Disappeared: Bradyn Fuksa, missing 4 years. [UPDATED–FOUND.]

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This article, originally posted June 17, 2013, was updated May 8, 2015.

This case has been concluded. Today, May 8, 2015, the Natrona County (Wyoming) coroner announced that they identified human skeletal remains found last week as those of Michael Bradyn Fuksa. He appears to have died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The full story is here.

My sincerest condolences go out to the Fuksa family as well as the rest of Bradyn’s friends and loved ones. This is a very sad end, but at least there’s closure.

Did you find this article after viewing an episode of Disappeared on Investigation Discovery? You may be interested in some other missing persons cases with equally compelling stories who have not been featured on TV, like Israel Smith – Bobby Sine – Stevie BatesJay Pringle. Maybe you have a tip that could help!

Original Text of the Article (17 June 2013)

Michael Fuksa, who went by the name Bradyn, was an outgoing, attractive 22-year-old college student living in Olathe, Kansas. One summer night about four years ago, Bradyn left his house, telling his roommate he was going to spend the night with his parents. He did not show up at his parents’ house. Instead, for reasons unknown, he drove his car (a 1996 Ford Explorer) to the wilds of Wyoming, about a 10-hour drive. Early the next morning, July 16, 2009, Bradyn got a flat tire fixed at a shop in Wheatland, Wyoming. The guy who fixed his tire was the last person to see him. A few hours later the car was found parked on the side of the highway, with gas, locked, and with Bradyn’s valuables inside.

Charley Project’s file has this information:

Fuksa may have been carrying a blue Nike bag, a pocket knife and a 9-millimeter handgun at the time of his disappearance. His cellular phone disappeared with him and hasn’t been used since he went missing. He had previously been arrested for theft and was out on bail on that charge when he disappeared. Although there is no evidence of foul play in his case, and it’s possible he is simply running from the law, Fuksa’s family is concerned for his welfare. Kansas police are investigating his case, which remains unsolved.

This case was featured on an episode of the Investigation Discovery show “Disappeared” under the title “Lost Highway.” The episode mentioned a possible sighting of Bradyn at a homeless shelter in Wyoming a few months later, but that sighting could not be confirmed.  The episode also stressed Bradyn’s arrest earlier in July, which was for stealing money from his employer.

Was Bradyn running from the law? Clearly he was spooked by his arrest for theft. But is it that simple? A question the Disappeared show did not answer was this: what did he need all the money for? His parents seemed to be reasonably well-off. A young man known for previously being forthright and honest doesn’t turn to embezzlement without a compelling reason–that is an act of desperation. Why did he need all this money, and what did he think was going to happen to him if he didn’t get it?

I would not be surprised if Bradyn Fuksa is still alive out there somewhere. Clearly I hope so. Maybe in the future we’ll get resolution on this case. Maybe not.

31 Comments on Disappeared: Bradyn Fuksa, missing 4 years. [UPDATED–FOUND.]

  1. Thanks for profiling this case, Sean. I live in Lawrence Ks which is one of the last places Bradyn had been before he disappeared, and I hadn’t even heard of his case until I saw it on “Disappeared.” Just goes to show you that sometimes people can go missing and not enough attention is drawn to the case. Being featured on a national show on the I.D. channel is great, and also the fact that you have written recently about this case is great. I often wonder about him, and what truly happened. One thing I believe is certain though, (although noone seems to verify this) I believe there is *much* more to the story, and I for one won’t forget about him.

    • I agree that it’s quite likely there is more to the story than has reached the public. I believe that’s true of almost all missing persons cases.

  2. His parents seemed so undisturbed when they talked on the show..It just tortures me to not know what truly happened to bradyn….I hope he’s well alive somewhere.. But i don’t think he is or someone would’ve sawn him… a person can’t just hide forever….No way…I’m confused and this case…im curious……………..

  3. Sometime parents whose child is missing, and who have had time to digest the situation learn to cope. They may have also gone through the grieving process, or have accepted that their child (young adult) is gone, at least for now. Hopefully one day Bradyn will come home, or make contact with his folks. If he gets arrested again his prints will come up on NCIC and his parents will be notified.

  4. I too was so sad to hear this story today on Disappeared. I ran right to the computer after the show to see if he had been found. He looks like my Xhusband and makes me so sad to think his parents dont know where he is. I will pray that he is found and that God will bring comfort and peace to his family. All you can do is know that he is being taken care of by the greatest God and he will protect all his children. God bless them!

  5. I too have just watched this story on Discovery ID. How wonderful that they are still running the story, and there are still updates like this page. Of course like many I was touched deeply by the story and moved to check the web for any updates. I’m sad to learn that he is still missing. I don’t pretend to know all of the facts, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to decide to walk away-no matter the reason-he obviously was confused and suffering some sort of emotional turmoil, because no one walks away from a loving family easily, and I cannot fathom what his loved ones are going through. None of this is for me to judge or analyze. It doesn’t really matter why after all does it? He’s young, he’s made a couple of poor choices, haven’t we all? I didn’t always have all the answers, and many times wished I could “just run away”. I pray that’s all this is. I pray he will find his way home to the people that love him so very much. I pray he realizes that all can be mended and tucked away, soon to be a distant memory. He has his whole life ahead of him. It started with one step away from them…..and the fix is just as simple if he is still out there. Just take that first step headed back in the right direction. Towards the people who love you and support you. Together you can get through anything!!! Prayers to all involved, hope to read about a joyous return soon.

  6. I just watched the program. What I have surmised from it is the young man is an outdoor person. When he was locked up overnight his roommate shared he was extremely upset and his present girlfriend said this also. He IS scared to death of being locked up. And as time has gone on, he is even more afraid because he ran that there is always the possibility he WILL be behind bars.

    The man cannot handle that. Period. He is in Montana. He has started a new life with a new name and social security number. He stays off the radar and most likely is working in an environment that involves being outdoors. Possibly married and even with kids. If his parents truly want to find him I suggest they hire a private detective.

    Bradyn is alive. That is what I believe.

  7. Did the police ever take a closer look at the auto repair man? Seems strange, would he have money to pay for the tire?

    • Jean Cole // January 16, 2014 at 5:44 am //

      He had transferred $800.00 from his parent’s account to his account very shortly before leaving. So, yes. He had money on him. He abandoned his vehicle about an hours drive up the road after it was repaired. I do believe he decided to do this because the auto repair person had seen him, had his vehicle information etc (which Bradyn had left his copy in the vehicle). I believe he had every intention of driving right into Montana before getting rid of the car. But, because he was seen etc, he did not want to risk the chance of getting caught before he got to Montana.

  8. I watched this episode today, I initially thought he stole the money for drugs but who knows, I hope he’s alive and well somewhere, he’s one year older than me so it caught my attention

    • Jean Cole // January 16, 2014 at 5:53 am //

      No. He stole the money because his hours had been cut drastically at his job, he could not find another job and doing things on the side was not enough. Instead of admitting to his parents he needed a substantial amount money to pay his rent, etc, he stole from his employer. I don’t believe this theft was premeditated. He only stole about $1000. But that is enough to be considered a felony. I do believe Bradyn just panicked.

      I also think he did not go to his parents about any of these things because his parents would have been disappointed and he had a hard time disappointing them. He also seems to be a young man with great pride wanting to please his parents and make them proud.

      I have kept things from my mother for years. Things that were terribly bad. I could not and would not tell her because I did not want to see that disappointment in her face. I am now taking care of my mother in her senior years and I still would NEVER tell her. I know what it feels like to disappoint your parents.

      I believe Bradyn would rather not face his parents disappointment and questions. I also believe he would rather have his parents not knowing where he is than run the risk of going to prison for a crime that most likely would have been no jail time. He made almost full restitution to his employer. He probably would have gotten a fine and community service. But, he was too scared that may not be the case and he would have to go to prison. THAT he could not do.

  9. Jean Cole // January 16, 2014 at 6:00 am //

    Bradyn’s parents and his ex-girlfriend said he was fascinated with Montana. I believe he picked the college town as his first destination upon arrival simply because he would blend in well with the college kids. He was the right age and his look (though very nice) was not exceptional or jarringly different and it would be very easy for him to blend.

  10. jean cole,

    just watched this episode on disappeared and it turly broke my heart. like many i came online to see if there were any updates. i’m so sad that there aren’t any. i’m a 22 year old girl and just thinking about never seeing my family gets me nervous and sad. i can not imagine what bradyn is feeling nor his parents. i think you answered a few of my questions that i was left wondering. you had such great insight on the case and very good analyzation of the episode. I hope you are right and that he is alive out there somewhere. do you have any beliefs as to why he took the gun? that was a bit strange. at first i felt as though maybe he wanted to commit suicide but why would anyone drive 700+ miles to do this?

    I truly hope that he is found alive and well soon, so his parents can get closure,and hopefully stop suffering.

    one more question for you jean cole if you dont mind, have you seen the episode on brittanne drexel? the 17 year old girl that hasn’t been seen since she was last in myrtle beach? if you have, what do you think about that case? it really hit home for me.


    • Jean Cole // January 25, 2014 at 5:59 am //

      No, I have not seen that episode. I will look for it online, though. Missing young people especially disturb me.

    • Jean Cole // January 25, 2014 at 7:38 am //

      I forgot to answer your question on why he took his father’s gun, so I will give you my opinion on that right now. Bradyn owned firearms that were registered in his name. Hunting guns and guns that would be what a person would use for personal protection.

      I think he took his father’s gun simply because it was something that his father treasured. I don’t believe for a minute this young man had any inclination of killing himself. He took his father’s firearm because it meant the world to his father and therefore it was a very important *piece* of his father he desperately needed to take with him. Not taking any of his own firearms is simply why would you need that many guns to protect yourself?

      Since the boy grew up with guns of all sorts and this was a huge part of his lifestyle with his family, a coveted firearm that belonged to his father would be far more fitting for him to take than say a pair of cufflinks.

      • I have two theories. One he is living in the wilderness(since his family said he enjoyed the outdoors and its easy to hide there. His family even said he KNEW how to hunt since five) or he took his life ( out of fear of imprisonment). He is a very good looking guy. A face that would stick in your mind for life. If someone DID spot him they wouldnt forget. I hope he is found and that he faces reality that running was never the answer. Problems will catch up with you. Time will tell and I hope time is on his parents side. That he is safe.

    • Jean Cole // January 25, 2014 at 8:28 am //

      I have found a recent post about Brittanne.


      Remains have been found in the area in which she was last seen. No details yet on whether they are even human and no DNA results.

      I will search periodically to see what the outcome is. My opinion? They are hers.

      • Hi jean

        Thankyou for your insight on both cases. I think your gun theory sounds correct. I didn’t think he wanted to commit suicide either. It’s really unfortunate that it’s been this long and he hasn’t returned home.

        The remains believed to be brittanee Drexel are not hers. I have been following this case since early 2010 and “liked” on FB some pAges supporting her safe return and a few of them said those remains weren’t hers. Her family is still seeking. Her mother feels she’s been trafficked. She thinks this because myrtle beach is a vacation area that many young people go for spring vacation.

        It’s so unfortunate that these two are atill missing; but I know there are so many more out there. It is truly sad.

      • Jean Cole // January 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm //

        Are the remains human and if so, do they know who it is?

      • There were 2 that were found. One was not and the other one was human. I think it belonged to a man.

      • Jean Cole // January 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm //

        Would be interesting to know who it was. Brittanne’s family thinking she was abducted for trafficking is, imo, a long shot. And to be brutally honest, I would rather my daughter be deceased than to be in a human trafficking situation.

        It is all very sad and I often sit around wondering how many of these people were abducted and no one noticed a thing.

  11. Ryan P. // June 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm //

    Where are you all getting Montana from? He disappeared in Wyoming.

    • Ryan P. – the police discovered he drove 10 hours to get to Montana. His family said he was fascinated with that particular state.

  12. I think He off’ed himself…no conspiracy. He needed a way out.

  13. Its interesting to see how this case (among many others similarly) resonates with people. Personally, he really seems like someone I would know, just a totally normal, nice guy. Its so hard for me to fathom how he just could completely disappear. At the same time, I was in legal situation once, come to think of it, at around the same time, and it really made an impression on me. Despite never having been in trouble and being a good kid from a good family, having been in that situation of being in legal trouble was scary. You get all these cops treating you like you’re a felon who’s life is going to be ruined, and it really makes you think about yourself and your choices. I know, at the time, I really felt like I had ruined my life. It wasn’t until talking to people and really researching the situation that I realized it really was just more of a warning. And so it really sinks in to me that he didn’t get that from anyone, explaining that it really would have been fixable. I just hope it had nothing to do with his disappearance and hope this question will be answered.

  14. the guy that fixed the tire was supposedly the last person to see Bradyn, why wasn’t he investigated more… usually the person who has last seen a missing person is investigated …

  15. Tamar E. Woodhouse-Young // August 6, 2015 at 6:51 am //

    I just watched disappeared on Investigation Discovery, where Michael Bradyn Fuksa’s story was highlighted. I was disparate to know the end so I did a search online and was saddened by the information that his skeletal remains were found… I did not finish watching the program. As a teacher of children ages 14 – 18, I encourage children to talk to parents and parents to talk to their children. Let them know it is alright to “mess up”. No one is perfect. My heart goes out to all those touched by this case.
    Still making a difference one student at a time, Ms. WH-Y (as the kid’s call me since my last name is Woodhouse-Young and had been shortened to WH-Young on teacher lists for duties etc.)

  16. m.hainex // August 6, 2015 at 7:17 am //

    Sorry, I too held out hope for Bradlyn, He sounds so much like my son of the same age…
    but the update, has said that Remains found was that of Bradlyn, self inflicted GUN shot.

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