?” She asked while drying her hands with a dish towel.
“Bobby Jines,” Nicholaus called back.
Now, at the time, the name meant nothing to her. But, she wrote it down anyway and put it next to the microwave. ‘It’s not every day your kid’s imaginary friend has a first and last name,’ she thought to herself.
A few days later on March 11, 1994, Sue picked up a local newspaper and found a report that the body of Robert Earl Jines had been found in a shallow grave near Potts’ cabin on Garrett Mtn. in northern Alabama. The last name caught her eye, and she started rummaging through the kitchen drawers. She soon found the little scrap of paper with the name, Bobby Jines scrawled across it, and she immediately called for her son.
“Hey, Honey. What were you and your friend, Bobby, talking about the other day on the back porch?” She asked.
“Nothin’ really,” he said, “… Just that they found him.” He shrugged and grabbed an apple off the table. “Maybe they were playin’ hide n’ seek or somethin’?” And with that he was out the door and off to play.
Nicholaus never spoke of his friend Bobby Jines after that day, and on April 14, 1995, it was reported that Frank T. Potts, age 51, had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the death of Robert Earl Jines.
It is believed that Robert Earl Jines had once worked on the development where Sue and her husband had their house built in Port Orange back in the late 80s/ early 90s. And although it is not listed anywhere that he ever went by the nickname, “Bobby,” one can assume he may have had that name as a young boy.
I’d like to thank my husband’s Aunt Sue for sharing her spooky encounter with me. I enjoyed gathering the data and piecing together this very interesting, and SPOOKY story. Do YOU have a spooky story that you’d like to see featured? Send me an email at email@example.com. You can write your own story OR send me the spooky details and I’ll take a stab at it!
(c) 2018 by Abbie Richey Butler
Inspired by true events encountered by the Sault Family
Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels