Thomas Brown family, friends mark grim 5-year anniversary with courthouse protest

Local News

PAMPA, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Thomas Brown, a teenager in Canadian, left his house for the final confirmed time on Nov. 23, 2016 – the night before Thanksgiving. His disappearance five years ago led to a joint investigation with state and federal officials, the creation of the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit, at least one podcast, and ongoing updates from private investigators that conflicted with information released by officials.

An announcement from Thomas Brown’s mother, Penny Meek, detailed that Brown’s family and friends would mark the fifth anniversary of his disappearance with a protest outside the 31st District Attorney’s office at the Gray County Courthouse. The protest was meant, according to the announcement, with the hope of “moving forward efforts” to pursue justice in the case.

“Demands will be made to District Attorney Franklin McDonough to immediately call for an Investigative Grand Jury to question all family and witnesses under oath,” said the announcement about the 10 a.m. protest, “and present all evidence in the Thomas Brown death to a group of regular citizens – to determine who else was involved and present at his death, and post-death in disposing of his body. This must happen to preserve witness testimony and evidence, and to address the many questions surrounding his death.”

The Grand Jury would be necessary, said the announcement, for the evidence to be heard “without bias.”

After mentioning Brown’s disappearance and the discovery of his remains years later, the announcement described that his mother and her family wished “to know of the chain of custody of Thomas’ remains, where they are now, and be given a path to petition for his return.”

Brown’s remains were taken into custody for forensic investigation, according to the Texas Attorney General’s office, where no certain cause of death was able to be confirmed as of Nov. 2021.

A few months after Brown’s remains were found, the Texas Attorney General’s office suspended the investigation into his death with the note that there was no viable evidence of foul play.

However, the announcement of the protest argued that evidence gathered by the family’s private investigator, Phillip Klein, included Luminol photos that would support the idea of Brown’s death being due to a homicide. The announcement further argued for the assembly of a Grand Jury by citing a refusal by the District Attorney to investigate and a “botched local Sheriff investigation.”

Further, the announcement brought up the Klein Investigations and Consulting presentation, and the summary of the investigation released by the Texas Attorney General’s office, to contend that there could be enough evidence for the case to go to court in some form.

“It seems unfortunately clear now that the AG’s office theorizes that Tom’s mother and family moved his body in the middle of the night, post-suicide to an unknown area miles away, busy with wild animals who would destroy his body,” said the protest announcement, “These same family members are eager to be questioned by a local Grand Jury tasked with finding answers that Law Enforcement cannot or will not do in this troubling case. They also want their son’s body to be returned home to receive a proper burial, to finally be put to rest in a way befitting the great kid that Thomas Brown was, and man he was set to become.”

While the investigation report released by the Attorney General’s office did say that the Hemphill County Sheriff’s office “mishandled” parts of the investigation, the report did not accuse Brown’s family of being responsible for his death or for the location of his remains.

The release asked those in favor of Brown’s family pursuing a Grand Jury to “call on District Attorney Franklin McDonough to call for an Investigative Grand Jury, to do his job to re-examine all witnesses, establish their timelines and secure the evidence and testimony for future resolution.”

This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates.

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