The Disappearance of Brookelyn Farthing

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EARLY LIFE:

Brookelyn Farthing was born on August 26, 1994. She lived in Berea, Kentucky with her mother, Shelby Walker; her stepfather, Randall Walker; and her two sisters, Tasha Thomas and Paige Farthing.

Growing up, Brookelyn was a Girl Scout and had been a member of the organization for the majority of her life. While a member, she made care kits for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, visited the elderly and spent a lot of her time helping others.

Brookelyn was a spunky and energetic teen, with a love of animals and the outdoors. She had an aptitude for athletics and was described as a “tell-it-like-it-is” type of person. She had an interest in baking and would spend a lot of her nights baking brownies for the family. When not in the kitchen, she could be found talking with her mother.

LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:

On June 21, 2013, Brookelyn and Paige took their driving tests. While Brookelyn passed, Paige failed, something that became a running joke amongst the family throughout the remainder of the day.

That night, the family attended their Papaw’s 70th birthday party. As he had been ill, the occasion was important to everyone in attendance.

After the birthday party, Brookelyn and Paige attended another on Red Lick Road, along with their cousin. According to Paige, her sister knew the majority of those in attendance. Between 7:00pm and 8:00pm, Paige and the cousin decided to leave, while Brookelyn, who had pre-packed her overnight bag, made plans to stay with a friend who was also at the party.

When it came time to leave, Brookelyn discovered her friend was planning on spending the night at a boy’s house. This made Brookelyn uncomfortable and the pair argued.

Witnesses claim Brookelyn caught a ride with two men, whose identities are currently being withheld. The trio drove to Floyd Branch Road to look at some horses, and later one of the men was dropped off at his home. The other took Brookelyn to his house, located in the 100 block of Dillon Court, just off US Highway 421. As it was in foreclosure, there was no water or electricity.

At 4:00am on June 22, Brookelyn called Paige and asked if their cousin could pick her up. However, as the cousin had been drinking, they were unable to. Not wanting to wake up her mother, Brookelyn then contacted her ex-boyfriend, who was at work at the time. She sent him several texts, which read, “Can you hurry”, “Please hurry” and “I’m scared”.

At 5:30am, Brookelyn’s ex-boyfriend received another text from her cellphone, this time reading, “Never mind, I’m okay. I’m going to a party in Rockcastle County.” When he asked who she was with, he received no response.

DISAPPEARANCE:

That day, Brookelyn had made plans to attend a car show in Somerset, Kentucky with some friends, but never showed up and couldn’t be reached by phone. Concerned, her friends contacted Paige.

Upon learning Brookelyn was missing, her family began to call and search for her. Paige told the family that her friends said she’d left the party with two men, who no one in the family knew by name. They believed, however, one of them was a friend or relative of her ex-boyfriend.

Paige managed to find one of the men’s phone numbers and Tasha gave him a call. She hold him they were worried about Brookelyn, and he confirmed that she’d gotten a ride with him, but that he’d left while she was at his house, as he was uncomfortable staying given her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. Before he left, he said he’d heard her talking about a party in Rockcastle County while smoking a cigarette on the front porch.

Twenty minutes after the call ended, the man telephoned Tasha back, saying he was scared. All of Brookelyn’s belongings, including her cowboy boots, purse and some clothing, were at his house and he believed the cigarette she’d been smoking had been the cause of a fire on his porch that morning. When he’d returned home around 7:00am, the couch on the front porch was ablaze and he called the fire department.

Once 24 hours had passed, Brookelyn’s mother filed a police report.

SEARCH:

Brookelyn’s family and friends went to Dillon Court to search and saw the aforementioned items she’d left behind. They noted that only the clothing she’d been wearing and her cellphone were missing. According to police, records show her cellphone received more than 1,000 calls within 24 hours, from people trying to reach her.

According to firefighters, the couch fire has been deemed “suspicious”.

On the Sunday after Brookelyn’s disappearance, Kentucky State Police began conducting interviews. The owner of the house where Brookelyn was last seen was amongst those interviewed, but nothing about the meeting has been publicly released.

In the early days of the investigation, police requested that property owners in Estill, Rockcastle, Jackson and Madison counties check their land for any signs of the missing girl. They were told to pay close attention to freshly turned earth and unusual smells, ditch lines and remote areas.

Authorities searched more than 16,000 acres in three Kentucky counties. Large-scale searches were conducted in the Red Lick area and nearby Owsley Fork Lake by police, cadets, people on horseback and by search dogs. Cadaver dogs were also brought in and divers searched nearby bodies of water.

Three weeks after Brookelyn’s disappearance, nearly 200 volunteers, including some on horseback, searched an area within 1.5 miles of her last known location.

A month into the investigation, a fundraiser was held to help fund a cash reward. As well, businesses began selling decals for $5, with all proceeds going to the reward fund.

In July 2013, all foot searches for Brookelyn were called off.

In 2013, a local woman named Amanda Griffey admitted to scamming those wishing to donate money to the search. She said she’d been telling people she was with a local church and was collecting money for the family, when she was actually keeping the money for herself. She had scammed a total of $40 and had given out one receipt for a $20 donation, on which she signed a fake name. She was charged with Theft of Identity of Another and Theft By Deception.

In January 2014, another local, Randy Gross, was arrested for soliciting money from co-workers, who were led to believe their donations were going to the reward fund. Gross collected a total of $263, and was charged with Theft By Failure to Make Required Disposition. He maintains he was planning on donating the money.

One year after Brookelyn’s disappearance, her parents hosted a benefit at the Madison County Fairgrounds to help raise money for the reward fund. Their goal was to double the amount available from $5,000 to $10,000. It featured a car show, a silent auction, and live music from The Stillwater Band and Doug Thomas and the Downtown Deuce Band. Kits were also made available for parents wishing to register their kids, in case of abduction.

The family set up a website with information about the case and links to where tips could be sent in. They also set up the Missing: Brookelyn Farthing Facebook page.

In April 2015, a man hunting for mushrooms discovered skeletal remains. While at first it was speculated that they belonged to Brookelyn, this was later proven to not be the case.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has been seeking information from the case file. They have confirmed their continued interest in the case and are in constant contact with investigators. Officers have followed countless tips and examined the case file for things that might have been missed or overlooked during the initial investigation, and they say all tips continue to be followed up on.

The case remains open and active, and it’s believed someone in the community has information as to what happened to Brookelyn. There is currently a $14,000 reward being offered for information leading to her return or the capture and conviction of those responsible for her disappearance.

THEORIES:

1) The current theory held by both Brookelyn’s family and investigators is that she was abducted. Investigators believe the last text she sent to her ex-boyfriend – the one that read, “Never mind, I’m okay. I’m going to a party in Rockcastle County” – was written and sent by someone else. As well, her family believes she wouldn’t have left the house on Dillon Court without her belongings. According to them, she had no reason to runaway or walk out on her life.

AFTERMATH:

Tasha feels she needs to be the voice for her sister and, as such, has conducted numerous interviews about her disappearance. She has taken numerous steps to keep her sister’s name in the public eye, in the hopes someone will see the coverage and come forward with information.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Brookelyn Farthing went missing from Berea, Kentucky, from the 100 block of Dillon Court, on June 22, 2013. She was 18 years old and was last seen wearing a grey t-shirt with the Madison County FFA logo and a pair of light blue denim jeans. At the time of her disappearance, she was 5’1″ and 105 pounds. She has shoulder-length blonde hair and brown eyes. Her ears are pierced, and she has a birthmark on her left thigh.

Currently, her case is classified as endangered missing. If alive, she would be 24 years old.

If you have any information regarding the case, you can contact the Kentucky State Police at 859-623-2404.

Image Credit: ABC News

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