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Search for Brandon Swanson continues

Brandon Swanson

PORTER -- The search for Brandon Swanson, the Taunton teen who disappeared almost two years ago, resumed Friday.

"They are searching today, tomorrow and Sunday on the Yellow Medicine River near Porter down through to Granite Falls," said Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension spokesperson Jill Oliveira on Friday afternoon. "It is a pretty extensive section of the river, about 65 to 70 miles."

Swanson, who was a student at Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Canby Campus, was celebrating his last day of school for the year on May 14, 2008. He called his parents shortly after midnight to say he had driven into a ditch. They immediately set out to find him.

Swanson and his father were talking on the phone around 3 a.m., trying to find each other, when the teen shouted and the phone went dead. He hasn't been heard from since.

Authorities were contacted, but a response was delayed because, officers pointed out, it was not unusual for a 19-year-old to stay out all night after finishing college classes. According to Swanson's mother, one officer stated her son "had a right to be missing."

Swanson had told his parents he was near Lynd, but his cell phone calls were traced to a tower 20 miles away. His vehicle was found near Porter.

Extensive searching with dogs, ATVs, trained searchers and authorities had gone on for two years, but nothing has ever been found that indicated Swanson's presence.

Swanson's parents are responsible for the enactment of Brandon's Law, which was signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty on May 7, 2009. It went into effect July 1, 2009.

The law will require law enforcement to take a missing person report without delay after notification of someone missing under dangerous circumstances, no matter the person's age.

According to Oliveira, the search taking place this weekend is utilizing dog teams and volunteers from local fire departments, along with trained search personnel. Currently, the group is not looking for volunteers.

"We need to search with trained personnel who can do a documented search," Oliveira explained. "The nature of the search is that it be thorough and documented."

If the search isn't successful, she stated, they might ask for the public's help in the future.

A website at states a comprehensive search plan is in place. In a non-dated entry from sometime this winter, a note from search manager Jeff Hasse states, "We are confident that we will eventually find Brandon's remains. We cannot predict when this will be, as searches seem to evolve on their own time schedule. However, with each search we narrow the search area some. Eventually we will be able to bring Brandon home."