Monday, October 10, 2022

The Disappearance of Brandee Hope Canipe

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Brandee Hope Canipe vanished at the age of 29 during May 2006. The young woman resided in Mocksville, North Carolina at the time of her disappearance. Those closest to Brandee describe her as a free spirit who had a habit of taking off and staying out-of-touch for long periods of time. Due to this, Brandee was not reported missing until April 2010 – nearly four years after she disappeared. 

Brandee grew up in Shelby, North Carolina, and she was the oldest of four sisters. According to the sisters, Brandee was a fun and loving sibling. She had a particularly strong relationship with her sister Staley, who was the closest to her in age. However, as the sisters grew into their teenage years, Brandee began to move in a separate direction. She moved out of her family’s home at a young age and only kept in touch with her family sporadically. 

It was not uncommon for Brandee’s family members to go months without hearing from her. Whenever she would reach out, she would let her family know where she was located. Brandee reportedly would stay in various places throughout North Carolina – such as Winston-Salem and Mocksville. She also lived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at some point. 

Throughout the years, Brandee gave birth to three children: two daughters and one son. Brandee's daughters lived with her parents, while her son lived with his father. She also got married twice and was known to some as Brandee McCluney or Brandee Rackley. 

Brandee's sister Staley first began to worry about Brandee's wellbeing when she did not show up for a funeral. The mother of Brandee's ex-husband had passed away. Brandee was reportedly quite close with her, even after the divorce. Although it had been years since Staley had heard from Brandee at this point, she still expected to see her at her ex-mother-in-law's funeral. After Brandee was a no-show, Staley began to think something was off.

Eventually, Staley decided to contact police about Brandee's disappearance. Brandee was officially reported missing on April 19th, 2010. Throughout the investigation, detectives were able to determine that she was last seen on May 6th, 2006. The last known sighting of her occurred in Mocksville - where she was living at the time she vanished. The four-year gap between Brandee's disappearance and when she was finally reported missing further deepened the mystery.

 
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A delayed investigation.

Since years passed before Brandee was actually reported missing, detectives were quite behind on their investigation. It was noted that there had not been any activity in her bank account or her Social Security number since 2006. Brandee's driver's license expired in 2008 but was never renewed. All of these findings made it clear that Brandee had been missing for quite some time. 

Obtaining information from those closest to Brandee was proven to be difficult, as many of them did not have clear memories of their last known interaction with her. Still, Brandee's family members did their best to relay the most accurate information they had and/or could remember.

Information from the family.

Brandee's parents both passed away in 2010 - shortly after she was reported missing. Unfortunately, they were not able to provide much information. However, Brandee's other family members have been in touch with detectives over the years.

All of Brandee's family members corroborated that she lived a somewhat transient lifestyle, and that it was not unusual for months to pass without hearing from her. Several of Brandee's family members also told detectives that they saw Brandee driving a 4-door Buick sedan when she would come to visit. It's possible that Brandee was driving this car at the time of her disappearance but said vehicle has never been located.

Brandee's sister Staley said that she last saw Brandee during 2005, at a bar in Shelby. According to Staley, Brandee was working at the bar. She had gotten a job there after returning to Shelby to be closer to her two daughters. However, it appears that Brandee moved to Mocksville a few months later. 

Leigh, the youngest of Brandee's three younger sisters, said that she last saw Brandee during the spring of 2006. Leigh was only 10 years-old at the time, but she remembers that Brandee had come to visit during that time period. Leigh explained that Brandee had driven her to her school bus stop. The two chatted as they waited in Brandee's car for Leigh's bus to arrive. When the bus finally did arrive, Leigh exited the car, unaware that she would never see her sister again. 

All three of Brandee's children were under the age of 10 during 2006. It's likely that the memories of their mother were a bit fuzzy by the time she was finally reported missing in 2010. Brandee's second oldest daughter, Autumn, spoke to reporters in 2022 and said that she does not remember the exact last time she saw her mother, but the memories she does have of her are quite fond. 

The lake house.

According to a report by Dateline, Brandee's youngest sister Leigh has been more active in the investigation during more recent years. Throughout Leigh's quest for answers, she remembered a detail about Brandee's life prior to her disappearance that might be significant. It involved a lake house.

Leigh explained that, during the fall of 2005, her family faced some financial hardships. During such times, Brandee invited their mother, Leigh, and their other sister, Paige, to come live with her in Mocksville - an approximate hour and a half's drive away from Shelby. The residence belonged to Brandee's boyfriend. 

The three of them lived with Brandee and her boyfriend for a few months. Leigh and Paige were both enrolled in school in Mocksville. After a few months, though, their mother returned to Shelby. Leigh and Paige stayed and continued to live with Brandee.

A short time later, Brandee announced that she and her boyfriend had broken up, so they had to move out of Mocksville. By Leigh's account, Brandee moved them an approximate 45-minute drive away to a lake house located on Belews Creek on the north side of Winston-Salem. Leigh said she is unsure about how, exactly, Brandee became connected to this place - but she did meet a man who reportedly managed the property.

Belews Creek. Source: Forsynth Realty

The man lived in a separate nearby house on the lake. Leigh explained that he had given Brandee and the girls permission to live in their respective house. The nature of Brandee's relationship with this man is unclear, but Leigh does not recall seeing a wife or any other woman in this man's house.

Leigh and Paige lived at that lake house for a bit before CPS was called and told that the girls were not with their custodial parent. The two girls then went to go live with their father. Leigh said that Brandee came to visit her that final time a week later - when she drove her to her school bus stop. 

Leigh was unable to provide detectives with an actual address to this lake house, as she was only 10 years old when she lived there. Detectives went to the area where they believed it might have been located, but there is apparently only new construction there now. Additionally, investigators were never able to identify the property manager. 

The Mocksville residence.

It's unclear if Brandee returned to the lake house after that final interaction with Leigh. According to detectives, Brandee lived in Mocksville at the time she vanished - which was only a short time later. In fact, one of the investigators stated that Brandee's two daughters lived with her at the Mocksville residence in May 2006 - right before she disappeared. 

This is the same residence that Brandee lived in before, with Leigh and Paige. As previously noted, the home belonged to a boyfriend of Brandee's. When investigators finally went to house in 2010, said boyfriend still lived there.

The home was thoroughly investigated, but unfortunately nothing of significance was found. Nothing was found to indicate that any sort of foul play involving Brandee had occurred in the house. It should be noted that four years is plenty of time for evidence to fade or be removed - but still, even a thorough search with professionals turned up no evidence. 

Detectives also investigated the ex-boyfriend himself, but ultimately did not find any evidence against him. One of the investigators working the case specifically said, "there was nothing to list him as a suspect." It's unclear if he has been completely ruled out, but he is not considered a suspect either. 

The vehicle.

As previously stated, Brandee drove a 4-door Buick sedan prior to her disappearance. Many family members corroborated seeing her in this vehicle. Leigh said that Brandee was in this car when she drove her to the bus stop during their final interaction. 

Unfortunately, investigators have not been able to locate this vehicle. That might mean that the car disappeared with Brandee, but it also might not have. Investigators stated that they do not believe the car was registered to Brandee's name, which has made it more difficult to locate. 

Still, there is inevitable speculation that the car did, in fact, vanish with Brandee. As such, there is also speculation that both Brandee and the car ended up in a body of water. In 2021, a volunteer dive group called "Exploring With Nug" did a sonar search in Belews Creek. One of the detectives explained that the dive team used sonar all throughout the lake. Some sunken boats and tires were spotted, but no vehicles. 

In late September 2022, another volunteer dive team conducted a search a Belews Creek. Unfortunately, their search efforts were halted by Hurricane Ian. At this time, it is unknown if they will return to the creek at a later date. 

Theories.

As just mentioned, there has been inevitable speculation that both Brandee and her car ended up in a body of water. The body of water that the volunteer dive teams searched - Belews Creek - is the location where Brandee temporarily lived in a lake house. However, investigators have been adamant that Brandee was last seen alive in Mocksville. In fact, one detective said that he was not sure that she ever returned to the lake house. It's still entirely possible that Brandee returned to there after May 6th, but this has never been confirmed. 

If Brandee did, in fact, return to the lake house after May 6th, 2006, the property manager is definitely worth investigating. Unfortunately, detectives were unable to identify this man. He is still unknown to this day. 

There is also inevitable speculation about Brandee's ex-boyfriend. She was known to be living at his home off US 158 before she vanished. That residence is also the last place that Brandee was seen. As previously noted, the ex-boyfriend was questioned, and he has not been labeled a suspect. It's possible that he was able to destroy any evidence that might have connected him to Brandee's disappearance - as he had a four-year head start on the investigation. Still, at this time, he has not been charged with anything related to Brandee's case.

It's also possible that something or someone else altogether is responsible for Brandee's disappearance. As of 2022, no persons of interest or suspects have been identified.

Where the case stands today.

Brandee still remains missing. Her case remains open. Brandee's youngest sister, Leigh, has been posting about Brandee's case on her Tik Tok.  Her Tik Tok's have helped spread more awareness about Brandee's disappearance. News sources, including Dateline, have begun to report on the case. 

Brandee's family members are hoping to find answers. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Davie County Sheriff’s Office at 336-751-6238.

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Sources:
Charley Project
Davie County Enterprise Record
Leigh's Tik Tok
NBC News
Websleuths

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