18 year-old Thomas Kelly Brown vanished on November 23rd, 2016. He spent that evening with two friends in their hometown of Canadian, Texas. One of his friends dropped him off at their high school parking lot around 11:30pm, where Thomas’s car was parked. A few minutes later, at 11:36pm, Thomas was seen getting gas at a nearby gas station. He was expected to be home by his 12am curfew, but unfortunately he never showed up.
At 12:03am, Thomas’s brother texted him to ask where he was. That message was never read. Thomas’s final phone ping occurred shortly thereafter at 12:10am, near a tower close to the high school football field. Minutes later, at 12:22am, Thomas’s phone was shut off. This is the last known trace of him, and he has never been seen or heard from again. Thomas rarely ever missed his curfew, so his family immediately grew concerned when he did not show up as expected. They reported him missing by 1:30am.
The search for Thomas began immediately. At 8:45am on November 24th, searchers found Thomas’s car parked under some trees at a wastewater treatment. Thomas’s personal belongings such as his wallet, keys, laptop and cell phone were missing from the car. Additionally, a small fresh blood stain was found on the driver side door. That blood was later identified as Thomas’s. A .25 caliber shell casing was found at the scene as well.
Thomas’s family members and friends were completely baffled by his disappearance. He had a happy life at home and there was no indication that he planned to run away. Thomas was student body president at his high school and was popular amongst his friends. He had a girlfriend in college whom he always kept in touch with. Thomas’s friends told investigators that Thomas was acting normally before he vanished and nothing seemed amiss before they parted ways on the evening of November 23rd, 2016.
A few months after his disappearance, Thomas’s backpack was found in a wooded area a few miles way from where his car was found. The backpack appeared to have been in that location for months, and it contained Thomas’s school books and laptop. Investigators completed a forensic analysis on the computer that yielded no clues, as it only had school-related content on it.
Both investigators and Thomas’s family members never believed that Thomas left on his own accord. In fact, in June 2018, the lead investigator in the case stated that authorities are 90% sure Thomas was murdered.
Over two years after his disappearance, in early 2019, human remains were found off of Lake Martin Road in Lake Marvin, Texas. On January 15th, 2019, it was confirmed that the remains were that of Thomas Brown. In a press statement released by the Hemphill County Sheriff’s Office, it was explained that the remains “were found by a person that heard the call from law enforcement and the firm asking for everyone to keep an eye on Lake Marvin Road.” The investigation into Thomas’s death is still ongoing and a cause of death has still not been determined. His death is being investigated as a murder.