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So this case has been quite a buzz in the area I live in. It only recently is getting even a smidge of attention after another case was solved in December of 3 men in the same area shot execution style.
36 year old Bradley Brookes went on a fishing trip on august 18th in Flour bluff, Texas never to be heard from again. His car and fishing gear still inside the car and untouched were found by a tow trucker at his usual fishing spot but no Bradley. He was a Major mommas boy and updated her throughout his day just to talk to his mom and check in. When he didn't contact her and her granddaughter called her and said "Grandma, my dad didn't come home" she knew something wasn't right. His family described him as not the kind of man to just up and disappear without warning.
First, this isn't meant to come across as a finger-wagging post. It'll seem that way to some people, I suppose, but that's not the intention.
I look at searches as broken down into two types when it comes to amateur and unorganized search efforts - hot and cold.
Cold searches are ones where a person has been missing for 6+ months, professional efforts have been suspended, and there is no active search planned or ongoing. Hot searches are ones < 6 months old, and usually < 2 weeks old. Those often have ongoing efforts by law enforcement and SAR, may involve related criminal or civil investigations, and often have significant resources dedicated to them.
As far as cold searches go, have fun and don't get lost/hurt.
As far as hot searches go, please don't get in the way. If you have information, however thin, contact the LE agency overseeing the efforts and share what you know. If you have photos, videos, or other evidence of the missing subject, please present it as clearly and concisely to LE as possible. Unless you know an area intimately (hike/hunt there regularly, know the trails and terrain, etc.), please don't offer speculation unless asked. It's very distracting to be receiving facts and speculative information in the same sentence.
Please don't go out and start looking, alone or with others, if you're not sworn LE/SAR. Even then, no sworn LE/SAR members would go out there and search without authorization up the chain of command. You'd be amazed at how much evidence is often destroyed by well-meaning parties out there looking for a lost subject. Most of the time footprints are obliterated, but sometimes personal effects are picked up and removed. Even if those are later handed over to LE, if you can't tell us EXACTLY where you found the item/evidence, it's condition at the time (wet, dry, torn, dirty, dusty, clean, inside out, etc.), you've just ruined what may have been a significant find. If you do find something, take a picture (geotagging is great), take GPS coordinates (lat/lon are fine, but UTM is king IMO), note the date, time, and circumstances (was it windy? did the item seem dry, despite a recent rain event?)
I know people want to help, and I don't take that lightly. I also know that I've trained with my colleagues for countless hours , day and night, for years now, to properly conduct searches, handle evidence, direct teams and resources, and to generally carry out a proper search. When untrained people get in the way of a hot search, it causes problems. Often, folks are nice and understanding and immediately leave the area when we ask them to leave. The whole reason I'm part of SAR is because I want to do my small part for the community, and I know lots of people feel that way as well.
Rarely (though it happens) people get belligerent and threatening. The last thing anyone on a SAR team wants to do mid-search is detain you and wait for a deputy to drag you away. That cuts into our search time and really screws up the folks in ops and plans. And, if I have to be the one to hike you back to CP and *then* hand you over to a deputy, things are going to be really unpleasant. In the least, you'll get charged with a misdemeanor, and if it's a search related to possible criminal activity, you're talking a felony (not my call, and in the end, you can deal with the DA and the judge).
What's worse is when random people wander out to search, get hurt/lost and then become a second incident we need to deal with. Resources are already stretched thin, and yes, we'll help you, but now the primary objective is receiving less attention. That's a Very Bad Thing. It's bad enough when someone on a SAR team gets hurt and we have an IWI to deal with - that usually throws everything into (more) chaos.
Re-reading this, I know it sounds elitist and harsh. SAR isn't an 'elite' bunch - we've got folks from all walks of life, young and old, dot-commers and contractors, retired Marines and overworked attorneys. The big thing that sets us apart is lots and lots and lots of constant training.
If you really, really want to be involved, contact your local Sheriff's SAR unit and apply. If anyone has questions about SAR and what it's like, feel free to ask or send a PM. Teams can always use new volunteers, and skills are always in demand. While each SAR team is different in some ways, the generalities outweigh the distinctions.
By EWU Emma
Scott Madden (38 years old) vanished without a trace on July 13th, 2019. He was last seen that Saturday night at 9:45 PM and had told family he was going out for a swim. He took his mother's silver Toyota 4Runner and never returned.
4 days later, that same silver Toyota 4Runner was discovered parked by a large green dumpster at Galena Creek Regional Park by a park ranger - but not just ANY park ranger.
We verified with Scott's family that the same park ranger we had a creepy encounter with was the SAME park ranger who discovered the 4Runner. He acted incredibly strange when we mentioned Scott's case.
According to Scott's family, this same park ranger recalled seeing the silver 4Runner parked in the lot on Saturday... the VERY night that Scott disappeared. He didn't call the vehicle in until WEDNESDAY. Even more disturbing is that this park is NOT a camping area as some have assumed. It's a fishing and picnic park, and NOT for overnight use. The park is locked up every single night. This means every night, the ranger was knowingly locking someone inside for FOUR NIGHTS STRAIGHT without reporting it...
Scott's wallet was inside the truck, but the keys are still missing. Search & rescue teams scoured the surrounding dense woods but came back empty handed. Search dogs didn't find anything either. It was as if Scott was never even there.
It's important to mention that some media is reporting that Scott is a missing veteran. This is false and based on the license plates of the silver 4Runner, which again, was his mother's vehicle. His father is a veteran.
We verified with family that Scott did NOT have PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or ANY OTHER MENTAL ILLNESS.
This is the last photo Scott ever took (pictured with his daughter). As you can see, Scott left the home wearing a reddish-completed colored t-shirt, navy blue swimming trunks, and Reef-style sandals. This picture was taken within 10 minutes of him leaving the home to go for a swim. His daughter had asked for him not to leave and stay home with her.
According to Scott's family, before he left the home, he was "texting away furiously on his phone, ostensibly to arrange a hookup with some girl (he used POF and maybe Tinder to meet girls)". Because he wasn't using SMS to communicate with whoever he was talking to, Verizon didn't have any text records. Again, according to family, "he was either using POF/Tinder/What'sApp/etc. to communicate with whomever it was he was arranging to meet up with".
Scott's phone - an iPhone XS Max - remains missing as well. The Air Force confirmed his phone tried to establish a data connection at 1:10am and 1:40am on the morning of Sunday, July 14th.
What do YOU think happened to Scott Madden?