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Updated: Nov 22, 2023

In the year 2020 we can all agree, was one of the hardest years by far that the younger generation has had to live through. We were all a little scared, cooped up in our homes. Things were taking a toll. Working from home with your spouse, and kids and pets. Home schooling during the week, something that was added to our plates. Every household ordered everything they could online because we weren’t sure if the outside world was safe. Businesses were closed and even stores had certain times that you could shop, based on your age. Let’s just imagine that uncertainty, in a world that we all experienced coupled with mental illness and an on again off again drug addiction. What are your chances of turning things around? Today we tell a story of a man that walked this walk, free to his own devices and into the Covid 19 pandemic, while hanging onto hope that one day his life will be different.

First, I would like to take this time to thank Shelley and Darrell Barron, the parents of Brandon Barron. I spoke with them for hours, something I was not expecting but also glad I could get to know their son better. The memories they shared with me of Brandon painted vividly in their minds. They hold on to the hope that one day they will be able to share other times with him. Shelley said she wishes she could just hold him.

Brandon, enjoying work in the restaurant.

That face is the most precious

Brandon Lee Barron was born in Fayetteville Arkansas, on April 7, 1986, to parents Shelley and Darrell Barron. Brandon, the oldest of three children, always tried to set an example for his younger brother and sister. Growing up in West Fork Arkansas, all the siblings enjoyed the outdoors. Darrell recalled a story of him and Brandon and his little brother Michael, were on a family camping trip. Brandon and Michael wanting to swim. Darrell agreed but warned the children to stay close to the riverbank, because the water became deep very quickly. Darrell stated, "I only had on my jeans, and you know my wallet and such in my pockets." Darrell would only turn away for a moment, when he turned back, he witnessed Bradon's tiny hand waving above the water. Not thinking twice Darrell jumped in to grab his son and bring him to land. Once there, catching his breath and in completely soaked jeans Brandon said to his father "You know dad if you see me waving my hand like that, that means come and get me". Laughing hysterically about the memory, I could hear the happiness in Darrell's voice and in turn made me chuckle.

Brandon while in band

Brandon was an excellent student and was quite frankly very intelligent. Shelley told me a story in his first day of kindergarten. Brandon came home and recited a poem to her he memorized from class, earlier that day. From a young age Brandon was always making his grades and a very bright young man. His junior and senior years Brandon was a part of the choir and played the euphonium and was a drum major. He graduated from West Fork high school and enrolled in college courses. The college path was short lived because Brandon did not feel as if he was being challenged enough and found the material to be quite boring. Although very intelligent Brandon was a horrible driver. He could not keep focused on the road long enough and almost caused some accidents that frightened Brandon to the point he gave up on ever getting a license and always preferred to walk to his destinations. Brandon worked some odd jobs in clubs as a DJ, he loved dancing and would also perform karaoke from time to time. However, when Brandon started a job at Smitty's, a restaurant in Fayetteville, that is when he found his passion, working in restaurant setting and serving people. Employed as a server and bartender, Brandon wanted to be, be hide the food. Brandon enjoyed cooking and was later employed as a sous chef for a catering company. He brought his skills home, to show his family. Bread and mashed potatoes were his specialty. It was sometime around here when Brandon started to lose his way. Maybe hanging around the wrong crowd, or a mental illness that was coming forth or both. These days would haunt him and play a part in everyday life for Brandon.

Brandon, enjoying one of his favorite activities, karaoke.

As the dreaded year of 2020 began, Brandon was hoping to sort out his legal troubles and start his life fresh. Brandon had been in some trouble stemming back to 2019 for possession of methamphetamines. In early March Brandon found himself arrested again for failure to appear in court from a previous arrest made by his strange behavior in public. Police assumed because of his record he might be under the influence, but this was never proven. In March of 2020, the start of the Covid 19 pandemic Brandon was released from the local jail. This release did not come without monitoring, however. Brandon would be released but, on the terms, deemed appropriate, with a court date in the near future. Brandon was required to wear a wrist monitor and was given a cell phone, which was a secondary way to keep track of his whereabouts and allowed the bail agency to keep in contact with Brandon. Brandon found housing in Fort Smith, but the stay was short lived as he would be back in trouble with the law for his drug use and removing his wrist monitor. Back out in the world, now homeless, Brandon's mental state was declining as he began making death threats against his parents. Still wanting to help Brandon, Darrell picked his son up in Fort Smith and put him in a local hotel. Brandon’s sister also tried to help her brother by letting him stay at her place but when she suspected drug use in her own home, she had to make the choice to bring him back to the hotel. When Brandon was completely alone to his own devices is when the spiral would start. Brandon told his sister that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. No one knows how or by whom this diagnosis came from or if he was taking anything to treat this illness. This, was not the only demon Brandon was facing, combined with an addiction to methamphetamine. Brandon was hallucinating, especially about the relationship with his father. Brandon started posting on Facebook about how his father was out to get him. Brandon’s claims seemed even more outrageous against his father when he said his father was working with the local mayor and the government, to cause harm to him. Brandon also claimed the theory V2K technology, also known as Voice to Skull technology, is very real. He believed his father was using it to send signals to his brain from certain electronics such as the microwave and his cell phone. Was Brandon’s drug use the cause of these theories that his own father was out to hurt him along with the government or was his mental health on a slow decline? Maybe this is why he removed the wrist monitor; it could have been sending something to Brandon he did not like. It seems that Brandon was hoping for a fresh start but was slowly drifting back into old habits and not properly taking care of his mental health. Perhaps he didn’t know how to or where to start.

On the morning June 24, 2020, at approximately 5AM police arrived at the family home in West Fork to do a welfare check. Police received a call that Brandon was making public Facebook posts threatening his parents. Checking in and around the home there was no sign of Brandon, and the area was cleared. Later that same morning Darrell took his wife to Fayetteville for her an appointment. Darrell hoped while waiting, to file a no contact order on Brandon but realizing he left his cell phone at home he returned to retrieve it. Suspiciously, he found Brandon ‘s wagon sitting by the front door. Darrell called the police from a neighbor's house and police came out and searched the home for Brandon, but we’re unable to find him. Darrell went back to town and got a “no contact” order placed on Brandon and returned back to Fayetteville to pick up Shelley. After running a few errands, they headed home at about 4:45PM. On their drive back home, they encountered Brandon about a mile out, walking towards the family home. They proceeded up the road and parked so they could watch their driveway, then called, law-enforcement again. Brandon never walked past his parents parked on the side of the road, and his parents never saw him walk up their driveway. When police arrived, they again searched around the home for Brandon, but were unable to locate him. His parents also looked. They drove some of the roads around their home, but we were unable to find him or determine where he went. They had assumed that Brandon was returning to their house to get his wagon that he had left there earlier in the day, because he was walking toward their house, and did not have the wagon. But when they returned to their house, the wagon was gone. After speaking to a cousin, they had stated to Darrell, they had seen Brandon about 45 minutes earlier, walking the opposite direction toward Fayetteville, pulling the wagon. It is assumed he must have stashed the wagon somewhere or gave it to someone for safekeeping. Confused but also relieved, Brandon did not show up at his parent’s home. He didn't call them either. That was the last time anyone has seen their son, but they wouldn't realize it just yet.

Brandon’s parents were trying to give him some space and keep some distance between themselves and Brandon, for the safety of both parties. This logical choice was made and therefore did not have contact with him. They assumed Brandon may have been angry at them for calling the police. They started to suspect something might be wrong around the holiday season at the end of 2020. They reported him missing in January of 2021. Brandon’s friends have also not spoken with him since June of 2020. It seems that everything ceased at that time. Brandon did not have a cellphone; a bank account and he has not been arrested, which may seem strange due to Brandon's lifestyle and his mental health struggles. There is no other way to track the location of Brandon. Brandon told his parents years prior he would like to live in a big city someday. A city that he can easily access what he needs by walking. It is possible Brandon is living in a city, in a homeless community with a simplistic lifestyle. His parents seem to believe that is unlikely, given Brandon’s mental condition they believe he should have been picked up for something by now. Speaking to his mother Shelley, she said “I feel in my gut, like a mother’s intuition, that Brandon is in the nearby woods somewhere and we just haven’t gotten to him yet”. Shelley is dealing with a multitude of health issues, and she feels guilty she cannot physically trench through the woods to find her son. Brandon’s parents said if someone could just help us, to set up a search party to go inch by inch, that is all we need. Looks like their prayers may just be answered by the world-renowned Texas EquuSearch. Texas EquuSearch is a non-profit organization that was founded by Tim Miller in 2000. Setting up the organization in honor of his late daughter Laura Miller, who was found murdered in the Texas Killing fields decades ago. When visiting the website, the first thing I read was "Don't thank me, thank Laura" -Tim Miller. The team has traveled to many states and even countries to help find missing people. The team hopes to come to Arkansas soon to find Brandon and bring closure to Shelley and Darrell.

What happened to Brandon Lee Barron on June 24, 2020? We can assume he was heading to or from the family home at some point, however no one believes he made it there. What were Brandon’s movements that day before he was seen by family and his parents? More importantly, where did Brandon stash his belongings between the time each person saw him? Because along with Brandon the wagon has never been located either. Did he hide it in the woods, or did he give it to someone to hold on to until he returned? What were Brandon’s intentions that day? And where did Brandon disappear to in the near minutes his parents parked and waited for him to walk down the road? We can all assume he ducked into the woods, but then where did he go from there? Was Brandon having another mental episode and was running from something that he believed was there? Or did he take off to a big city like he hoped to one day? Only Brandon knows, him and his fractured mind.

Brandon was 34 years old the last time he was seen walking along highway 265 in West Fork, AR. He was described as

Gender: Male

Race: White

Weight: 185

Height: 5'11

Hair: Brown

Eyes: Brown

If you have any information about the disappearance of Brandon Lee Barron, please contact the Washington county Sheriff at 479-444-5700.

Namus: MP78891


A photo comparison of a wagon similar to the one Brandon was seen pulling that contained his belongings. The wagon or anything that Brandon may have had on him, has never surfaced.

Please take a look and follow the Facebook page that is set up for Brandon's disappearance. Brandon's parents are desperate for any answers as to why their son vanished and is still missing 3 years later.

(1) Help Find Our Missing Son - Brandon Barron | Facebook

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