Musician and activist Kelley Brannon is thought by her family members as a free spirit, somebody who marches to the beat of her personal drum — and, occasionally, goes off the grid.
However the 36-year-old has all the time managed to maintain involved with somebody, primarily her mom. Till now. 4 months have handed with none phrase from the New Hampshire native and plenty of are left with extra questions than solutions.
In line with the Stay Oak Police Division, Kelley was final recognized to be on the Sunshine Inn in Stay Oak, Florida, late within the night of July 14 and into the early morning hours of July 15, 2020.
Earlier that week, Kelley and her boyfriend, Eddie Emerson, had begun a street journey, driving from the farm the place that they had been residing in Micanopy, Florida close to Gainesville, to Detroit, Michigan, the place they deliberate to purchase a $2,000 fixer-upper home.
“We have been about to start out a brand new chapter of our lives collectively,” Eddie advised Dateline. “After which this occurred.”
On July 9, 2020, the couple loaded up Eddie’s Toyota pickup truck and Kelley’s Toyota Camry with their belongings, which included their guitars, Eddie’s canine and eight chickens they have been transporting up north in a canine kennel. They then headed up I-75.
However they didn’t get very far. About 77 miles into the journey, Eddie’s truck broke down after the transmission overheated, leaving them stranded in Suwannee County. Eddie advised Dateline that they had the truck towed to an area automotive store in close by Stay Oak, Florida and the couple determined to camp within the space for just a few days whereas they waited for repairs.
Nevertheless, the repairs took longer than anticipated, so on July 14 the couple determined to shell out some cash for a lodge room. Whereas checking in to the Sunshine Inn, Eddie stated they received into an argument over the place they’d maintain their chickens whereas they have been staying on the lodge.
“I discovered a grassy spot within the shade for them, however Kelley wished to carry them as much as the room,” Eddie defined. “I already had my canine with us. We didn’t want the chickens within the room, too. We had an extended couple of days and I used to be drained… so yeah, I received indignant. I threw my hat on the bottom and yelled and we simply stored arguing.”
He stated Kelley then angrily left in her automotive whereas he set the chickens up exterior to graze after which headed to the room to relaxation. Whereas within the room, he stated the argument continued over textual content messages, however Kelley finally returned to the room with pizza and wine and so they made up.
“By the point she got here again, we had each cooled off,” Eddie stated. “When she noticed the chickens have been tremendous, I believe that calmed her down. I gave her a hug and every part appeared OK once more.”
However because the solar set, the couple’s argument over the chickens reignited. Just a few cussed chickens had escaped the makeshift pen exterior the lodge, Eddie advised Dateline, however once they couldn’t catch them, Eddie stated he assured Kelley they’d get them within the morning. However Kelley insisted they discover all of the chickens and produce them inside, which stirred one other battle.
“I used to be uninterested in chasing the chickens. And of arguing,” Eddie stated. “So, I went to the lodge room to sleep.”
Eddie advised Dateline that he obtained extra indignant texts from Kelley all through the night time. Round 10:30 p.m., he stated he went exterior to examine on Kelley and located she had been ingesting and crying exterior of the lodge.
“I slipped her automotive keys off her waist so she couldn’t drive,” Eddie stated. “I didn’t actually consolation her at that second, however I ought to have.”
It was the final time he noticed Kelley.
Eddie stated that it was simply after midnight when Kelley texted him, threatening to go away. She advised him she was taking her guitar, which is a left-handed Fender Stratocaster with a sunburst end, her car’s registration and a brand new bag of garments.
“I used to be nonetheless within the room in mattress when she texted me ‘I’m leaving,’ so I texted her again, ‘Why don’t you come sleep,’ and he or she stated no,” Eddie defined. “So I simply went to sleep.”
In textual content messages supplied to Dateline, Kelley advised Eddie she “would moderately starve to demise or soar off a bridge or be eaten by vultures, than share a room with somebody such as you.”
“We each stated a number of imply issues to one another. And the most important remorse of my life proper now’s falling asleep,” Eddie advised Dateline. “I ought to have been there to guard her. Made positive she was protected contained in the room.”
The subsequent morning Eddie stated he woke as much as a voicemail from Kelley that he nonetheless performs time and again. Within the voicemail, which Eddie shared with Dateline, says she received one other room on the Sunshine Inn and reported her automotive stolen by Eddie as a result of she was indignant he took her keys. Police later advised Dateline that an official report by Kelley was by no means filed.
“I ought to clearly, positively do the Detroit factor alone or go to Iceland,” she is heard saying within the voicemail. “You aren’t a accomplice.”
The voicemail out of the blue cuts to Kelley saying that she was “getting in a automotive.” Her telephone has been off ever since and her automotive was left unlocked on the lodge, a few of her belongings nonetheless inside, together with her purse that contained cash and her ID, in accordance with police.
“She did not take her purse, which had cash and her ID, or telephone charger, which is regarding,” Eddie stated. “She wouldn’t go this lengthy with out contacting me – even when she’s mad. She would contact somebody, her mother or her buddies.”
Cheryl Dumont went to high school with Kelley in New Hampshire and the 2 have been buddies for at the least 25 years. She advised Dateline that Kelley’s group of buddies spans the nation from her travels through the years, however not one in all them has heard from Kelley.
“She’s a free spirit and may definitely be cussed,” Cheryl stated. “However she’d by no means not contact anybody for this lengthy. Particularly her mother.”
She stated Kelley’s mom, who’s in her 70s, lives alone in New Hampshire and nonetheless grieves the lack of Kelley’s father, who died when Kelley was simply 5 years outdated.
“That is extraordinarily exhausting for her,” Cheryl stated. “Kelley was all the time involved together with her mother. And Kelley all the time made it house for Thanksgiving. Nevertheless it’s simply been so lengthy, and now we have no solutions.”
On July 15, Kelley’s boyfriend Eddie filed a lacking individuals report with the Stay Oak Police Division.
In line with Captain Jason Rountree, searches have been carried out by regulation enforcement officers within the wooded areas surrounding the lodge. Friends of the lodge that night later advised officers that they noticed Kelley exterior of the lodge together with her guitar across the similar time she left the voicemail for Eddie.
Over the months, there have been reported sightings of Kelley in Tallahassee, Excessive Springs and Stay Oak, in addition to Lake Park and Camilla, Georgia, in accordance with Captain Rountree. However after gathering witness statements and safety video, the sightings couldn’t be confirmed to be Kelley, he stated. He added that if anybody spots Kelley, to name native police instantly.
Captain Rountree advised Dateline that Kelley’s case remains to be an energetic investigation and that her lack contact with buddies or household “over a larger time frame than regular” has been a priority from the start.
“Consequently, this investigation is being carried out with all potential outcomes in play,” Capt. Rountree stated. He burdened that investigators can’t but decide if foul play is even concerned in her disappearance.
“From the time Kelley was reported lacking, all facets and potential outcomes have and are regularly being thought of,” Capt. Rountree stated. “There isn’t a particular piece of knowledge as of this time that leads us to find out — or to rule out — that foul play has occurred. Equally, certainty relating to Kelley’s present situation continues to stay unknown.”
Captain Rountree advised Dateline that a number of individuals have been interviewed on a number of events, together with locals who got here into contact with the couple throughout their time in Suwannee County, the lodge visitors, and Kelley’s boyfriend, Eddie.
“Eddie has and continues to be an individual of curiosity on this investigation primarily on account of his relationship to Kelley,” Captain Rountree stated. “Nevertheless, now we have not dominated out or discounted different particular person(s) all through this investigation.”
Following Kelley’s disappearance, Eddie stayed in Stay Oak for 4 days looking for her, hanging fliers and speaking to the locals. However with none leads or clues, he stated continued his journey north, with out Kelley.
“I used to be pondering, I can’t imagine I’ve to start out driving our journey with out Kelley,” Eddie stated. “And I suppose I hoped that perhaps I’d see her alongside the way in which someplace – perhaps hitchhiking. However I by no means did.”
This week marks 4 months since Kelley has been gone, however Eddie advised Dateline he gained’t surrender looking for her. In September, he went again to Stay Oak, Florida to proceed hanging fliers and speaking to locals. He additionally just lately traveled to New Hampshire to ship Kelley’s belongings to her mom.
“She loves her mom deeply and even when she was touring for a present, she’d discover a technique to name her,” Eddie stated. “It’s the saddest factor on the earth. She’s 74. That is killing her.”
Eddie is now Dracut, Massachusetts, and stated he spends most of his time on-line and on the telephone looking for data that may lead him to his lacking girlfriend.
A Fb web page “Missing Kelley Brannon” was created to assist generate data and one in all Kelley’s buddies, Bob Murray, began a GoFundMe web page to finance a personal investigator in addition to a $1,500 reward for data that results in her whereabouts.
In feedback on the web page, Kelley’s buddies say she is the type of one who has an concept after which makes that concept occur. Somebody who’s proficient, jumps into inventive tasks, giving them her all. In line with Kelley’s LinkedIn web page, she’s a contract artist, author, filmmaker and musician.
“She provides her all to each mission she takes on,” Cheryl advised Dateline. “She has so many targets, and when she set her thoughts on one thing, she wouldn’t cease till she accomplished them.”
Cheryl stated these targets, which embrace writing a ebook, alongside together with her curiosity in present occasions such because the latest political protests and presidential election are explanation why she doesn’t suppose her buddy simply went off the grid.
“For her to not vote on this election could be very worrisome,” Cheryl stated. “She’s an activist. And simply every part that has gone on since this summer time, she would need to be a part of it.”
After 4 months of no solutions, Cheryl advised Dateline she fears the worst end result, however doesn’t perceive why somebody would harm her buddy. Her buddy, who she describes as a inventive soul with a giant coronary heart who all the time rallied to assist others.
She remembers a time when somebody in Kelley’s neighborhood was on the verge of eviction as a result of they couldn’t pay lease.
“So Kelley stated, ‘We’ve got to do one thing,’ and arranged a mic night time to lift cash,” Cheryl defined. “And she or he did it. She raised sufficient cash to pay the lease. That’s who she is. When she sees somebody struggling, she needs to assist.”
Cheryl advised Dateline they really feel caught within the seek for Kelley and believes it’s going to take somebody coming ahead with data for them to search out her.
“Her mom simply needs everybody to know that she is so grateful for all of the assist and love throughout all of this – and that we nonetheless hope she’ll be house protected for Thanksgiving,” Cheryl stated.
“We simply need to know the place she is,” she added. “And we wish the most effective reply… however I’m simply afraid we gained’t get the reply we wish.”
Kelley is 5’5” tall, weighs roughly 130 kilos and has blue eyes and black hair that’s graying. She has a circle A tattoo on her proper hand close to her thumb. She was final seen carrying a white shirt and black shorts, carrying her guitar.
In case you have any details about the whereabouts of Kelley Brannon, please name the Stay Oak Police Division Legal Investigations Division at 386-364-7463 or name the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Workplace Dispatch at 386-362-2222. You’ll be able to stay nameless by contacting Suwannee County Crime Stoppers 386-208-8477(TIPS).