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The Disappearance of Bryan Braumberger

Case File Overview

Bryan Braumberger spent the evening of May 31st, 2007 playing video games and watching television at a friend’s house in New Westminster, BC. During the early morning hours of June 1st, the 18-year-old teenager said goodbye to his friend, got into his 1988 red Honda Civic, and began his five-minute drive home to Burnaby, BC.

Bryan Braumberger’s 1988 red Honda Civic 

Image of missing person Bryan Braumberger's vehicle
Image source: Crimestoppers

The next day, police located Bryan’s vehicle at the George Derby Centre in the 7500 block of Cumberland Street, the senior’s complex where Bryan’s grandfather lived. This location is roughly two minutes away from Bryan’s house.

When police searched the vehicle and the surrounding area, they noticed that the car headlights were on, Bryan’s identification was inside the vehicle, the car was unlocked, and the car keys were missing.

The authorities contacted Bryan’s parents, who had just returned that day from holidays, and told them that their son’s car had been abandoned and towed.

Bryan has never been found.

Bryan Braumberger

Height: 6’ tall (183 cm)

Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)

Bryan was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, shorts, and white Adidas runners with no laces.

Image of missing person Bryan Braumberger
Image source: Missing Children Society of Canada

Case File Theories

Voluntary Disappearance

When people disappear, a common and optimistic theory is that the person ran off to start a new life. In Bryan’s case, this is possible but extremely unlikely. Bryan was happy with his job, close with his parents, and had good friends. Also, it seems doubtful he would leave his much-loved car behind. Moreover, he does not strike me as a mastermind who could have engineered his own disappearance and remained hidden for all of these years.

Suicide

By all accounts, Bryan was happy. He had a job, a loving family, good friends, and a car that he babied. According to his parents, before they left on holidays Bryan seemed his usual self and was following his normal routine. When Bryan left his friend to head home during the wee morning hours of June 1st, Bryan’s friend said that he was in good spirits and mentioned that he had to get home since he worked the next day. This does not seem like someone who is ready to take their own life. Although it is impossible to know what is going on inside someone’s head, neither the police nor the family have hinted that suicide was a possibility in Bryan’s disappearance. Plus, shortly after Bryan vanished, the RCMP, Coquitlam Search and Rescue, and other volunteers searched multiple times for Bryan, even using trained dogs three times. If you kill yourself, I would say it would be difficult to so expertly hide your own body. Taking all of this into consideration, I believe that Bryan did not commit suicide.

Murder

This seems to be the most likely possibility in Bryan’s disappearance. Unfortunately, there was no sign of a struggle around or in Bryan’s car. No blood was found, and there appears to be nothing forensically useful discovered at the scene. Bryan had no criminal associates and no police record, making it unlikely that he was killed by someone he knew. However, if someone did murder Bryan, I am wondering how they got him out of his car without leaving any evidence. Could he have been taken when he arrived at home and his car moved to throw the police off track? Was there solid evidence proving that Bryan ever really left his friend’s house? There are so many unanswered questions.

Interestingly, five other young men disappeared from southwestern BC from June 2006 to June 2007. Many of the families of these men noted that all of the men were young, athletic, and good looking. They suggested that some, if not all, of the six cases could be linked. The police, though, are adamant that there is zero evidence linking the cases. Could there have been a serial killer at work in the region who has gotten away with murder? Nothing has ever transpired from this serial killer theory, and media coverage of this possibility quickly faded away.

A couple of weeks after Bryan vanished, Ron and Janice, Bryan’s parents, received an anonymous phone call. They were told to check their mailbox. They discovered a ransom note demanding money in exchange for information about Bryan’s whereabouts. Three days after the call, 20-year-old Burnaby resident Shokhi Hossain was apprehended by the police and charged with extortion. Sadly, this was nothing but a cruel hoax that needlessly caused Bryan’s parents more pain.

What do you think happened to Bryan?

Bryan’s family still desperately seeks information about what happened to their son. His mom Janice explained, “it’s as if the earth opened up and swallowed him.” Please help Bryan’s loved ones attain at least some sense of closure by helping to locate Bryan. Anyone with information should call the 24-hour Crime Stoppers toll-free line at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or your local police.

Related Reading

“Crime Stoppers: Do you know what happened to Bryan Braumberger?”Global News article

“Burnaby teen last seen in Coquitlam in 2007”Tri-City News article

“Families see similarities in recent missing men cases in B.C.”CBC News article

Interested in unsolved missing person cases? Check out the Bradley Allan Taylor disappearance and the vanishing and suspected murder of Roberta Marie Sims.

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10 Comments

  1. Lauren Lauren

    This case has haunted me for 10 years and yet we hear so little about it. I look every few months to see if there is any update but there seems to be no new information.
    I have a son about the same age and I feel pain for his parents. How they get through each day is beyond me. I hope they have lots of support.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Lauren. Me too! It’s very close to my hometown. I have no idea why Bryan’s case gets so little coverage. I also have a son and can’t even begin to imagine what his parents must be going through. Here’s hoping his loved ones can find some answers soon. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  2. Manny Manny

    Its pain to see his missing information note on 16th and Caribou road
    I remember the day it happened. I have been praying for his safe return since then. I can feel the pain of his parents. I want to tell them that we share their pain and praying for them.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Manny. Thanks for reading and for reaching out. This is a very upsetting case. Like you, I hope that Bryan’s parents can one day have some answers. Take care.

  3. Annie Oakley Annie Oakley

    My question has always been how did they prove he ever left his friends home? Is it possible that he use to live with his grandfather before moving in with his parents? That might date who knew him back then and thought he still lived there thus dumped the car there.
    Ughhh so many questions. I honestly believe he never left the friends home.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Annie! Great question. The police seem convinced he left the friend’s house. But I agree it would be useful to know what exactly led to that conclusion. It really is the lynchpin of the case. Thanks again for reading!

  4. nikki nikki

    Every day on my way to work I drive by his missing person signs on Caribou since the day they were put up. It’s heartbreaking to see and I always prayed one day he’d be home safe. Something I read made me wonder, in a few articles it mentions that Bryan was in a church parking lot of some sort either before or after his friend’s house? It’s very unclear to me, but I was wondering if you might have had information on this? Did he go from his friend’s house to this church parking lot? Did his friend live nearby it? How did the car end up from there to the Derby Centre? Was the church close> I have so many questions about this case. I pray one day there will be more light shed on it.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Nikki. Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts! I did see the church parking lot mentioned. It looks as though Bryan’s friend lived very near the church and he had just parked there for the visit. It’s unclear how his vehicle was found at the senior’s home. It was only 2 minutes from his house. And weirdly where his grandfather lived! But he wouldn’t have stopped by for a visit in the wee hours of the morning. This case is a true mystery and his family is still looking for answers. I hope they can find them soon.

  5. Jones Jones

    Any word at all on this one?
    Think about it all the time.
    Sounds like someone who wasn’t familiar with his car must have driven it there. That might be the reason the lights were still on.
    Then they took off in a hurry with the keys and without turning off the lights.
    Hate to say it but it sounds like this was definitely close enough for someone he was with that night to drive his car over there and walk back.
    Was a good spot to drop the car. Someone close to him would have known his grandfather lived at that particular place. So it could easily look like Bryan stopped in there for some reason.

    Hope they find what happened to him.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Jones. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. Sadly, there haven’t been any developments in Bryan’s case. Like you, I’m thinking more and more whatever happened to Bryan involved someone he knew. Hopefully one day soon his loved ones get some answers. Thanks again and take care.

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