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Suspect named in the Utah disappearance of 19-year-old farmer Dylan Rounds

On July 7, the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office named 58-year-old James Brenner a suspect in the Utah disappearance of 19-year-old farmer Dylan Rounds. The investigation remains ongoing.

On Thursday, July 7, 2022, the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office announced through a press release, that a suspect has been named in the disappearance of 19-year-old farmer Dylan Rounds.

Dateline featured Dylan’s case in our ‘Missing in America’ series in June and spoke with his parents, Justin Rounds and Candice Cooley.

They told Dateline that Dylan grew up in Idaho but owned a farm in Lucin, Utah that he purchased with his grandfather in 2019. They said that Dylan would frequently go back to Idaho to visit his parents but spent most nights living in his camper on the farm.

On Saturday, May 28, 2022, Dylan was on his farm in Lucin, Utah, speaking with his grandmother. Dylan’s mother, Candice, told Dateline that he told his grandmother he couldn’t speak long because he had to move his seed truck into the shed since it was raining that day. That was the last time anyone heard from Dylan.

On Monday, May 30, Candice reported her son missing.

Candice told Dateline that she immediately suspected foul play. She said while searching Dylan’s farm on May 30, his truck looked like it had been power washed and the seats appeared to have been moved. She also told Dateline that she believed there should have been tire tracks on the ground since it was raining that weekend, but there were no tracks.

Candice said Dylan’s boots were also a red flag. She told Dateline that to her knowledge, Dylan only had one pair of boots, which he always wore. Dylan’s boots were found on the farm beyond his truck, in the opposite direction of his camper which his parents found extremely suspicious. Candice also told East Idaho News that detectives found “a spot of blood” on the boots.

The Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Dylan’s disappearance with the assistance of the Elko County Sheriff’s Office.

On June 9, the Elko County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada issued a press release that said Dylan was last seen in “Montello before his disappearance on the 26th of May” and that he “ate at a local establishment and then returned to Utah.” Montello, Nevada is about 30 minutes away from the farm Dylan lived on in Lucin. The release went on to say that “cell phone data was used to track Dylan’s phone around his farm near Lucin, Utah.” The release also noted that the “last cell phone communication from Dylan’s phone was on the 28th of May near his farm in Box Elder County.”

There were no known suspects at the time.

That changed on July 7. The Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release Thursday that 58-year-old James Brenner is now considered a suspect in the disappearance of Dylan Rounds. The release stated that “with the analysis of both physical evidence and forensic data,” officials have “identified James Brenner as a suspect.”

Court documents reveal that Brenner has a criminal history. On May 21, 2012, Brenner was sentenced to 33 months in prison for a conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. It adds that he has several other convictions as well.

The documents state that Brenner was “squatting in a trailer” located on land about 5 miles away from Dylan Rounds’ property.

The documents add that on June 16, the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the FBI, “executed a search warrant at the trailer where Brenner was living.” It noted that “during that search, ball ammunition, ignition caps, black powder, and speed loads,” were all found in the trailer.

The Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office stated that at this time, “no criminal charges have been filed specifically regarding Dylan Rounds,” and that “investigation is not complete and remains active.”

According to NBC affiliate KSL, on Wednesday July 6, an indictment was filed against Brenner for being a felon in possession of a firearm and he was ordered to remain in police custody until his arraignment scheduled for today.

Dateline spoke to Andy Choate, spokesperson for the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office, who said Brenner appeared in court today from 1:30 p.m. to 1:40 p.m. Choate said Brenner remains in custody and is currently being held by the Federal magistrate in Salt Lake City. He noted that Brenner’s trial date is set for September 12, 2022, and “he was ordered detained pending trial.”

Dateline reached out to Brenner’s attorney for comment but has not yet heard back.

Find Dylan Rounds

Dylan’s family is offering a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the recovery, arrest, and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his disappearance.

However, on July 7, the family said in a statement that they “are not asking for, or requesting any additional public searches for Dylan Rounds at this time.” They added that they would like to “allow law enforcement to continue their organized investigation without any hindrance or interference, in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation.” The family thanked everyone involved “for their continued support.”

Anyone with information about Dylan Rounds’ case is asked to contact the Box Elder County Sheriff’s office at 435-734-3800.