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Edward Dylan Bryant (born May 1992) and Austin Eugene Bryant (born January 1996) are missing people from Monument, Colorado, United States.[1] Edward and Austin are biological siblings who were adopted by Edward Eugene Bryant and Linda Bryant in March 2000.[1] On January 22, 2011, El Paso County, Colorado authorities were notified of Austin's suspicious disappearance; he had last been seen sometime "between 2003 and 2005."[1][2] During the investigation, authorities discovered that Edward Dylan was also unaccounted for, having last been seen in 2001.[3] In February 2011, Edward Eugene and Linda Bryant, legally separated by that time,[3] were arrested at their respective homes in Texas and extradited to El Paso County to face charges of welfare fraud; they had received nearly US$175,000 in government payments to support the two boys even when the boys were not living with them.[1]

Background

Edward Dylan, Austin, and a third biological brother are among nine children adopted by Edward Eugene and Linda Bryant, who lived in Monument, Colorado at the time. Linda Bryant has a biological daughter who had foster children of her own.[1] The criminal complaint against the elder Bryants alleges that Austin was abused.[4][5] Authorities have stated that the elder Bryants were entitled to receive government payments to support the boys because they are considered "special needs children".[1]

Disappearance and investigation

On January 22, 2011, a former foster child of Linda Bryant's daughter notified El Paso County, Colorado authorities of Austin's suspicious disappearance. He noted inconsistencies in what he had been told about why Austin was no longer living with the Bryants.[1] In the course of their investigation, authorities could not account for Austin beyond the 2003–2005 timeframe, when he was 7–9 years old, and also discovered that Edward Dylan could not be accounted for after 2001, when he was 9.[6] A missing person report was never filed for either boy, and the Bryants allegedly continued to collect $1,700 per month in government payments for the boys, even after they moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area in 2005.[5] Authorities in Colorado and Texas do not believe the boys were with the family when they moved to Texas.[4][5]

Investigators found that Austin was enrolled in Monument-area schools in 2001, but was withdrawn in 2003, purportedly to be home schooled.[5] They also determined that there was "some activity" in Edward Dylan's Medicaid account in 2003, but have been unable to find a trace of him after that.[1] The elder Bryants, meanwhile, both told authorities that the boys ran away, but gave conflicting accounts on when they allegedly did so, with Linda claiming both ran away in 2003 and Edward Eugene claiming that Edward Dylan ran away in 2001 and Austin in 2003.[5]

The elder Bryants were arrested on February 25, 2011 on charges of welfare fraud. The criminal complaint charges that the Bryants continued to collect government payments from Colorado, even though they knew Edward Dylan and Austin were no longer living with them.[5] At the time of their arrests, the Bryants were separated, with Edward Eugene living in Denton, Texas, and Linda living in Lake Kiowa, Texas. Five adopted children, including the missing boys' biological brother, were found living with Linda Bryant.[1] As of March 11, 2011, the Bryants have not been charged in the boys' disappearance, and authorities have focused their efforts on finding the missing boys.[1] Additionally, authorities have not publicly declared if they are treating the investigation as a homicide.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Elliott, Dan (11 March 2011). Adoptive brother says missing boy was denied food, forced to run steps, suffered other abuse. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 14 March 2011.
  2. El Paso County Missing Children Case Is A Mystery. CBS4 (9 March 2011). Retrieved on 14 March 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Colo. authorities search for Texas couple's 2 boys. MSNBC (10 March 2011). Retrieved on 14 March 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fielder, Donna (12 March 2011). City employee in jail. Denton Record-Chronicle. Retrieved on 14 March 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Adoptive Parents Claim Two Missing Children Ran Away. KKTV (11 March 2011). Retrieved on 14 March 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Benzel, Lance (9 March 2011). Children of couple accused in welfare fraud missing for years. The Gazette. Retrieved on 14 March 2011.
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