Eighteen years ago, Branson Perry disappeared from the town of Skidmore, Missouri, and now the Nodaway County Sheriff Office is reaching out on social media for new leads.
“We have reinitiated going back through this case and are looking at how we can bring it back to life and is there anything else we can do to make it work,” said Sheriff Randy Strong.
According to Strong, who said he began looking into the disappearance two years ago following his election, the case has had few leads in almost two decades. Strong said this is partially due to the fact that Perry was last seen on April 11, 2001, at a residence that burned down only days later.
Strong said he believes drugs were involved in the incident, something Perry’s aunt, Gail MacMurray, said she is unsure of.
“Branson told me a lot about his personal life, but there were some things that he protected me from or would not talk to me about,” MacMurray said.
MacMurray is one of the last remaining relatives of Perry, with his mother, father, grandparents and others having passed since his disappearance. MacMurray said that for many years the family has been working to find clues about Perry’s disappearance alongside the Missouri State Highway Patrol. MacMurray, Strong and Dustin Lyle, who is with the patrol, all believe this is a homicide investigation, not just a missing person case.
“This has just been one nightmare,” MacMurray said. “I want justice served. I want him found. We need the body, we need to find the body, and we need to find him.”
Strong said he has his suspicions about who killed Perry, but he has been unable to get much traction on the case.
“There have been some really good detectives that have worked on it in the past. I know most of them from the Highway Patrol and different agencies that have come in and looked,” Strong said. “They’ve laid a really good foundation and I think they’re on target, and it’s up to us to pick up the ball and see if we can take it and finish.”
MacMurray said she hopes that someone will come forward, even anonymously, with information about what happened to Perry or where his remains can be found.
“We need an end to the nightmare,” MacMurray said. “His family is dwindling, and I want closure. I want an end to the nightmare, so my family and Branson’s mom and little brother can be at peace.”
Anyone with information can contact Nodaway County Sheriff Randy Strong at 660-582-7451, the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 800-877-3452, or Gail MacMurray at 660-659-2382.