Dylan Rounds is an Idaho teenage farmer who traveled alone to Utah last year. He was expecting his first harvest. However, Rounds has been missing for one week since his ex-con neighbor was arrested and charged with murder.
According to court records, James Brenner (59), shot a Maryland man over a dispute at work in the 1980s. Since July, when police discovered him illegally in possession of multiple firearms following Rounds’ disappearance, he has been in custody. Brenner was 19 when he disappeared and would have been 20 today.
Box Elder County authorities announced the murder charge last week after they said they had recovered Rounds’ phone – and an incriminating video on it allegedly showing Brenner wearing bloody clothes and cleaning a gun.
Deputies found the clothes – and Rounds’ DNA on them, according to authorities.
Court papers state that Brenner was found living on Rounds’ property. Authorities also found the boots and truck belonging to the missing man.
Deputies first identified him as a suspect over the summer after his arrest on firearms charges. Now he faces a charge of aggravated murder, as well as abuse or desecration of a body, and is accused of concealing Rounds’ remains.
Candice Cooley, Rounds’ mother, stated at the time that Brenner was an “acquaintance” of her son, disputing the description in court filings, which referred to him as a “family friend.”
She stated, “I’m trying my best to keep it together as much as possible. ”
Court records show that Brenner has a criminal history, including malicious wounding or shooting, and three prior convictions for felons in possession.
According to court documents, the defendant has no employment history and is not currently employed. ”
Investigators executed several warrants in search of Rounds. Two of these led the federal government to bring criminal charges against two men involved in Rounds’ interactions prior to his disappearance: Chase Venstra, and Brenner.
Last week, police announced that Brenner would be charged with murder. They also exempted Venstra and other suspects in Rounds’ disappearance.
All evidence points towards James Brenner being the sole suspect.
Chief deputy Cade Palmer/Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office
According to court documents, DH, a neighbor said that Brenner asked him for help sometime after Rounds disappeared. Brenner asked him to conceal three black powder guns and a. 22-caliber rifle. He also cited past convictions.
Palmer stated that Dylan Rounds was not located during the search effort and that the investigation was focused on the possibility that Dylan had been the victim of a crime.
Cooley says Rounds is a native Idahoan who set out to build his Utah farm on his own as a teenager. He didn’t even use drugs.
Her family lost touch with her and she suspected foul play immediately.
Palmer had warned anyone who was involved in Rounds’ disappearance.
“If somebody’s laying low that was involved in this or knows something, and they think they lay low long enough we’re just going to go away, that’s not going to happen,” he stated. “We’re going to keep at this until we get answers.”
The search for Rounds’ remains is ongoing in a rural area dotted with abandoned mines and cave systems.
“We are hopeful that they will be found,” Palmer said.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office at 435-734-3800.