Details of Disappearance
Branton was last seen at his home in the 600 block of Westridge in Hutchinson, Kansas at 9:30 p.m. on August 6, 1984. His supervisor at the Far-Mar-Co elevator reported him missing after he didn't show up for work the next day.
When police went to Branton's residence, they discovered it was unlocked and the light was on. Nothing appeared missing, not even any of Branton's clothes, and there were no indications of a struggle. He has never been heard from again.
Branton lived with his eleven-year-old daughter, but at the time of his disappearance she was on vacation with her mother in Kansas City, Missouri. They last spoke on the day of his disappearance; she said they talked about school starting in a few days. He disappeared just two days after getting engaged to a Salina, Kansas woman.
In 1985, Leslie Norman Walker was convicted of aggravated kidnapping, robbery and first-degree murder in Branton's death. His co-conspirator, George Taubert, received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Walker
Taubert stated Branton liked "flashing a lot of money around", and he want Walker started planning to rob and kill him. They lured Branton west of Hutchinson on the pretext of buying a horse, and both men shot him to death with a shotgun and left his body in the brush by the roadside. They stole $270 in cash and several guns. Later, Walker told Taubert he'd moved the body and covered it with rocks, but refused to say exactly where it was.
Branton's body has never been found.