Monday, 26 June 2017

What really happened to Brandon Lawson? What did he really say in that 911 call?

Good evening friends.
Last week at work I was listening to the True Crime garage two-part podcast on missing man Brandon Lawson (which you can listen to by clicking right here)
In the episodes they try to dissect and analyze the call Brandon made to 911. They isolate each sentence, clean it up, slow it down, play it normal speed, you name it, they do it.
Believe it or not, despite knowing of this case, I’ve never actually looked into it, meaning I have no preconceived idea of what Brandon is actually saying, nor have I ever frequented any forum posts on the subject or websites discussing the recording. I really liked the fact that True Crime Garage didn’t attempt to lead the listener in any one direction at the start of their podcast, and I found their break down of the 911 call really helpful.

(Brandon. Source)

All I originally knew about the case was that a few years ago a twenty something man stormed out of his home somewhere in the USA after a spat with his long term girlfriend. He drove off and was never seen again. His truck was found parked on a highway and all anyone investigating the case has to go on was the panicked phone call he made to the emergency services.

It’s hard to make out what Lawson actually says in the call in some parts, but for me at least, clear enough in others. The problem is that in some ways it’s like listening to an EVP, everyone hears something different and the overall audio is garbled. Often times people just seem to shoe horn in words that feel like they’d fit into whatever situation they imagine is happening. The fact of the matter is, nobody actually knows what happened, and Brandon is still missing to this day.

So what do we know to be true?

-Well we can confirm that Brandon Lawson had an argument with his wife.
-He left the house and got in his truck.
-His truck was found parked awkwardly on highway 277.
-A passing truck driver made a call reporting it, but the call is not available to listen to and what was actually said has apparently never been revealed. Most people assume that he was the one reporting the awkwardly parked truck as a hazard to other drivers. We do not know for sure.
-Brandon called his brother to say he had run out of gas. As a result, Brandon’s brother went out looking for him.
-Brandon’s wife did not answer any of the multiple calls Brandon and his brother made to her that night.
-Brandon called 911 and placed the following call.

(Heads up, you might want to click to another tab or not look at the screen while listening as there’s some transcript at the start)

I want to point out that at this point in the post I have still not researched the call. So I’m going to type up my version of what I hear. I’m not going to include all what the operator says as in my opinion it’s quite clear, I’m quite sure you’ll agree with me on that.
After that, I’ll research and get into it.

This is what I hear:

“Hey I’m in the middle of a field, a (cypher?) just pushed some guys over”
“Right here going towards Averlene on both sides”

“My truck ran out of gas, there’s one car here – got chased (taken?) to the woods”
“Please hurry”

“ 'Cause when I was talkin’to ‘em, I suddenly ran into ‘em”

(The operator then says “Oh you ran into them okay”)

“Got (Shot? / just?) the first guy”

The operator then asks if Brandon needs an ambulance, to which he replies “ye-no, I need the cops”

This is strange to me, because when I listen to this phone call I feel as though I’m hearing someone report an accident. But when he rejects the ambulance and confirms he needs the cops, that throws me off and makes me think there’s some sort of ongoing crime happening.
At the end of the call the operator asks “is anybody hurt?

Brandon does not respond and what sounds like the engine of a vehicle can be heard, then the phone call cuts.

Now, let’s get into the happenings of the night the man went missing.

So Brandon Lawson went missing from Bronte (Coke County) Texas.
This information makes me re-think what I heard as “On both sides” because A) what does that even mean in the context or a moving person / vehicle? And B) towards “Bronte” just seems to make more sense in this situation.
So I hit up my old friend Google maps to help me out, since I have no geographic knowledge of Texas at all, and I get this. So now I’m thinking he’s saying “Right here going towards Abilene on Bronte side” – this makes much more sense.

(Image: google maps)

The fastest route to Abilene from Bronte is via highway 277, which, according to this missing poster for Brandon, is exactly where his truck was found. This is also confirmed in the phone call he made to his brother, who set off to take him a jerry can of gas.

This video shows the location more clearly.

Now that we know what the location looks like and have a brief idea of where Brandon was last recorded to be, let’s try and put together a timeline of events that happened the night he seemingly vanished off the face of the earth.

9th August 2013
-Brandon left his San Angelo residence at approximately 11:53pm. He and his long term girlfriend (and mother of his children) got into an argument and he left.

-Brandon calls his brother at 12.38

-Brandon makes the 911 call we discussed above at 12:54

- Both Brandon’s brother and an officer show up at the unlocked, abandoned truck at the same time, around 1.10am
Brandon was not there and was never seen or heard from again

There’s talk of Brandon possibly hiding from the authorities due to an outstanding warrant. That doesn’t make much sense to me seeing as Brandon called 911 of his own accord and sounded in desperate need of assistance. Also I think for most people, if their life was in danger, they would probably think ‘screw the warrant”. I know we don’t know this for a fact, but the guy called 911 for assistance, so clearly whatever was happening to him was way more serious than getting arrested for the warrant. It seems unrealistic that he would leave behind his wife, children, family, job and everyone and everything he had ever known just to dodge a warrant. Am I alone in this thought?

(Brandon, his common law wife and kids. Source)

Now I’m going to research other people’s interpretations of the phone call and see what they heard. Maybe their translation of the tape can shine some light in the direction of what actually happened.

 So the first place I went to was the unresolved mysteries reddit sub. There was a post about Brandon there and one commenter (subtlelikeatrex) happened to also agree with what I thought I heard in the call.

 Another comment I found really interesting was this one, because it's written by someone who is actually from the area. 

Remember this is just this guys theory.(above)

Now one thing I read in the comments, which never occurred to me as I listened to the tape, is that there was more than one person on the call (on Brandon's end) and that it sounds like it's on speaker phone. Apparently when the dispatcher asks if Brandon needs an ambulance, another voice says "yeah" and then Brandon says "no". Honestly I never thought that the first time, I thought Brandon cut himself off, like "yea-no" and was just panting from running. But now that I listen to it with that idea in mind, I can entertain it (or am I being swayed here?) Either way, it doesn't change what is said in the clip, but him not being alone just adds to the mystery. This is why some people believe that Brandon ran out of gas, or was approached by someone at a rest stop where he assumed his brother would meet him, met someone there who was in trouble and started getting chased down by whoever was after that first guy. He did say in the call he was "in a field", not "by his car" so that would imply he was running from something. 

Some speculate that he was on drugs (meth) and was in a state of paranoia out alone in the darkness in the middle of nowhere. 

Some think that he was saying "State trooper" pulled some guys over (as in the ST was doing some dodgy dealings with locals, Brandon happened to run into them and see the deal going down and they chased him into the woods) 
One reddit user believes that the tape was actually edited, and recorded their own version of how they thought the original went. Check it out here << 

One person suggested Brandon was saying "A scraper just pushed some guys over" as in a type of construction vehicle that may have been on the road for some reason.

There is an endless amount of discussion on this case.
If you want to read more comments and theories or check out the reports and media on the case try these links: