On April 11, 2001, Branson Perry asked a friend to come over to help him clean up in preparation for his father's April 13 return from the hospital. The twenty-year old had been living with his father, Bob, at 304 West Oak Street in Skidmore, Mo., but his father had been hospitalized
Branson's parents had divorced five months earlier, and his mother, Becky Klino, lived in a small town about 20 miles away. While Branson and his friend cleaned the house, two men worked to replace a broken alternator on Bob’s car that had gone out the previous day. The car was parked on the street in front of a storage shed next to the Perry home. Perry was last seen walking to the storage shed. Then he vanished. Inexplicably, no one saw where he went or what happened to him.
According to a forum message by Klino, "The events of the day are fairly sketchy to me and often make no sense. I don’t have a time line of when they occurred, only sporadic comments that were made. At one point, the friend saw Branson run into the kitchen and take something out of one of the cabinets, then run out the back door. When he returned, she said he wouldn’t tell her what he was doing and acted like nothing happened. Later, she said she had taken a shower and when she came out of the bathroom, she saw one of the men that were working on the car going through the cabinets in the kitchen. She said she asked him what he was looking for and he told her nothing and went back outside."
|Perry family home.|
Credit: Skidmore Police Department and family.
Klino says that at around 3 p.m., Branson's friend was upstairs when she heard the front porch door close. She looked out the window and saw Branson and asked him where he was going. He replied that he was going to put the jumper cables in the storage shed and would be right back. He never returned.
|Perry storage shed|
Credit: Skidmore Police Dept. and family
The search and the investigation
When police arrived at the Perry home to investigate the disappearance, they determined that nothing of Branson's appeared to be missing. His van, wallet, and all of his personal belongings were left behind. The men working on the car told police they never saw Branson while he was on his way to the shed. The jumper cables were also not in the shed.
According to Klino, "Several people were given lie detector tests. Some passed it and some didn’t. I was not given details, which I understand." But in an odd turn of events, just two weeks after the investigation started, Klino said the jumper cables, "mysteriously showed up in the shed, just inside the door."
It is believed that Branson was lured away, possibly by an acquaintance(s).
On December 16, 2004, one of Branson Perry's relatives, Bobbi Jo Stinnett, who also lived in the small farming community of Skidmore was brutally murdered in an attempt to steal her unborn child. The case is not thought to be related to Branson's disappearance.
The year before, a possible suspect emerged. According to the Associated Press, Jack Wayne Rogers, from Fulton, had bragged in an online chat room that he had "abducted, raped and murdered a blond-haired man from Skidmore" and said "police would never find the body because of how he disposed of it in a remote area of the Ozarks."
A search of Rogers's yard for possible buried evidence yielded nothing. Rogers remained the prime suspect for years, but no additional evidence has ever surfaced to link Rogers to Branson's disappearance, or to the crime he bragged about, so no charges have been filed.
Rogers denies ever having contact with Branson Perry, claiming the logs were only fantasy. Rogers was eventually arrested on several charges unrelated to Perry's disappearance. He is currently serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison with no chance of parole for child pornography and, according to a post by Becky Klino, "performing a gender reassignment on an individual in a motel room."
"The police are not completely ruling out Rogers," Klino wrote in a post on her forum, "but now the investigation has turned towards Skidmore again. They have received new leads there. I suppose time has a way of unraveling secrets. I believe someone in that area knows what happened to Branson. In my heart, I don’t believe Rogers is responsible. Despite the nightmare I lived through then, I am thankful that someone with that much evil will never walk the streets again. If it wasn’t for that chat log they found on the other computer, the police may never have come across that animal."
A mother's plea for justice
Becky Klino remained devoted to finding out what happened to her son. On a Web site dedicated to Branson's disappearance, she wrote:
I have never been a person to ask for much. I am asking, pleading, even begging for your help in finding my son or finding out what happened to him. I need for this nightmare to end. It is a roller coaster that doesn’t ever stop. From the outside I may appear to be fine. Inside, I will never be ok. If you have ever lost someone who has died, then you know that feeling of complete despair. Over time it eases and becomes bearable.
You know the cause of what happened and you have been able to put your loved one to rest. You will always have that sense of emptiness and at times it overcomes you, but you are able to put it into perspective again. Parents of missing children never have that feeling ease. It never becomes bearable, only easier to hide. One minute you are ok and functioning, the next minute something triggers inside and you plummet to the deepest ravine you could ever imagine and can’t find any way out. It can be something as simple as a smell, a taste, a sound, a touch and all the horror is there again. It never ends.
Please, please, please find it in your hearts to come forward if you have ANY information. You may think it is insignificant, but it may be the key link to answers.
Sadly, both of Branson's parents died before ever finding out what happened to him. Bob Perry passed away in 2004. Rebecca Kilno passed away of melanoma cancer in February 2011. It was written in Klino's obituary that she had been preceded in death by her son.
"I think she knew he wasn’t alive," said Monica Caison, founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons, "but she always wanted to continue to look for him either way.”
Branson's aunt, brother, other family members, and friends of Klino's are still looking for answers. Caison has vowed to continue the search for answers on their behalf.
Due to the circumstances, Branson Perry's disappearance has been classified as Endangered Missing/Homicide and a sample of his DNA has been placed in the CODIS database, in the hopes that his remains might someday be found and returned to his family.
Sgt. Roger Phillips, an investigator for the drug and crime control division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, says he is also committed to the investigation.
“Just because (Ms. Klino) is not here doesn’t mean this train is not going to keep moving,” Phillips said. “It’s about getting to the truth.”
A $20,000.00 reward is being offered for information that leads to the recovery of Branson’s remains and for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance and HOMICIDE of Branson Kayne Perry.
If you have any information about Branson Perry's disappearance, call Detective Roger Phillips, Missouri State Highway Patrol at (816) 387-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can submit the tip online at http://www.bransonperry.com or call the CUE Center's anonymous tip line at (910) 232-1687.
About Branson Perry
Branson Perry graduated Nodaway-Holt High School in 1999, and had been employed by a roofing company and a traveling petting zoo. He was unemployed at the time of his disappearance. Perry was a non-smoker and a weightlifter, and had a black belt in hopkido.
Details of Disappearance
Name/age: Branson Kayne Perry, 20
Missing Since: 04/11/01
Missing from: Skidmore, Missouri
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: 02/24/81
Physical Description: white male, 5'9", 140-155, blonde hair, physically fit
Distinguishing Characteristics: Small faint scar on upper right cheek. Small scar on left knee. Normal teeth; wisdom teeth have been pulled. Right handed. Black belt in Hopkido, lifted weights.
Medical Conditions: Racing heart condition. Allergic to Penicillin. Clothing: Shorts (size 32) and a T-shirt (size medium to large).
Jewelry: Possibly wearing necklaces and leather trinkets or chains with arrowheads on them.
DNA: in CODIS
Investigating Agency: Missouri State Highway Patrol, (816) 387-2345.