The Head-Scratching Case of Missing Branson Perry

Branson Perry disappeared from his front yard in Skidmore, Missouri on April 11, 2001. His disappearance remains unsolved and relatives and friends have long presumed that Branson is deceased. A former minister and convicted pedophile once bragged about killing the “blond-haired man from Skidmore”, but police have never fully connected this man to Branson’s murder.

Branson Perry photo

No Stranger To Misery

Skidmore, Missouri, population 350, rest on top of a hill overlooking the Nodaway River. A very unassuming place, you may even miss it completely by passing through. However, this quiet cornfield town is no stranger to misery and frequently has made international news for the most macabre crimes.

Skidmore residents murdered Ken McElroy, a known town bully. And although this brutal murder happened in broad daylight, assuming multiple witnesses, not one person has ever revealed McElroy’s true killer.Some secrets are better left untold.

Bobbie Joe Stinnett was also from Skidmore. Her sad case made international news when Lisa Montgomery cut out her fetus, who was just shy of 8 months old. Montgomery was finally killed off this past January.

One more Skidmore tragically to make it an even number, was the horrid murder of Wendy Gillenwater. Wendy was mercilessly stomped to death by her jealous boyfriend.

And of course, the 20-year-old Branson Perry who walked to his shed to put back some jumper cables and vanished.

Vanishing Act

At 20-years-old, Branson Perry had already achieved life’s many milestones, plus some. Perry was an experienced roofer, at one point took work with a traveling petting zoo, and was looking forward to getting back into the workforce.

Branson practiced Hapkido, a Korean martial arts focusing on joint manipulation and self defense, where he had already achieved the rank of black belt, no simple task.

Branson Perry walked to his shed on April 11, 2001, to return a set up jumper cables, he was never seen again. The time was around 3pm.

Perry was living with his father, who was in the hospital on this day, at his Skidmore home on the 300 Block of West Oak Street. Perry was cleaning and preparing for his father’s return when he vanished.

Branson Perry was reported missing on April 17th, 6 days after he went missing.

The home of Branson Perry and where he went missing.

Left behind was Perry’s van and all his belongings, leading authorities to believe that he was abducted. During the first search of the shed where the jumper cables were supposed to be, police did not notice them. However, the cables were hanging up and in plain sight, during another search two weeks later.

Two other men were also at the home fixing the father’s car, a bad alternator, however, police could not connect these men with the murder.

Admitted Murder In Chat Room

One highly plausible suspect is Jack Wayne Rogers, a former Presbyterian minister. Rogers had even admitted to killing the “blond-haired man from Skidmore”, in an online chat room. He bragged about the crime.

Rogers was already on police radar before, after he was connected to a child pornography charge which landed him In prison. To add this charge, police also convicted Rogers of removing another man’s penis, what authorities referred to as a “makeshift gender reassignment.”

Law enforcement searched the home of Jack Rogers, but ultimately found nothing linking him to Branson’s murder. If Rogers did murder the boy, it would be hard for police to find the body. He bragged he disposed it in a “remote area” of the Ozarks.

Moving Forward

It is highly unlikely that Branson Perry is still alive. Even if Branson did runaway, which is implausible, he would have appeared at a medical center for his racing heart condition, a genetic disorder.

Perry’s family has long given up hope he is still alive, especially after his father died in 2004 and mother died in 2011, yet friends and relatives still setup a community search once every ten years.

“Around town, we searched every oil well, every outside toilet. We searched everywhere that was possible for us to think that something could be there,” said Jo Ann Stinett, his grandmother.

 

Sources

A small town with a history of violence

The Charley Project

The Springfield News-Leader

Search continues for a Missouri man missing 10 years

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