In the spring of 2001, Branson Perry was a normal 20-year-old living with his recently divorced father in Skidmore, Missouri. The population of the town was 350. He had a black belt in martial arts (specifically the practice of hapkido) and did odd construction jobs. On the afternoon of April 11, Perry had a friend, Jena, over to keep him company while he cleaned his home in preparation for his father to return from a hospital stay. He told Jena he was going to bring a pair of jumper cables to the shed, he never returned and was never seen again.
The next day, April 12, Branson Perry’s grandmother visited the home and found it unlocked and empty. She called the house for days without getting an answer. Branson’s possessions were all found at the house. He did not have a working vehicle.
Branson’s father wasn’t released from the hospital until April 17, he and Branson’s mother then filed a missing persons report. At that point a 15 mile radius of the Perry’s home was searched. Strangely, police first claimed they couldn’t find the jumper cables Branson had been in the process of taking to his shed. Another search weeks later found the jumper cables in plain sight in the shed.
Perry’s case has been thoroughly researched by true crime writer Diane Fanning. Perry was related to Bobbie Jo Stinnett, another Skidmore resident who was killed while she was 8 months pregnant by a woman who cut the unborn baby out of her stomach. The baby survived and is living with its father. Skidmore considers itself a “small farming community” though the town is famous for a third murder, in which a local rapist was publicly executed while everyone looked the other way.
[*] Some people think Branson Perry ran away. Most do not.
[*] On April 11, the day Branson Perry disappeared, two mechanics were working on his father’s car in the driveway while Branson and Jena cleaned indoors.
[*] On April 7, four days before he disappeared, Branson Perry was “inadvertently drugged” and raped by the man who lived across the street, Jason Biermann. Perry had told his father that he felt Biermann took advantage of him. Perry was underage and Biermann, who was in his 30s, gave him an unnamed drug. Perry became intoxicated and danced nude for Biermann. While intoxicated, Perry shaved his pubic hair and “had sex” with Biermann. Bob Perry, Branson’s father, has said he knew his son was gay and was angry at his neighbor for preying on his son but had never spoken to Biermann about it.
[*] Two years after Branson Perry disappeared, a 59-year-old local preacher named Jack Wayne Rogers was arrested for assault for removing a trans woman’s genitals in a hotel room. He was a Presbyterian minister and Boy scout troop leader and had no medical experience or education. The woman said Rogers promised he could perform gender reassignment surgery in the hotel room, because of her desperation and emotional state at the time, the woman says she agreed to the surgery because “it seemed like there was no alternative.”
During the investigation for this crime, Rogers’ home was searched and police found child pornography and an extremely troubling internet history where Rogers had posted in forums first-hand accounts of raping, torturing, and killing men under the usernames “BuggerButt,” “ohailsatan,” and “extremebodymods”. He wrote about one boy who was hitchhiking in Skidmore, MO that Rogers had picked up and raped, tortured and killed before burying the boy’s body in the Ozarks. The boy matched Branson Perry’s description. Police also found a necklace believed to be Perry’s in Rogers’ car. He was sentenced to 54 years in prison for possessing child pornography and charges related to assauting the trans woman. He continues to deny that he was involved in Branson Perry’s case and has never been charged with that crime. Perry’s mother has said she is unsure whether Rogers is guilty of murdering her son.
No one has ever been charged with Branson Perry’s murder and his body has never been found. Both his parents have since died. It seems like no one will ever be brought to justice for what they did to Perry.