Details of Disappearance Swanson was last seen in Marshall, Minnesota on May 14, 2008. It was the last day of classes at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Canby, Minnesota, where he was enrolled in a wind turbine program, and he had gone out with a friend to celebrate.
Swanson was on his way home to Marshall when he accidentally drove his car into a ditch, where it got stuck. He wasn't injured in the accident. He called his parents on his cellular phone at 12:30 a.m. and asked for help. His parents were unable to find him, so Swanson said he was going to walk to the nearby town of Lynd, Minnesota, where he could see lights. He was on the phone with his father while he was walking.
Shortly after 2:00 a.m., Swanson suddenly swore and the call ended abruptly. His father tried to call him back several times, but never got an answer. Swanson has never been heard from again. His father spent several hours looking for him, then notified the police at 6:30 a.m.
The following day, authorities using cellular phone records located Swanson's car one and a half miles north of the Lyon/Lincoln County line, off Highway 68 west of Taunton, Minnesota. There was no sign of him at the scene.
An extensive search of the area turned up no sign of him. The car wasn't anywhere near the place Swanson said it was; he had been twenty miles away from there. Apparently had gotten confused about his location.
Although there were some accounts that he'd been drinking alcohol that evening, investigators don't believe he was intoxicated or otherwise impaired when he disappeared. Some authorities believe he blundered into the Yellow Medicine River while he was walking in the dark.
The river, which is up to 15 feet deep in places, was running high and fast at that time. Searches of the river didn't produce his body, however, and there's no evidence to support any theory.
Swanson is a 2007 graduate of Marshall High School. He had made arrangements to transfer to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs in August 2008. He planned to eventually enroll in a four-year university and have a career in the sciences.
He had worked at the Hy-Vee Food Store for four years before his disappearance. Swanson's mother describes him as an avid reader with many interests, and very devoted to his family.
Brandon's Law, named for Swanson, was passed later in 2008. The law requires Minnesota police to begin an immediate search for missing adults under 21, as well as older adults who are missing under suspicious circumstances. Swanson's case remains unsolved.
- Lincoln County Sheriff's Department
Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 11, 2019; age-progression updated.