On the 13th of May, 2008, 19-year-old Brandon Swanson was having a night out with some friends in Lynd, Minnesota, to celebrate completing his first year at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
Between 10:30pm and 11:00pm, Brandon left the celebrations and drove to a friends house in Canby to say goodbye to another classmate. His friends say that Brandon was not drunk when he left the celebrations.
At the friend’s house in Canby, witnesses say that he had a shot of whisky, but did not appear to be drunk and seemed fine. He left the party sometime after 12:00am to return to his home in Marshall.
Brandon was driving on Highway 68, which is a direct route from Canby to Marshall. It takes around 30 minutes to drive that distance.
At 1:15am, Brandon crashed into a ditch near a gravel road. He tried to call his friends for help, but no one answered.
At 1:54am, Brandon managed to get in contact with his parents, Brain and Annette Swanson. He described the situation to them and told them that he needed a lift. Brandon told his parents he was between Marshall and Lynd, and that he hadn’t sustained any injuries from the incident.
Brandon’s parents drove to the location Brandon gave them to pick him up – but he was not there. Annette called Brandon, and they both agreed to flash their lights at each other to see where they were. Annette could hear Brandon flashing his lights over the phone, and at some point, she said: “We’re flashing our lights! We’re flashing our lights!”. Brandon responded to this by saying: “Don’t you see me?”
Becoming frustrated that they couldn’t see each other, Brandon told his mother he could see Lynd town lights and that he was going to start walking towards the town. Brandon explained that he was going to cut across fields so that he would get there quicker, and stayed on the phone with his parents the whole time.
On his journey, he walked across gravel roads, saw two fence lines and heard running water.
At around 47 minutes, the call disconnected after Brandon yelled “Oh, Shit–!”. Brian, Brandon’s father, said that it sounded like he had tripped and fallen over.
Many attempts were made to try and reach Brandon’s mobile phone, but it just kept ringing before going to voicemail.
At 6:30am the next morning, Brandon’s parents reported him missing. The police dismissed the claim to start with and even told Brandon’s parents that it was his “right” to go missing and that it wasn’t unusual for young men to fall off the grid for a few hours.
Later that day, phone records showed that Brandon had been calling his parents from near Porter, not Lynd. His car was found about a mile and a half from Taunton. Brandon’s car had no physical damage to it, and inside of the car there was no evidence to suggest that Brandon was hurt or injured.
Over the following months, police and volunteers alike searched the 122-mile radius with walkers, boats, dogs and land vehicles in hopes of finding Brandon. The Yellow Medicine River, along with all the other bodies of water around the area where Brandon went missing, were searched thoroughly.
Despite these extensive searches, no trace of Brandon has ever been found.
Authorities, along with many people, believe that Brandon died that night and his remains are somewhere within the 122-mile radius where he was walking. However, since no evidence of this has ever been found, Brandon is still considered a missing person.
Whilst this case doesn’t have a happy ending, Brandon’s parents managed to get Brandon’s Law passed. This law means that law enforcement must take immediate action to file missing persons report if someone is reported missing under dangerous circumstances no matter their age. Law enforcement must then do a preliminary investigation to conclude whether the person is missing, if they are endangered, and notify all other law enforcement agencies about the situation.
Unsolved, Missing, True Crime, Minnesota, USA, Missing Adult, Mystery