“Justice for Tom Brown” were the chants on the north side of the Gray County Courthouse as a handful of protesters led a demonstration on Tuesday morning.
“Today makes the fifth anniversary of my son’s disappearance and we were told by our 31st District Attorney (Franklin McDonough) that we would be going to grand jury,” Thomas Brown’s mother, Penny Meek, said. “We’d been told for almost a year we were. In July 2021, all of the sudden we’re just not going. I’ve received no reason, so it’s almost like he never intended to go.”
This protest is staged in hopes of moving forward efforts to secure Justice for Thomas Brown, and to mark the fifth anniversary of his Thanksgiving eve disappearance from the Canadian area, Nov. 23, 2016. Protesters demanded District Attorney Franklin McDonough to immediately call for an Investigative Grand Jury to question all family and witnesses under oath, and present all evidence in the Thomas Brown death to a group of regular citizens - to determine who else was involved and present at his death, and post-death in disposing of his body. An Investigative Grand Jury acts as an investigative body, independently, of either prosecuting attorney or judge. Criminal prosecutors present the case to the grand jury.
In a press release from Thomas Brown’s Family and Friends, they say this must happen to preserve witness testimony and evidence, and to address the many questions surrounding his death. A Grand Jury of Texas citizens must be empaneled to hear the evidence and witnesses, without bias.
Thomas Brown, Canadian High School Senior, disappeared around midnight the night before Thanksgiving 2016. His remains were found two-and-a-half years later, miles away and across the Canadian River, from where his car was then parked and abandoned before 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. That person urinated beside the car before leaving the scene. Thomas Brown’s mother, Penny and her family, wants to know the chain of custody of Thomas’ remains, where they are now, and be given a path to petition for his return.
The press release states “the DA has refused to investigate further, or call a Grand Jury, despite a botched local Sheriff investigation that included but was not limited to: contamination of the vehicle (the crime scene); the admitted destruction of photographic evidence, by then Sheriff Lewis, showing the last minutes of Thomas’ life; falsified records were provided to the Texas Attorney General’s office by the Sheriff regarding Tom’s disappearance; and the Deputy who found Thomas’ remains, had a documented record of planting evidence. He was alone on private property, hunting shed deer antlers during the workday. The proper chain of custody for discovering a body was not followed, as the Sheriff’s office did not contact the local Justice of the Peace as required by law.”
The press release continues, “A few months after finding the remains that were confirmed to be Thomas, the State AG released a statement “that there is no viable evidence that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that foul play led to the death of ‘Thomas Kelly Brown’. However, in a large document dump in October 2021 the AG released never disclosed information from Tom’s autopsy... specifically that his face was smashed in. The Attorney General’s office could not help but chastise the private investigator hired by the family, for not finding ALL the blood evidence with Luminol tests he conducted in 2017. The AG’s office never explained why they did not conduct this test. Until the disclosure in the October documents, the Attorney General’s office had chosen the path that there was no relevant blood evidence in the car, same as the Sheriff, same as the DA. No reasonable person could see foul play? Look at the Luminol photos.”
The press release continues, “In actuality, none of the theories put forth by the Sheriff, nor the D.A., nor the Attorney General make sense to any reasonable person. Both the Sheriff and DA began immediately after his disappearance inexplicably claiming publicly ‘that Thomas had run off with an older gay man,’ alternating that with their suicide theory. But, this doesn’t explain the blood evidence and movements of Tom’s Dodge Durango that indicates malicious involvement by others. It seems unfortunately clear now that the AG’s office theorizes that Tom’s mother and family moved his body in the middle of the night, post-suicide to an unknown area miles away, busy with wild animals who would destroy his body. These same family members are eager to be questioned by a local Grand Jury tasked with finding answers that Law Enforcement cannot or will not do in this troubling case. They also want their son’s body to be returned home to receive a proper burial, to finally be put to rest in a way befitting the great kid that Thomas Brown was, and the man he was set to become.”
“I still want answers as to what happened to my son,” Meek said Tuesday. “I think I deserve that. I think I deserve to know where my son’s remains are. If the attorney general doesn’t care to investigate anymore, then return the remains to me. We can’t even give him a proper burial. To me it’s just a complete lack of justice from the local former sheriff in Hemphill County to the Texas Attorney General.”
The Pampa News left a voice-mail with the District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday morning that has not been returned.
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