The Mysterious Disappearance Of Brandon Swanson

I heard about this case on the Trace Evidence podcast and it is so baffling that someone can just apparently vanish without a trace.

Who is Brandon Swanson

Brandon Swanson was a 19-year-old from Marshall, Minnesota who lived at home with his parents and sister, they were a close family. He was an avid reader, with a keen interest in science.

He was also blind in his left eye.

The disappearance

On 13th May 2008, Brandon was coming to the end of his first year in college and made plans to celebrate with friends. He attended a small gathering at a house, where it is said that there was alcohol, however, Brandon did not appear to be drunk

Around 10:30 pm, he left the gathering to drive to Canby, which is 30 miles away from Marshall, to visit a friend from school to say goodbye.

It was said that there was a party at the house he went to and that he was seen to have a shot of whisky, but he didn’t stay long, leaving around midnight. Again, it was reported that he did not appear drunk.

The route home is a straight route on highway 68, given that his college was also in Canby, it was a route he took often. However, on this occasion, Brandon decided to the back roads.

The back roads in this area are gravel roads, surrounded by farmland with no lighting and soon after taking the detour, Brandon got his car stuck in a ditch.

After unsuccessfully trying to free the car, he called some friends and eventually his parents. He said he was near a town not far from his house called Lynd and he was near a golf course, his parents left to pick him up.

When his parents arrived at the location he had described, Brandon was nowhere to be seen, they called Brandon back and they drove around flashing their lights, given the dark, flat farmlands, this would have been easily visible from some distance, Brandon also got back in his car to flash his lights but flashing lights could not be seen by either party.

At about 2:17 am, Brandon told his parents he said he would walk towards a friend’s house, so his dad drove the short distance (around 7 miles) to drop Brandon’s mum back home and Brandon and his dad agreed to meet in a car park in Lynd.

When his dad was on his way back, he called Brandon, who said he was taking a shortcut across some fields, he was heading towards lights he could see in the distance, which he believed to be Lynd. He began describing his surroundings to his dad, such as fences he needed to climb and that he could hear running water. 

At around 3:10 am, after they had been on the phone for over 45 minutes, Brandon said “Oh shit” then the call went dead. Brandon’s dad later said he thought he may have heard a sound like his foot slipping.

Believing Brandon should be nearby, his dad began calling his name and trying to call him back but the phone just kept ringing. After a short while, he called his wife and they started calling Brandon’s friends where they all began searching for him along Highway 68.

Reported missing

At 6:30 am Brandon’s parents called the police, who initially showed little concern, stating that it was perfectly normal for people of his age not to come home and as an adult, he has a right to be missing, therefore they did not conduct an immediate search.

Later that day, copies of Brandon’s mobile phone records were obtained, revealing the reason that Brandon was not in Lynd but somewhere near the areas of Taunton & Porter, 25 miles away, when he called his parents.

Searching for Brandon

A search of these areas began, and because of the different jurisdictions, there were now several different police forces involved.

Later that day, Brandon’s car was discovered in a ditch, 1 mile North of Highway 68 with very little damage, there was no sign of Brandon or his belongings.

Search and rescue teams were deployed, but only one dog was able to get a scent for Brandon using some of his clothes. The search led them on a route matching the one Brandon described to his dad, over two fences and through some water, but the scent was lost on a gravel road, which had been turned over that morning.

There was a scent of a body picked up in a mud creek, however, nothing has been found.

30 days after Brandon’s disappearance, aerial & river searches were conducted with river gates put in place to catch anything floating through but there was no evidence to show Brandon fell into the river. None of Brandon’s belongings have ever been found.


Why did Brandon take the back roads when Highway 68 was a direct route home? Was he concerned that he may be over the limit?

What made Brandon think he was in Lynd by a golf course?

Why have none of Brandons belongings or articles of clothing ever been found?


As you can imagine, there are lots of theories about what happened to Brandon, such as that he fell into the river or that he was shot by a farmer or picked up by someone and taken against his will, but with no evidence and very few tips on the tip line, set up in 2010, it is impossible to determine.

Brandon’s law

After Brandon’s disappearance, his family worked with the state legislators to implement a new law signed by the Minnesota Governor, requiring, Minnesota law enforcement,  to report and investigate (without delay) the disappearance of any person over 18, which has now also been passed by other states.

What are your thoughts? ♥️

2022-07-12 12:53:00

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