Details of Disappearance Brandon was last seen in Indianapolis, Indiana sometime in July or August 1992. In July, his mother, Michelle Engron Jones, traveled to Detroit, Michigan with a friend to attend a theater conference. She told her friend that Brandon was with a babysitter. He has never been seen again.
Jones was only fifteen years old when Brandon was born. Her mother threw her out of the house when she became pregnant, and she spent the next several years in foster care. Brandon's paternal grandmother raised him until he was three, after thich time Jones began caring for him.
Brandon's father and grandmother made efforts to see him in 1992 and 1993, and left messages with Jones about it as often as several times a week. But Jones stopped returning their calls, left her job and moved, and when Brandon's father mailed child support checks to Jones, they were returned to him unopened.
In January 1994, Jones checked herself into the Midtown Community Mental Health Center and told counselors there that she had beaten Brandon and left him alone in his room for at least a week. When she finally returned, she found Brandon dead. She said she wrapped his body in a blanket and dumped it, uncovered, along north Interstate 65 in Clinton County, Indiana, near Lafayette.
The mental health workers contacted police. Authorities made repeated attempts to find Brandon's remains, but failed. In September 1995, Jones was charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent. Photos of her are posted with this case summary.
Jones had told Brandon's paternal grandmother that she "didn't want to raise a freak." Her apartment manager recalled seeing flies swarming in Brandon's bedroom during the summer of 1992. Jones had told the apartment manager that Brandon had wet the bed and the flies were attracted by the smell of urine.
Police searched through the records for any evidence of Brandon's existence after mid-1992, and could find nothing. He had been prescribed medication to treat his gonadotropin-independent precocious puberty, but there were no records of him getting his prescriptions refilled or getting additional medical treatment after 1992.
Authorities found bloodstains in the carpeting throughout the apartment where Jones and Brandon had lived. Witnesses also testified that Brandon had been repeatedly abused in the months leading up to his disappearance, and often had bruises.
Jones was charged with Brandon's murder in October 1996. At her trial, a forensic expert testified that a decaying body would attract flies to the extent described by the apartment manager, but that urine would not. A neighbor testified to seeing Jones repeatedly washing out the inside of her car during the summer Brandon disappeared.
Jones's defense tried to mitigate her crime by arguing that she had been abused as a child and was not prepared for motherhood, but she was convicted of murder and neglect of a dependent and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
While incarcerated in the Indiana Women's Prison, she got a degree from Ball State University, published papers on the subject of American history and presented her work by video to history conferences. She and other inmates won a prize in 2016 for the Indiana Historical Society's best research project. She also wrote dance compositions and plays.
In 2017, Jones was released from prison after serving twenty years of her sentence. She had been accepted into graduate programs at four universities, and is now working towards a doctorate in American Studies from New York University.
Brandon's body has never been found.
- Indianapolis Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 17, 2018; casefile added.