50 people in 50 days: Teen drove into ditch, vanished as parents searched
Minnesota college freshman Brandon Swanson, shown with his sister, Jamine, disappeared in May 2008.
March 8th, 2011
03:35 PM ET

50 people in 50 days: Teen drove into ditch, vanished as parents searched

"Editor's note: Nancy Grace's new show on HLN, "Nancy Grace: America's Missing," is dedicated to finding 50 people in 50 days. As part of the effort, which relies heavily on audience participation, CNN.com's news blog This Just In will feature the stories of the missing.

This is the 37th case, and it will be shown Tuesday night on HLN.

Brandon Swanson called his parents shortly after midnight on May 14, 2008, to ask them for a ride after driving his car into a ditch. His parents set out in their pickup truck to find him in the nearby town of Lynd, Minnesota. Brandon became frustrated as their efforts to find him turned fruitless. They exchanged several calls just before 2 a.m. and eventually carried on a long conversation while the younger Swanson was walking, trying to direct his father to where he was.

He told his father to look for him at a nightclub parking lot that was a popular meeting spot in Lynd. But at the 47-minute mark, the call ended abruptly. The teen shouted an expletive, and the phone went dead.

It was the last time anyone heard from him.

At 6:30 a.m., Annette Swanson called the Lynd Police Department to report Brandon missing, and officers eventually joined the search. They, too, came up with nothing, and a countywide request was dispatched to expand the search.

Phone records later showed that the teen was nowhere near Lynd, where he told his parents he was. His cell phone calls were traced to a tower 20 miles away in Minnesota.

Anyone with information that could lead to the whereabouts of Brandon Swanson is asked to call the Lincoln County Sheriff at (507) 694-1664.

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. red haired female

    Everyone who gets stuck on the road, please stay in your car, turn on your emergency lights and call for help. Even if you don't have a cell, you stand a better chance of survival in your car with the doors locked. Do not exit the car and try to walk in the dark. Do not except help from strangers, unless they are a police officer with a badge number that you can call in to the police station to verify. After you verify, tell the station that you are accepting help from the police officer you called about. Cover your own back. I have made the mistake of accepting help from strangers and was very lucky that they were all good people. Think before you act. Is it really worth your life to risk a faster trip home or to work or wherever you're going?

    March 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. really

    I don't think we are getting the whole story here. Why would the kid say he was in Lynd? Or was the kid drunk, drove 20 miles out of MN only to go into a ditch?

    March 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lori samms

    Yea sounds off. How could the kid be mistaken by 20 miles of where he was at. Seems something up

    March 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. A REAL Minnesotan

    Agreed to ALL questions posted here.

    First, anyone who lives in rural Minnesota knows that this kid should have known the roads like the back of his hand. Even if the kid was driving blind folded, he should have known approximately where he was simply based on TIME spent on the road. He had to of made that drive 100 times or more.

    Second, what where the parents thinking by suggesting this kid do ANYTHING except stay by his car, near the road. I heard that the kid was getting frustrated becausee he had to climb fences. "Daddy, I hear water, should I keep walking?"

    Nancy, your show is HORRIBLE. You omit important details of this story, like where the kid was coming from, and how far he really was off track. You focus on the NOW, which is nothing by pain and suffering, and you completely leave out the "what, where, and why".

    Where was this kid coming from? Where should he have been? Why did the parents let him leave his car? Why were't the police called immediately? What was the kid like in school? What were the parents like? What did they do for work? Who did he hang out with?


    Anyone ever seen the movie Into the Wild? Conveniently released in theaters in 2007, by the way. Hmmmmm, similarities?

    March 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. A REAL Minnesotan

    Nancy, STOP having America chase after people unless you are prepared to offer us some REAL facts. Who, what, where, and why. That's journalis. I'm supposed to feel bad for these parents because they were idiots? No, sorry, I do not.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. A REAL Minnesotan

    Thank you for wasting our time this evening Nancy. Once again, repeated fluff, and an hour of the same headline repeated over and over again. You failed to ask the right questions, and proved once again that journalists can have jobs without asking who, what, where, and why.

    When you are ready to do these families, and the rest of America JUSTICE, let us know. Thank you.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ed bailey

    Never have I seen her show, and ill put money on the bet I never will.geraldo Rivera in drag.At least he did improve.

    March 9, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kay

    If you don't like her show...DON"T WATCH IT!!! (I never have, so I know it's possible 🙂

    Real...don't assume that, because *you* believe you would know where you are blindfolded because of your amazing time sense while blindfolded, that everyone else is as amazingly talented as you are.

    And stop with the armchair detective stuff, too...OK?

    I mean, "Why did the parents let him leave his car?" Uh...because they weren't there with him and he was a 19 year old freshman in college and there was no 'LET HIM' involved?

    And, of course, knowing what the parents do for work MUST be an essential piece of information because...uh, because *you* think it is??

    I guess I want to know why YOU didn't call the police to advise them to ask how the kid was doing in school, who his friends were, and all those questions you think are soooo important for YOU to know the answers to 3 years after the young man disappeared.

    The parents weren't the idiots. You might want to try looking in the mirror.

    March 10, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. McBraden

    The kid said he was close to some kind of bar or "nightclub" and walking on a dark road at night while carrying on a long and frustrating phone call with his father then suddenly shouts an expletive ending the call suddenly.....

    It sounds like he could have been hit by a car or truck while walking on the side of a road at night. The driver was probably drunk having just left the "nightclub". The person stops, sees that the kid is deceased, and panics. Being they were in rural Minnesota the person would've had plenty of time to move the body into the vehicle without anyone driving upon the scene. The person could then bury or dispose of the remains never to be found.

    March 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |