Remains found near Canadian, Texas have been identified as Thomas Brown, an 18-year-old missing from the area since November of 2016.
“We have been advised that the remains of Tom Brown, of Canadian, Texas, has been found off of Lake Marvin Road – near Lake Marvin,” read a Tuesday press release by Klein Investigations and Consulting, a private investigating group working with the Brown family. “His remains have been confirmed through dental records.”
Family members were informed of the discovery Tuesday afternoon.
“We ask for prayers for our family, Thomas’s friends and our community,” Thomas’s mother Penny Kendall-Meek told Dateline Wednesday. “We are heartbroken.”
Tuesday’s press release stated the remains were “found by a person that had heard the call from law enforcement and [Klein Investigations and Consulting] asking everyone to keep a watch on Lake Marvin Road.” It’s unclear on what date the remains were found.
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“The person did the right thing – if you see something say something,” the release reads. “Although the discovery of Tom’s remains gives some closure to the mystery of his location, there are still questions on what really happened on Lake Marvin Road. And now, a new phase will begin in the investigation, and those whom may know something need to come forward now.”
The press release does not detail Thomas’s cause of death. The Hemphill County Sheriff’s Office told Dateline in November of 2018 that Thomas’s case was turned over to the Texas Attorney General Criminal Investigation Division in the beginning of 2018. The Texas Attorney General Criminal Investigation Division did not reply to Dateline’s request for comment.
As Dateline originally reported, Thomas Brown was last seen in his hometown of Canadian, Texas on the night of November 23, 2016. Thomas’s family grew concerned as soon as he failed to return home by his typically-followed midnight curfew.
“Thomas never missed curfew. He would even come home well before curfew, and then he and his friends would play video games,” his mother Penny told Dateline in November of 2018. Penny said she and Thomas’s brother, Tucker, drove around town for a couple of hours searching for Thomas’s car, but had no luck.
Unbeknownst to Penny, a couple of hours later -- after dawn -- one of Thomas’s friends went up in with her father in a helicopter to look for Thomas’s car. They spotted the car in a remote section of the Canadian, Texas suburbs, about four miles from Thomas’s home. But Thomas was nowhere to be seen.
“It was found near where our sewage ponds are, which is not near anywhere he would have gone,” Penny told Dateline of the car’s location. Penny added that Thomas’s phone, laptop, backpack, and keys were all missing from the car, though the chargers were still there.
Two months after Thomas disappeared, his backpack was located about four miles from where his car had been found. About 10 months later, in a subsequent search, Thomas’s cellphone was also located. It was found five miles from where his backpack was, nine miles from the car.
Thomas was in his senior year of high school when he disappeared.
“The first year Thomas was missing, we wanted to give a scholarship in his honor because he was not graduating with his class,” Penny told Dateline in November. “Our hope is to be able to raise enough money to be able to give the scholarship to a Canadian high school student every year, but also to be able to give scholarships throughout the [Texas] Panhandle.”
Penny added that while the scholarship is to honor Thomas, it’s also to give back to the people who have helped support her and her family over the past two years.
“I don’t have words to describe the support we have gotten throughout the Panhandle,” she said. “I have received messages from people all over the world.”
If you have any information on Thomas’s case, please call the Texas Attorney General Criminal Investigation Division at 512-463-2100.
Bianca Hillier covers missing person and homicide cases for NBC News.