Justice may be getting closer for the family of a Utah teen after authorities this week filed murder charges in the case, Fox 13 reports.
On Friday, the Box Elder County Attorney’s Office charged 59-year-old James Brenner with aggravated murder and abuse or desecration of a human body in connection with the disappearance of 19-year-old Dylan Rounds.
Rounds had been reported missing on May 30, 2022, while he was farming in a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border, according to KSL-TV. Although his body has not been recovered, investigators did find boots believed to belong to him and that matched his DNA.
Police also obtained footage from a phone that appeared to show Rounds was on a property in Lucin, Utah, where Brenner was believed to be squatting in a trailer.
Rounds’ last cell phone ping was traced to a pond not far away from the trailer, according to Cache Valley Daily, citing court records.
“A digital forensic download of the phone was conducted and led to the discovery of a time-lapse video with a time stamp taken at the time of the victim’s disappearance,” the court documents state, according to Cache Valley Daily.
The video appears to show blood on Brenner’s arm and shirt while he was cleaning a gun. Police seized the shirt and found Rounds’ DNA on it.
Authorities believe that Brenner is the only person responsible for Rounds’ death.
“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 evidence supports that James Brenner is the only suspect,” a press release from the Box Elder County Attorney’s Office reads, according to Fox 13.
“Although the remains of Dylan Rounds have yet to be located, we are hopeful that they will be found in the future.”
Brenner was arrested in June 2022 and charged with a federal weapons offense because he was not permitted to have firearms as a convicted felon. He has been convicted multiple times of illegally possessing firearms as a felon, in addition to previous charges of malicious wounding and malicious shooting.
Following the charging announcement, Rounds’ mother, Candice Cooley, issued a public statement.
“Justin [Dylan’s father] and I would like to thank everyone for the support you have shown us as we focus on finding answers in the disappearance of Dylan,” Cooley said, according to Fox 13.
“The charges are based on solid evidence that has been released by Box Elder. We ask you to continue your thoughts and prayers for justice for Dylan and that we can bring him home.”
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[Featured image: Handout/Dylan Rounds]