These types of cases interest me. How is it possible that someone is here one minute and gone the next? In Brandon’s case, he vanished whilst on the phone to his parents. It was the end of the summer semester and Brandon had been out partying with other students from Minnesota West Community and Technical College‘s Canby campus. Brandon was not intoxicated according to reports by his peers. He left around midnight on May 14, 2008, to drive his Chevrolet Lumina back to his hometown of Marshall. Having had a few drinks but not said to be intoxicated Brandon decided to drive home using the back lanes and roads. He would accidentally drive his car into a ditch on the way back. The vehicle wasn’t damaged and Brandon was uninjured but he was unable to get the vehicle out of the ditch. Here’s an interview his Mum would give 2 1/2 years after he went missing.
He called his parents on his phone and explained the situation. During this phone call, he told his parents he thought he was near a town called Lynd. His parents drove out to Lynd and Brandon stayed by his vehicle periodically flashing his lights. However, they were unable to locate Brandon. Finally, Brandon said he was going to head towards lights he could see which he thought were Lynd. A town 7 miles southwest of Marshall. He told his parents to meet him at the parking lot of a local bar there. Here’s an interview his mum gave 2 1/2 years after he went Brandon vanished.
They kept him on the phone as he made his way towards the lights but shortly after 2:30 AM Brandon would interrupt himself and shout “Oh shit”. Those were the last words Brandon would say. After this time the call remained silent. His parents tried to hang up and call Brandon back but the calls would go unanswered. Thinking Brandon would arrive at the parking lot and maybe he had damaged his phone they would wait until 6:30 AM before reporting Brandon as missing to local police. His mother, Annette Swanson would be told that it’s not unusual for a teenager of that age to stay out after the last day of College and “it’s his right to be missing”. Shocking considering he was on the phone and then not.
Later that morning the police would search but they were unable to locate Brandon or his vehicle. After requesting the assistance of the Lyon County Sheriff. Joel Dahl assisted them in obtaining Brandon’s phone records. Brandon’s calls were bouncing off a phone tower in the vicinity of Taunton, along State Highway 68, the main route to Canby, northwest of Marshall, 25 miles (40 km) from Lynd. This allowed them to focus the search and Brandon’s vehicle was located in a ditch off a gravel road along the Lincoln County line a mile north of Highway 68. Dogs would quickly be deployed in the search for Brandon.
Search dogs picked up a 3-mile scent trail starting at his vehicle. Dogs followed the scent to an abandoned farm, then along the Yellow Medicine River to a point where it appeared to enter the River. They continued up the other side until the scent would eventually be lost. Brandon would mention whilst on the phone to his parents that he could see lights in the distance and there were fences and water. The police suspect the lights he mentioned were on top of Taunton grain elevator.
Weird or what? I mean. Even if he did fall into the Yellow Medicine River, in some reports the police say they put fences in the water downstream to catch anything like a body. The fact the dogs indicated he entered the water and came out the other side suggests he fell in and got out. We would later find out he was within 5 miles of the phone tower. That tower is located at the intersection of County Routes 3 and 10 near Minneota, another town along Highway 68. I have added the information to the below map. It shows where Brandon thought he was in relation to where he actually was. How could a local person get this so wrong? Was he drunk?
As you can see, he was nowhere near where he thought he was. Brandon would leave his vehicle, follow the route plotted and start to travel offroad and along fields. The logical explanation is he fell down the bank and into the river. Let’s go with that. He managed to get out the other side and travelled a distance before succumbing to hypothermia. Where is his body? Assuming he went in the river that could explain why his phone went silent. It likely wasn’t waterproof. It would still ring for his parents even if it didn’t ring for Brandon. Having said that, you would have thought his parents would have heard more than “oh shit”. Water, Brandon sliding down the bank of the river. It makes no sense. Head over to the Vanished Forums and let me know what you think!