Dylan Rounds up close snapshot

‘Squatter’ Charged With Murder of Missing Teen Farmer Dylan Rounds

The suspect in the disappearance of a teenage Utah farmer has now been charged with his murder.

Dyland Rounds, 19, was last heard from at about 7 a.m. on May 28, 2022, when he told his grandmother by phone that he was “putting the grain truck in a shelter.” His family reported him missing two days later, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

Investigators found a pair of Rounds’ boots during the search for him on his property, one of which contained a blood stain that was confirmed to to belong to the missing man, but no sign of Rounds himself has turned up.

In June, a neighbor was arrested and charged with a federal gun charge, and a few days later, investigators named the same man a suspect in Rounds’ disappearance. James Brenner, 59, had been squatting on the land where Rounds was taking the grain truck to the shelter.

Brenner was charged Friday with aggravated murder and abuse or desecration of a dead body, KSL reported. The arrest affidavit says that investigators found Rounds’ phone in a pond near the property and a timelapse video on that phone — time stamped at about the time of Rounds’ disappearance — showing Brenner “with blood stains on his arms and shirt as he is cleaning a gun.” Investigators said the located the shirt Brenner was wearing, and that an analysis found Rounds’ DNA on it.

“(Brenner) was interviewed and made several claims that corroborated forensic evidence in addition to making numerous demonstrably false statements,” the affidavit says. “Despite a thorough investigation and extensive search, the victim’s body was not recovered due to (Brenner) removing and concealing it.”

“These charges come after a difficult and extensive 9 month investigation by the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, and are supported by the information that has been gathered and evidence collected,” the Box Elder County attorney’s office said in a statement, according to KSTU. “The evidence supports that James Brenner is the only suspect. Although the remains of Dylan Rounds have yet to be located, we are hopeful that they will be found in the future.”

Brenner has been in the Weber County jail on the gun charge since his arrest last summer.

Rounds’ parents, Justin Rounds and Candace Cooley, issued a statement thanking the community for their support during the long investigation.

“The charges are based on solid evidence that has been released by Box Elder,” Cooley wrote. “We ask you continue your thoughts and prayers for justice for Dylan and that we can bring him home.”

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[Featured image: Dylan Rounds/handout]