A Delaware County jury last week declared a Manchester man as deceased eight years after he went missing.
The request regarding Brian M. Burns, who was last seen on Dec. 19, 2013, came from his brother Randy Burns. When reached by the Telegraph Herald on Friday, Randy Burns declined to comment.
Sheriff John LeClere said though Brian Burns now is legally considered dead, the case regarding his disappearance will remain open, though little evidence has emerged since 2013 to give an indication of what happened to him.
“We’ve had theories, but nothing has panned out,” LeClere said. “It’s incredibly frustrating with no evidence to go by.”
According to court documents, Brian Burns, 55 at the time, was last seen at his residence at 1381 180th St. in Manchester on the morning of Dec. 19, 2013. At the time, he worked at Hart Ridge Golf Course in Manchester and was considered a functioning alcoholic by police.
Court documents state that Randy Burns, who was visiting Brian at the time, offered to give his brother a ride to town in the morning but Brian declined, claiming someone was coming to pick him up. Randy Burns told police he did not ask his brother who he was waiting for.
John Carr, attorney for Randy Burns, said that, since Brian’s disappearance, no evidence has been uncovered that indicates his whereabouts.
“Some of the most powerful evidence that he is deceased is there has been a lack of evidence that he is alive in the last eight years,” Carr said. “He hasn’t contacted anybody, hasn’t applied for any government-related benefits. Nothing has come up in the last eight years.”
LeClere said Brian lived a life that made him particularly difficult to track. He didn’t own a cellphone, had no credit cards and didn’t drive a car due to several convictions of operating while intoxicated.
“Without any of those things, we haven’t been able to come up with anything remotely concrete or feasible to explain what happened to him,” LeClere said. “We’ve not had one person say they have seen him.”
Court documents state that Brian often would walk to Hart Ridge Golf Course, located about four miles from his residence, and spend most of his weekends there, each night sleeping in the maintenance garage. While searches were conducted of the area between Brian’s residence and the course, no evidence of Brian’s whereabouts were discovered.
Carr said Randy Burns, on behalf of the Burns family, filed the petition to declare Brian dead to put the mystery to an end.
“The primary purpose was to bring closure to Brian’s family and his 100-year-old mother,” Carr said. “It’s been almost eight years, and there is no evidence that he is still alive.”