Editor’s note: The Idaho State Journal is partnering with East Idaho Cold Cases to raise awareness and possibly jog the memory of someone with missing information about 40 unsolved cases in Eastern and Southeastern Idaho.
BOISE — The case of Jeramy Burt, a native of American Falls who disappeared on Feb. 11, 2007, was featured on an episode of “Disappeared” in 2010, and in spite of the national attention, Burt is still missing and authorities have not made an arrest in connection with his disappearance.
His mother, Sheryl Burt, a school bus driver in American Falls, believes her son was the victim of an act of revenge waged by his divorce attorney, Jeannie Braun, aka Jeannie El-Bakri, and Jeannie Hughe, of Boise.
Jeramy secretly taped Braun in conversations regarding illegal activity that she was involved in, and he testified against her in front of a grand jury.
“A restraining order was issued against (Braun), but she ignored it,” Sheryl said. “She tried to bribe Jeramy not to testify — he recorded all of it.”
Braun pleaded guilty to forging a judge’s signature on documents in a custody case, influencing a witness and issuing a check without funds and was subsequently disbarred in the state of Idaho.
She was sentenced to one year in the Ada County Jail and 14 years on probation, but Braun was released from probation last year. She now resides in Utah.
Sheryl said not knowing what happened to her son is the hardest part of losing him.
“When someone you love dies, you have a place where you can go to honor them, to remember them,” Sheryl said. “We don’t have that place to go. We don’t know what happened to Jeramy. His daughter, McKenzie, deserves to know what happened to her dad.”
Jeramy was raised in American Falls and graduated from American Falls High School in 1991.
Following high school, Jeramy joined the Navy and served in the Gulf War. While in the Navy, Jeramy met and married Rena, but the marriage didn’t work and she returned to Japan after the relationship ended.
Jeramy then met and fell in love with Kim George, and the two planned to marry.
“Jeramy and Kim were together for about six years before they decided to get married,” Sheryl said. “He hadn’t divorced before then because his first wife had returned to Japan where their marriage wasn’t even recognized, but when he and Kim decided to get married, he filed for divorce here.”
The couple looked in the Boise phone book and hired Braun.
Jeramy’s divorce was finalized in May 2002, and he and Kim married in 2003. Their daughter McKenzie was born that same year.
However, Jeramy and Kim divorced later that same year, but remained good friends and devoted parents. They continued to live together off and on from 2003 up to his disappearance in 2007.
According to the story line in “Disappeared” Jeramy and Braun became romantically involved at this time.
“I think this woman preys on men,” Sheryl said. “She knew Jeramy was vulnerable, and she preyed on him.”
On the weekend of Feb. 10, 2007, Jeramy and McKenzie visited family in American Falls and Pocatello. They drove back to Boise on Feb. 11 and that same day, Kim flew to a conference in Las Vegas.
Jeramy, Kim, McKenzie, and his father, Van Burt, were all living together in Boise where Jeramy owned and operated Integrity Roofing.
“He and Kim were in the process of getting back together as a couple,” Sheryl said. “She was going into business with some people and went to Las Vegas for training.”
Jeramy and Kim spoke on the phone that evening around 10 p.m., his mother beeped in about 10 minutes into the call to see if he had made it back to Boise safely.
“He told me he was on the other line with Kim. I told him that I loved him and that was the last time I ever spoke to him,” Sheryl said.
Next, according to Van, his son asked him to watch McKenzie while he visited a friend to discuss hunting. Jeramy, an avid hunter, had just purchased a new bow.
Van noted Jeramy showered and put on a nice shirt and jeans before leaving at about 10:30 p.m. and that was last time Jeramy was ever seen.
The next day, Kim said she received strange texts and hang up calls from Jeramy’s cell number. He texted her and stated that he was leaving to start a new life. Kim texted back and forth with him and became suspicious it was not Jeramy texting her.
Jeramy did not answer when she tried to phone him.
When she returned to Boise, Kim discovered her red Mercury Cougar was missing and she filed a missing persons/stolen car report with Boise police.
Jeramy did not take any personal possessions with him, other than his cell phone.
His brother, Shane Burt of Chubbuck, said he had a dreadful premonition that he would never see Jeramy again when he learned that his brother was missing.
“I don’t mean to downplay death, but this is almost worse,” Shane said. “You have all these unanswered questions and it haunts you every day.”
Shane said he met with the police the following weekend, but his family’s sense of urgency was overlooked by law enforcement until they found Kim’s missing car.
“The police asked us to let them take care of it, to not go to the media and we did that,” Shane said. “I think the police dropped the ball when they didn’t take it seriously that weekend.”
Sheryl said missing persons cases involving adults are not always immediate priorities for law enforcement officials because adults often leave of their own accord.
“The police told (Shane) that if they located Jeramy and he didn’t want us to know where he was, (the police) couldn’t tell us,” Sheryl said. “We told them that we just wanted to know that he was OK. I think (Braun) sent the texts to Kim because she knew exactly how the police would respond.”
On May 18, 2007, cowboys riding in a very remote area of Owyhee County discovered a burned vehicle about 45 miles north of the Nevada border. Authorities traced the vehicle identification number to Kim’s stolen car report. Police searched a three to four-mile radius of the area around the car, but found no sign of Jeramy.
Investigators polygraphed several people connected to Jeramy’s disappearance, including Kim, Van and Braun.
Kim and Van both said they passed the lie detector test, but police have not released Braun’s polygraph results.
Braun claimed she hadn’t been in contact with Jeramy for months, however, there was evidence to the contrary.
Shane said Jeramy ended his relationship with Braun prior to testifying against her, but when she was released from jail, Braun contacted Jeramy numerous times. She also reportedly visited his job sites and even stopped by his home.
The family has hired Marki Davis, a private investigator from Utah, to probe Jeramy’s disappearance as well.
Sheryl and Davis met with Boise detectives last month.
“They gave her the go-ahead to start working on the case,” Sheryl said.
Sheryl said Davis is organizing another search of the area where Kim’s car was located in May.
The family is planning a series of fundraisers to finance the investigation and a memorial fund has been set up. Donations to the Jeramy Carl Burt Memorial Fund can be made at any branch of Wells Fargo Bank.
Anyone with information in the case is urged to contact the Boise Police Department at (208) 570-6290, Sgt. Mark Barnett at (208)570-6291, or police approved Private Investigator Marki Davis at (801) 719-9494.