COLD CASE: Mother wants answers after son fell into Grand River


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Shirley Mitchner remembers the last time she spoke to her youngest son, Brandon.

She says he went out with friends one summer night to celebrate a friend’s 21st birthday. She was nervous for her son and told him to be careful.

“Mom, I got this, you trained me right,” Brandon told her. “And he gave me a big hug and a kiss. And that was the last time I saw him. June 28th, 2014.”

The group got onto a party bus and drove around Lansing, stopping at bars in the area. Later that night Brandon walked with a friend down a side street off Washington Avenue in REO Town, right next to the Grand River. That’s when Brandon’s friend, the only witness, says the two men wrestled for a bit before Brandon fell into the river.

“He looked over, he saw Brandon in the river,” Shirley said. “And he said, and I quote, “Both of us are not gonna be dead.” And he walked away.”

Instead of jumping in, the witness went back to a house party nearby. The next morning, people started searching.

“He checked the hospitals, he just called to see was Brandon in jail, at the police, and that was it,” Mitchner says. “He put it on Facebook. My daughter got wind of it.”

Text messages and social media posts show Brandon’s friends knew he was missing and were worried. Police eventually found Brandon’s body in the river not far from where he fell.

Shirley doesn’t go a day without talking to her son and wondering.

“I scream and yell at him. Why did you drink? Why were you with those people? Why weren’t you with your real friends? I scream and yell and…I scream and yell and holler at God! Why my child? Why?”

The Lansing Police Department took charge of the investigation and ruled Brandon’s death an accident.

“Is that true? Lansing Police Department, what is the truth? What is the truth? That’s what I want to know,” his mother says.

Since Brandon’s death, she’s gone to three different law enforcement agencies including the Lansing police asking them to give her son’s case a second look. Right now it’s in the hands of the Michigan State Police.

“If it truly was an accident, tell us,” Mitchner says. “Let us know so we can at least move forward to something else, we can at least move forward.”

No matter what happens, she won’t have the life she imagined.

“I’ll never ever be the mother to walk down the aisle with him. I’ll never have my first dance. I’ll never be a grandmother to his children.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Michigan Headlines

More Michigan

StormTracker 6 Radar