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.