© 2005 – 2018
Iowa Cold Cases
All Rights Reserved
If you'd like to reprint a post or case summary, please contact us with the name of the requested post/article. Thank you in advance!
Fifty-five-year-old Brian “Farmer” Burns was reported missing to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office in Manchester, Iowa, on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, and the sheriff’s office is asking for the public’s help in locating him.
Authorities said Burns was last seen at his 1381 180th St. residence in Delaware County on Thursday, December 19, 2013.
Burns is a 6-foot-tall white male with green eyes, short gray and balding hair, and weighs about 240 pounds.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Missing Person Information Clearinghouse, Burns is considered physically or mentally disabled.
At the time of his disappearance, officials said he may be wearing a brown coat, flannel shirt, blue jeans, a baseball cap and hiking boots.
Burns didn’t own a vehicle, possess a driver’s license or have a cell phone, which investigators said made it difficult to track his whereabouts.
On Saturday morning, Dec. 28, 2013, friends, family, law enforcement and volunteers came together to search for Burns, KWWL reported that same day.
Burns’ nephew, Levon Smith, said it wasn’t like Burns to disappear during the holiday season.
“Holidays he is always home,” Smith told Channel 7 News. “He knows that when family comes home, he comes home. It’s just not something you see.”
Smith joined Saturday’s search party, and authorities said they hoped a fresh set of eyes might help identify something they hadn’t previously caught.
Chris Willey, president of the Snow Pioneers Snowmobile Club, said about 15 club members rode snowmobiles near and around Burns’ home and place of work in search of any clues to Burns’ whereabouts.
“We work with emergency management,” Willey said. “Whenever there is a need like this the club has a group that comes out and helps do the search and rescue.”
Mike Ryan of the Delaware County Emergency Management group called Burns’ disappearance unique in nature because Burns didn’t have a license or vehicle or cell phone or do a lot of banking.
“We don’t have the usual tracking methods that we would have under normal circumstances,” Ryan told KWWL. “We are conducting a lot of interviews and discussing [Burns’ disappearance] with friends and family. We are just trying to develop a direction as to where to go, where to look and what possibly could have happened to him,” Ryan said.
Burns allegedly told his brother December 19 that he was getting a ride from someone, but authorities said they weren’t certain if the ride ever arrived.
“We don’t know if that is actual or if that is a fact,” Ryan said about his uncle’s reference to a ride. “It may have been something he just said to his brother. We are not sure.”
According to KWWL, Saturday’s limited search party concentrated around two specific areas: the Burns residence and the Hart Ridge Golf Course, where Burns worked.
Most people around town would recognize Burns from the golf course, his nephew said, because Burns spent a great deal of time there.
“He’s the life of Hart Ridge,” Smith told KWWL Saturday morning before the search began.
Smith said the family hoped the search would provide answers to questions of how and why Burns went missing.
“We are at the end of our wits with this one. We don’t [have] any explanations. We have no clues or nothing as to why,” Smith said of his uncle’s mysterious disappearance.
The search produced no answers, and Burns’ whereabouts remain unknown.
If you have any knowledge about Brian Burns’ unsolved disappearance or any information that might lead to his whereabouts, please call the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office at (563) 927-3135.