Where is Brandon?
Brandon Lamarr Sims | Missing #32
A young boy with a rare condition goes missing.
In Indianapolis, Indiana on July 1, 1992, 4-year old Brandon vanished. In July of that year, his mother, Michelle Engron Jones, traveled to Detriot with a friend to attend a theater conference. When asked about her son, she told them that he was with a babysitter. He has not heard from since.
At the time Brandon was born, Jones was fifteen. As soon as her mother found out about her daughter’s pregnancy, Jones was kicked out, spending several years in the foster care system. Until he was three, Brandon’s paternal grandmother him, it wasn’t until she turned eighteen that Jones began caring for Brandon herself.
The last time his grandmother saw Brandon, was shortly after his fourth birthday after the latter drove by the mosque Jones worshipped at and saw him playing outside.
Between 1991 and 1993, his grandmother and father made efforts to see him, even leaving messages with Jones about it up to several times a week. However, Jones stopped returning their calls and moved. Furthermore, when Brandon’s father mailed child support checks to Jones, they were returned to him unopened.
In January of 1994, Jones checked herself into the Midtown Community Mental Health Center where she told counselors there that she had physically abused Brandon, leaving him alone in his room for at least a week with food and water in saucers left on the floor. According to her, when she returned, she found him deceased and subsequently wrapped him up then disposed of the body along north Interstate 65 in Clinton County, Indiana, near Lafayette.
Upon hearing her claims, the employees contacted the authorities. The police repeatedly tried to find Brandon’s body but were unsuccessful, and was charged in September of 1995 with two counts of neglect of a dependent.
When referring to Brandon’s disability, of which was gonadotropin-independent precocious puberty, Jones reportedly told his paternal grandmother how she “didn’t want to raise a freak.” Her apartment manager recalled seeing many, many flies in a bedroom during the summer of 1992. When asked about the flies, Jones told the apartment manager that Brandon had wet the bed and the flies were attracted to the smell of the urine.
The police searched through the records of any evidence of Brandon’s existence after mid-1992 but came up empty-handed. Brandon was neither evidently treated for his disability or ever enrolled in school. On her taxes, Jones had him listed as a dependent and with her health insurance but later had his name removed from both. She also had him listed as a beneficiary on her life insurance but then had him removed and a friend listed instead.
In their search of the apartment where the two lived at, in the 3600 block of Alexandria Court, authorities found bloodstains in the carpeting throughout the apartment. Witnesses also testified on the physical abuse inflicted on Brandon in the months leading up to his disappearance, of which he often had bruises. According to one witness, Jones repeatedly hit Brandon with a show, and that she would leave her son with some friends for days at a time, and charged with Brandon’s murder in October of 1996. At her trial, a forensic expert attested that flies would not be attracted by the smell of urine, especially in the matter described. A neighbor testified to seeing Jones repeatedly wash the interior of her car during the summer Brandon vanished.
Moreover, some of her friends and acquaintances attested to her abuse of Brandon, and one witness testified to hearing Jones say when asked if she had beaten Brandon to death, that Jones replied, “I guess so.”
Jones’s defense tried to mitigate her crime with the argument that she had been abused as a child herself, and not being prepared for motherhood. However, her defense failed and got convicted of murder and neglect of a dependent with a sentence of 50 years in prison.
During her incarceration in the Indiana Women’s Prison, Jones got a degree from Ball University, where she published papers on the subject of American history and presented her work by video to history conferences. She along with other inmates won a prize in 2016 for the Indiana Historical Society’s best research project. Aside from that, she also wrote dance compositions and plays.
The following year, in 2017, after serving twenty years of her sentences, Jones was released; she had subsequently been accepted into graduate programs at four universities and is now working towards a doctorate in American Studies from New York University.
Interestingly, a Time article on Jones raised the question of to what extent someone in her place should have redemption.
At the time of his vanishing, Brandon was four-years-old but had the physical height of a seven-year-old. He is an African-American male with black hair and brown eyes. His height and weight are unknown.
Brandon had a rare condition called gonadotropin-independent precocious puberty, which is characterized by the early secretions of high levels of sex hormones. In addition to having the symptoms of his condition, he also would have rapidly grown in his early childhood before his growth plates fused prematurely, Although Brandon’s condition was treatable, he was not getting treated for it at the time he vanished. Without the treatment, Brandon would never reach normal adult height.
- Indianapolis Police Department 317–327–6915