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
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.
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.
Case File Theories
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.
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.
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.
“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