On April 11, 2001, the peaceful town of Skidmore, Missouri, was struck by a baffling incident that would forever haunt the community. Branson Perry, a 20-year-old young man, vanished without a trace from outside his own home. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance remain shrouded in mystery, leaving his loved ones and the authorities grasping for answers. Two years later, a sickening clue emerged, adding a chilling twist to the already eerie tale. So what happened to Branson Perry?
Life and struggles of Branson Perry
Branson Kayne Perry was born on February 24, 1981, and grew up in Skidmore, Missouri. He was a graduate of Nodaway-Holt High School, known for his adventurous spirit and varied interests. After completing his education, Branson took on odd jobs, including roofing and helping maintain a traveling petting zoo. Despite his young age, he had already experienced the challenges of his parents’ recent divorce.
Branson faced an additional hurdle in his life – tachycardia, a condition that caused his heart to race excessively. Nevertheless, he pursued his passion for martial arts and attained a black belt in hapkido, showcasing his determination and resilience.
The mysterious disappearance
It was a Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2001, when Branson invited his friend Jena over to his house on West Oak Street in Skidmore. The purpose of their meeting was to clean Branson’s residence as his father, Bob Perry, who had recently been hospitalized, was expected to return home soon. Two other men were also present outside the house, working on Bob’s car.
At approximately 3:00 p.m., Branson informed Jena that he needed to retrieve a pair of jumper cables from a shed adjacent to the house. Little did anyone know that this would be the last time Branson was seen alive. He walked out the door, never to return, leaving behind a trail of questions and confusion.
The investigation begins
The next day, Branson’s grandmother, Jo Ann, visited his home and made a chilling discovery. The house was unlocked and empty, a stark contrast to what she expected. Concerned, she made repeated calls to the residence in the following days, but received no answer. As days turned into weeks without any sign of Branson, worry and despair engulfed his family.
Finally, on April 17, Bob Perry and Branson’s mother, Rebecca Klino, decided to take action and filed a missing person report. The Nodaway County police initiated ground search parties within a 15-mile radius of the Perry residence, scouring fields, farms, and abandoned buildings. Despite their relentless efforts, the searches yielded no results. However, during one search of the property, the jumper cables Branson had supposedly taken to the shed were discovered inside the house, just inside the door.
Clues: The Jack Wayne Rogers connection
Two years after Branson Perry disappeared, the investigation took a dark turn when law enforcement arrested Jack Wayne Rogers, a 59-year-old Presbyterian minister and Boy Scout leader from Fulton, Missouri, on unrelated charges.
Rogers was actually arrested for assault for removing a trans woman’s genitals in a hotel room. He was a Presbyterian minister and Boy scout troop leader and had no medical experience or education. The woman said Rogers promised he could perform gender reassignment surgery in the hotel room, because of her desperation and emotional state at the time, the woman says she agreed to the surgery because “it seemed like there was no alternative.”
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While searching Rogers’ personal belongings, investigators stumbled upon a horrifying revelation. His computer contained child pornography, as well as disturbing message board posts under various usernames. These posts described graphic torture, assault, and even cannibalism.
One post particularly caught the attention of the investigators. It detailed the rape, torture, mutilation, and murder of a blond male hitchhiker, whose body was allegedly buried in a remote area of the Ozarks. The details of the post bore an unsettling resemblance to Branson Perry’s disappearance. Further search of Rogers’ property unearthed a turtle claw necklace resembling one owned by Branson.
In April 2004, Rogers was convicted and sentenced to prison on charges unrelated to Branson’s disappearance. Although he denied any involvement and claimed the online post was pure fantasy, law enforcement suspected that Branson may have been the victim described in the chilling account.
Subsequent developments: The search continues
Tragically, Branson’s father, Bob Perry, passed away in 2004, leaving behind a grieving family desperate for answers. In June 2009, law enforcement, acting on a “credible tip,” conducted an excavation in Quitman, Missouri, in the hopes of locating Branson’s remains. Despite a thorough search, the excavation yielded no significant breakthrough.
The search for Branson Perry’s whereabouts continued, with his mother, Rebecca Klino, spearheading the efforts. However, her battle with melanoma came to a devastating end in February 2011. Klino’s passing left a void in the quest for answers, but her friends and organizations such as the CUE Center for Missing Persons vowed to carry on the search.
To this day, the disappearance of Branson Perry remains an open wound in the Skidmore community. The recent announcement on August 14, 2022, by the Nodaway County Sheriff, Randy Strong, of a suspect being identified has renewed hope for closure. However, more evidence was needed before an arrest could be made, leaving the community on edge, waiting for the truth to finally emerge.
“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 this suspect is responsible.” — Rebecca Klino, mother of Branson Perry
Branson Perry’s mysterious disappearance continues to haunt the town of Skidmore, Missouri. The unanswered questions, the eerie connections, and the absence of closure have left a lasting impact on his family, friends, and the community at large. While the search for answers persists, the memory of Branson Perry serves as a reminder of the need for justice and the relentless pursuit of truth. As the enigma surrounding his vanishing remains, it is hoped that one day the veil will be lifted, and the secrets surrounding Branson Perry’s fate will be revealed.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Branson Perry, please contact the Community United Effort Center 24-hour tip line at 910-232-1687, the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Office at 660-582-7451, or the Missouri State Highway Patrol Hotline at 1-800-525-5555.
After reading about the mysterious disappearance of Branson Perry, read about Daylenn Pua — an 18-year-old hiker who went missing the morning of February 27, 2015, after setting out to hike Haiku Stairs, one of Hawaii’s most dangerous trails.