A Lawrence County family has struggled for the last five years to keep loved ones memory alive as the search for Janson Brewer continues.
Brewer’s family went to the end of the world to find out what happened to him.
“Someone said he was fed the pigs. So we went out and looked at the property, had a team of corpse dogs and we weren’t lucky, ”said stepfather Patrick Youtsey.
The rumor mill in this small community has offered several conspiracies. Loved ones claim they did their best to look at each one.
“We have followed up other leads. One he had in a trailer house and maybe got put in a septic tank so we pumped it and didn’t make anything of it, ”Youtsey continued.
They even looked into a point that Brewer had been hit in the neck with a hatchet and his body had been rolled up in a tarpaulin. But tip for tip everyone has led to a deeper heartache.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard when you see someone who has so much good in them and everyone misses them. But when everything is taken away from you, it’s very rough,” Youtsey said, tearing it open.
Brewer was 27 years old when he went missing in August 2016.
“I texted him and asked if he would like to go fishing this Saturday the 19th,” said Brother Joshua Brewer.
Conversations about fishing would be the last conversation Joshua would have with his brother.
“I was called to work at the time,” Joshua recalled when he sent his brother a Facebook message. “I said I couldn’t make it, but the worms were in my mother’s fridge in their house, so they made him welcome.” He added, “And I saw where he checked but he never replied and that was the last time I ever heard from him.”
The St. Joseph Police Department initially took the case, which was later transferred to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and, in 2019, to the 22nd District Attorney’s Office.
“The leads just came in at the front end,” said Jeff Dunn, criminal investigator at the DA office. “But nothing worked. I really had no idea what actually happened. ”
Investigators believe Brewer last drove a silver Ford Ranger with a stepped bed and was with a man named Daniel Braden, who used the first name Shawn. Neither have been seen since then.
“What makes it especially difficult in today’s society is the fact that we have social media, so much social media, everything is now published so much more that it’s just difficult for an investigator because it got the rumor mill, so to speak started, so to speak, ”said Dunn. “And everyone wants to be involved and everyone thinks they know tidbits here and there, and they hear a story and tell it to five different people. That leads to us being flooded with leads that really aren’t essential.”
Both men have had problems with the law before, but the family said it didn’t fix their injuries and Brewer has a good heart.
He is the father of three children, including a son who died of an illness at a young age. The loved ones noticed red flags when the mother of his children heard nothing from him.
“This is his baby mom. When he’s out of touch with her, you know something is wrong because that’s his pride and joy, his gold right there, ”said Brother Josh Tatum. “Family and children. He would take a bullet for his family and children. ”
Your efforts to publicize Brewer’s case are fueled by the goal of someday getting his children closed.
“[We want to] Keep this fresh on everyone’s lips that he’s still missing and maybe passed away or whatever, but we still want to find a degree for him because he has two kids who need that and a mother and family, Brothers and sisters who would like to graduate I know what happened to him, ”said Joshua. “If it’s something we can’t have the remains or whatever, but we want to have a closure and be able to calm the family and everything.”
A family friend contacted News 2 about this unsolved case. He has also seen the family suffer for years.
“I mean, we’re going through tough times. If I left this world without knowing what happened to my son, I can’t imagine it, ”said Eric Armstrong. “They need closure, they need something. Someone knows something and I think someone should come up and say something. ”
The brewers’ mother and stepfather were torn as they looked back at photos and memories they shared with him. His mother hopes Brewer and his son are reunited upstairs.
“It means the world to me because I need a degree, I need to know where my baby is and that I can put it next to his son. That was his pride and joy, his little boy who died, ”Loria told Youtsey. “He was just always sad about him, he always talked about him, he missed him so much. Closure is what I need to find his body and put him there with the rest of the family. ”
The family claimed they were disappointed with their son’s investigation so far.
“Not knowing is what is killing me. I just can’t take it. “
Loria Youtsey, mother
The DA office said they haven’t given up and are working with the TBI on leads, including some that have surfaced recently. Dunn said he shares the family’s frustration and wants them to know that he is determined to find answers.
“You know, we have 20 year old murders that we could solve. So it’s just the right information and the right person to come forward, the truth, to finally get out, ”said Dunn. “And I really think I’m confident we’ll find him.”
Investigators have followed up on a lot of rumors and suspicions, but right now they really need people to come forward and have informed tips and factual information about the case. You will continue to follow up on any incoming tips.
Tips can be submitted by calling the 22nd District Attorney at their Lawrence County office at 931-766-1453 or their Columbia office at 931-380-2536.
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