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NANCY GRACE

Teen Student Vanishes After Accident

Aired March 8, 2011 - 21:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NANCY GRACE, HOST: Vanished into thin air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just need to kind her.

GRACE: So many cases --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re still looking.

GRACE: -- so few leads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

GRACE: Missing person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s our duty to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The witness had seen the suspect on NANCY GRACE.

GRACE: There is a God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NANCY GRACE show was out there for us.

GRACE: Found alive.

Fifty people, 50 days, 50 nights.

Let`s don`t give up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): May 14, 2008, and school is out for Brandon Swanson. The 19-year-old is about to embark on a new college career. It will be a four-year-long dream, exploring his passion for science, seeking answers in nature. But it`s his family left asking the questions now.

A few hours into his summer break, Brandon vanishes without a trace. Brandon called home shortly after midnight. He told his parents his car was in a ditch and he needed a ride home.

They didn`t live far, and kept Brandon on the phone as they drove to find him. But 47 minutes into the call, it drops. Brandon is never heard from again.

Police find his car, but his phone and personal items are gone. Search teams and sniffer dogs comb farmland and dirt roads but find nothing.

Today, Brandon would be a college sophomore. The Swansons haven`t wavered in their quest for answers. Since that night in 2008, they`ve kept hope alive and their porch light on just in case Brandon finds his way home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION": Every day, 2,300 people go missing in America. They disappear. They vanish. Their families are left waiting and wondering, oh, and hoping, but never forgetting.

And neither have we. Fifty people, 50 days. For 50 nights we go live spotlighting America`s missing children, girls and boys, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Even grandparents. They are gone, but where?

Tonight, to Minnesota.

Nineteen-year-old Brandon Swanson calls his parents about 1:30 in the morning to tell them he just ran into a ditch with his Chevy Lumina, but he`s OK. They talk about an hour as Brandon starts walking to safety, describing a fence and water.

But as Brandon talks to his family, the call, it abruptly ends. Brandon, never seen or heard from again. His Chevy, later found in the ditch, but no sign of the college student, no blood in the vehicle.

Police though search by air, by land, by water without any success at all. What happened to 19-year-old Brandon Swanson?

You know, it was such an innocent evening. Brandon Swanson, a college student, he still lived at home with his parents, and he went out to see his friends that night. Summer break had just begun.

And he left his friends about 1:30 in the morning. Not unusual. And he was driving home, and all of a sudden something happened.

So he calls his parents and he says, dad, hey, listen, the car just went in a ditch, but I`m OK. And that ensued a series of phone calls between Brandon and his parents.

I want to go out to Mary Divine. She is a reporter for "The St. Paul Pioneer Press," a reporter joining us from St. Paul, Minnesota, tonight.

Mary, take it from there. There was a phone call that literally lasted 47 minutes, I think, between Brandon and his parents?

MARY DIVINE, "ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS": That`s correct. He had called to tell them that he had run into this ditch about -- it was at 1:54 he called home, and they talked and then hung up, and then they talked again.

The last phone call lasted for 47 minutes, as the father was driving toward where Brandon thought he was. And then at 3:10 a.m., Brandon yelled out an expletive and the line went dead, and that was the last his parents heard from him.

CASAREZ: Mary Divine, reporter for "The St. Paul Pioneer Press," what else in that last phone call for 47 minutes -- what else have we learned that Brandon said to his parents that could be important, relevant?

DIVINE: Well, I think he had been visiting friends. He had wrapped up at school, and he left home that evening about 6:00 p.m.

His mom told him, "Be safe," as she always did. He went to visit a friend in Lynd. And then he left there about midnight and went to Canby to visit some other friends, and he left Canby about 1:30 in the morning.

CASAREZ: To Alexis Weed, NANCY GRACE producer, joining us from New York.

I distinctly remember in reading this case file that as Brandon was on the phone with his father, that he talked about several things, but one being fence lines.

So what does that tell us, Alexis?

ALEXIS WEED, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Right, Jean. As we understand it, Brandon, while he was having this call with his father, this last call, he mentions during the call -- he says, "You know, I`m seeing some water areas," and he says something about getting frustrated that he`s running into another fence. Yet another fence. And he continues to get more and more frustrated while his parents are on the phone trying to find his location.

CASAREZ: Right. And we hear that he sees the moon and he says, "Oh, it`s a full moon tonight." So we know he`s outside. He talks about the fence lines. That sounds pretty rural.

He said that he heard water, which is interesting. He heard water. And then, all of a sudden, he says an expletive that appears as though something is direly wrong, and that`s it. We don`t hear from him.

I want to go back to Mary Divine, reporter for "The St. Paul Pioneer Press," joining us from Minnesota tonight.

Lynd, Canby, Marshall, these are the areas where he lived, where he was visiting friends. What is this area like, Mary?

DIVINE: You know, it`s farmland. And at 3:10 in the morning it would be very, very dark and very difficult to see.

He was on a gravel road. He told his parents he was getting impatient and was walking on a gravel road, and that he was going to take a shortcut through a farm field. He said that he could hear water running.

So, you know, they think now -- he disappeared somewhere near the Yellow Medicine River, and that`s where the search originally concentrated. But now they`re actually thinking that it may be more an area called Mud Creek, which is a few miles northwest of Porter. But again, farm fields, very rural, and it would be very, very difficult to see.

CASAREZ: We have got a very special guest tonight, a lady that had been through this from the beginning. Annette Swanson is joining us. She is the mother of Brandon Swanson, joining us from Minnesota.

Thank you so much for joining us from Marshall, Minnesota, actually.

First of all, I want to ask you, Ms. Swanson, you were on the phone with your son a large part of those early hours when you were trying to find him and he was trying to find you. He wasn`t hurt at all, right? I mean, the car went into a ditch, but he seemed to be OK.

ANNETTE SWANSON, MOTHER OF BRANDON SWANSON: Correct. He said he was fine, that he was not injured. And, you know, in fact, when we did find his vehicle, there was no damage to it. It was simply muddy from being on a gravel road, but no damage to the vehicle.

CASAREZ: What was it like that night to be going through this and so close to your son, but so far from your son?

SWANSON: Yes. You know, as Brandon tried to explain to us where his location was -- and he was extremely sure of himself. He felt confident in where he was at, and that we were the ones that were confused about, you know, how to get to him.

And as the conversation went on, as the minutes ticked by, you know, it came to a point where as long as Brandon was on the phone, as long as he was talking, as long as we had contact, it was OK, we would be OK. But the minute that he -- that that call dropped, I just became sick.

I knew it was wrong. I knew it was very, very bad, and just could hardly fathom, you know, what was happening at that point.

CASAREZ: Oh, I can imagine. I mean, to take a breath.

Now, when the call just hung up like that, with Brandon in dire distress -- I mean, those were the words that he seemed to utter when he said, oh! Did you try to call him after that? And what happened?

SWANSON: Oh, yes, we did. We didn`t immediately hang up the phone.

We called his name. We tried to -- thinking that he still had the phone, that it was very near him, that he could pick it up, he`d hear our voice. And we called out to him several times and we realized he`s not there.

So we did, we called him back several times thinking, you know, he`ll see the phone light up. Even if he didn`t have it on ring, he would see his phone light up when the call came in and he`d find it. You know, he`d answer the call.

And it just didn`t happen time and again. It just went unanswered.

CASAREZ: What time did you finally call police?

SWANSON: I finally called the sheriff`s department at approximately 6:30 in the morning.

CASAREZ: So right when the sun was coming up.

You know, everybody, we have got with us tonight Sheriff Jack Vizecky from the Lincoln County Sheriff`s Office, joining us from Ivanhoe, Minnesota.

Sheriff, thank you very much for joining us.

We know this is an active case. We want to talk to you about what you are doing now, because you do have some leads that could be extremely important in this case.

But back to when this all happened, how did you discover that all the directions that he was giving his family about where he thought he was was actually incorrect? He was in another location.

SHERIFF JACK VIZECKY, LINCOLN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: First off, I can`t begin to say or to disclose in a 10-minute interview everything that`s been done in this case by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and all of the organizations, fire departments and volunteers that have worked on this.

To begin with, my office was not the one that initially took the call. The call initially went in to the Lyon County Sheriff`s Department on May 14th. So we did not get involved.

My office sent a deputy to assist the Lyon County Sheriff`s Office in their search on the 14th. I did not become involved in the case until the next day, when my deputy and I went up there to assist Lyon County in their search for Brandon at about 8:00 in the morning. That`s when I first became involved in this.

CASAREZ: To Alexis Weed, as we go to commercial.

The car was found in a different area from where Brandon Swanson said he was, right?

WEED: That`s right. It was found nowhere near where he thought it was. It was about 15 miles away -- Jean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authorities are able to locate Brandon`s car and trace his cell phone, but have found no evidence of Brandon. Investigators continue to follow up on tips across the country, refusing to give up hope in the search for Brandon Swanson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Investigators can`t say why there`s no evidence to explain what happened to Brandon Swanson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the early morning hours of May 14, 2008, 19-year-old Brandon Swanson called his parents to tell them his car had run into a ditch and he needed them to come pick him up. Appearing to be OK, Brandon stayed on the phone with his father while he drove to find him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 47-minute phone call with Brandon ended abruptly as he struggled to explain to his parents his exact location. Police later locate Brandon`s car, but there was no sign of the teen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators continue to follow up on tips across the country, refusing to give up hope in the search for Brandon Swanson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez.

Brandon Swanson, 19 years old, just starting out his life. If I told you how many searches have been done in that radius of area by land, by air, by water, nothing has been found. Not his glasses, not his clothes, not his shoes, nothing.

So the question is, was it foul play, or did something dire happen as he was alone walking try to find his parents?

With us tonight is a sheriff that has been on the case for a long time, Sheriff Vizecky, from the Lincoln County Sheriffs Department in Minnesota, joining us.

You are going to undertake a brand new search, am I correct, as soon as weather permits?

VIZECKY: We are going to be checking some areas of interest in the Lincoln County area, in section 2 of Alta Vista Township, when the weather permits this spring.

CASAREZ: Now, have you taken canines out there, cadaver dogs, there or close to there?

VIZECKY: Canines, cadaver dogs have been involved with this search since the 15th of May in 2008. There have been several handlers and canines involved.

CASAREZ: Sheriff, when -- one of the last words that this young -- beautiful young man said was that he heard water as he`s walking. What was he referring to?

VIZECKY: At that particular time, you have to understand the Yellow Medicine River during the springtime. This coming spring, right now we`ve had several inches of snow this winter. When that snow melts, a majority of the Lincoln county area, farmland, drains into the Yellow Medicine River.

So, in the spring of the year, after the snow melts, there is a huge amount of water that is channeled into the area where Brandon went missing. The river becomes a torrent of water that`s anywhere from seven to eight feet deep.

If you get on down the river bottom, there`s areas where it could be as high as 15 feet deep because of all the area that drains in. But a month from then, if the weather stays dry and there`s no rain, the river could go dry, much as it did in 2008, in August.

In July and August of 2008, the river bottom went dry and there was sand in Lincoln County to walk in. Now, one must understand that that is only in Lincoln County that that happened because the other areas are drained into from other areas of the county.

CASAREZ: You know, Sheriff, this just makes it so apparent, that with the varying conditions, you have to take that into consideration and look at what the conditions were when he went missing in 2008.

To Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation.

Another issue in all of this was that this is a rural area, an agricultural area. The crops had not finished growing, so there was limited ability to do searches during that time because of the agricultural issues.

MARC KLAAS, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: And, Jean, search and rescue is extraordinarily difficult work. And my hat`s off to those professional and volunteers who were willing to undertake this hazardous task.

I would suspect that he probably was within one mile, maybe two miles, of his vehicle when whatever happened finally happened. And if he heard rushing water and, in fact, got caught up in a current of this river, he could be almost anywhere downstream.

And as the sheriff mentioned, if this thing is running very fast, and you have got depths of eight to 15 feet, he could have been caught up in brambles, he could have been caught up in caves. He could have been caught up anywhere, and they just have to continue to search and search and research those same areas again and again until, hopefully, he`s located.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brandon called home shortly after midnight. He told his parents his car was in a ditch and he needed a ride home. They didn`t live far and kept Brandon on the phone as they drove to find him. But 47 minutes into the call, it drops. Brandon is never heard from again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brandon Swanson talked with his parents on his cell phone in the early morning hours of May 14, 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brandon told his father his car had run into a ditch and he needed a pick-up. Concerned for their son, Brian and Annette Swanson set out to find him, staying on the phone with Brandon while they drove through the dark night

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a 47-minute phone call with his father, the call ended abruptly. Brandon`s car, later discovered 25 miles from the spot where he claimed he had been stranded.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASAREZ: We need to find Brandon Swanson. You know why? Because it`s justice, because it`s fair, because it`s right. And his parents want to know what happened.

We`re taking your calls tonight.

Laurie, in Colorado.

Hi, Lori.

LAURIE, COLORADO: Hi. Thank you for taking my call.

CASAREZ: You`re welcome.

LAURIE: I have a couple of questions. Was there any sign that there was a second vehicle involved in the crash or accident? And was his car a mystery (ph)? Was it found in a ditch, or do you think it could have been moved?

CASAREZ: All right.

To Mary Divine, reporter from "The St. Paul Pioneer Press," joining us tonight from St. Paul, Minnesota.

Was there ever any evidence, as you have been working this case, of a second vehicle involved in the area?

DIVINE: No, not at all. At least not that I have ever heard from officials.

They found his car about 2:30 p.m. the next day near a town called Taunton, which is about 30 miles from Lynd. And indeed, it was the only car involved in an accident.

CASAREZ: And Mary, isn`t it correct that once they found the car close in time, they associated it and found the telephone pinging hadn`t been from the area where it was thought he was but in this other area?

DIVINE: Correct. That`s what -- actually how they were able to find the car, was it wasn`t anywhere near Lynd. They had a ping from a cell phone tower in Minneota, and that`s how officials were able to find his car near Taunton, which is closer to Minneota.

CASAREZ: All right.

To Ryan in Colorado.

Hi, Ryan.

RYAN, COLORADO: Hi. Thank you for taking my call.

CASAREZ: You`re welcome.

RYAN: I have a couple questions for you. I was wondering where he was coming from before he got in the accident, and if his cell phone or anything else were ever found?

CASAREZ: Oh, boy, Ryan, we have got a lot to tell you about that.

First of all, Alexis Weed, where was he coming from? It was a very innocent night.

WEED: Right, Jean. He had visited friends that evening, he was celebrating, he was out of school for the summer. He was in Canby, which is located about 30 miles from his home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators can`t say why there`s no evidence to explain what happened to Brandon Swanson. Search dogs, volunteers and investigators combed wooded and river areas, turning up hits on Brandon`s scent, but no physical evidence of the 19-year-old.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NANCY GRACE, HOST: Vanished into thin air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just need to find her.

GRACE: So many cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still looking.

GRACE: So few leads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Missing.

GRACE: Missing person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s our duty to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The witness seen the suspect on Nancy Grace.

GRACE: There is a God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy Grace show was out there for us.

GRACE: Found. Alive. 50 people, 50 days, 50 nights. Let`s don`t give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May 14th, 2008, and school is out for Brandon Swanson. The 19-year-old is about to embark on a new college career. It will be a four-year-long dream, exploring his passion for science, seeking answers in nature, but it`s his family left asking the questions now. A few hours into his summer break, Brandon vanishes without a trace.

Brandon called home shortly after midnight. He told his parents his car was in a ditch, and he needed a ride home. They didn`t live far and kept Brandon on the phone as they drove to find him, but 47 minutes into the call, it drops. Brandon is never heard from again. Police find his car, but his phone and personal items are gone. Search teams and sniffer dogs combed farmland and dirt roads but find nothing.

TODAY, Brandon would be a college sophomore. The Swansons haven`t wavered in their quest for answers. Since that night in 2008, they`ve kept hope alive and their porch light on just in case Brandon finds his way home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JEAN CASAREZ, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Every day, 2,300 people go missing in America. They disappear. They vanish. Their families are left waiting and wondering and hoping, but never forgetting, and neither have we. Fifty people, 50 days, for 50 nights we go live, spotlighting America`s missing children, girls and boys, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and even grandparents. They are gone, but where?

Tonight, to Minnesota, 19-year-old Brandon Swanson. He calls his parents about 1:30 in the morning to tell them that he just ran into a ditch with his Chevy Lumina, but he`s OK. They talked about an hour as Brandon starts walking to safety, describing a fence and water, but as Brandon talks to his family, the call, it abruptly ends. Brandon never seen or heard from again. His Chevy later found in the ditch, but no sign of the college student.

Now, there`s no blood in the vehicle. Police then, they search by air, by land, by water without any success at all. What happened to 19- year-old Brandon Swanson?

As far as a timeline in this case, it all started, it started around 6:30 when he went to go enjoy his evening with his friends. He`d just gotten out of college for the summer, but it was 1:30 in the morning that he left his friend`s house. Twenty-four minutes later, he called his dad on his dad`s cell and said, "Dad, my car is in a ditch." So, the parents, mother and father, get in the car immediately to go find him, and then, there`s a series of phone calls back and forth.

There was a 47-minute phone call as he was walking, and they were trying to find him. That cell phone call abruptly ends when Brandon Swanson says, ah, expletive. That was it. The call was over. I want to go out to Pat Brown, who is criminal profiler, such an expert in these things, author of "The Profiler." Here`s the strangest thing of all. One of the strangest things, Pat, listen to this.

The cell phone that so abruptly had that phone call end, all right, when he said he heard water nearby, well, for the next couple of days, that cell phone rang. It rang, and we`ve spoken with experts and they say if a cell phone goes into water at all, it`s probably not going to ring anymore. Go straight to voicemail.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Right. Well, I have a good scenario for this. First of all, let me take away something that people may be thinking about. Some might be thinking there`s a serial killer out there in the bushes, then he`s in the middle of nowhere and he hasn`t seen anybody. I doubt they`re going to have a serial killer hiding behind a bush and saying, oh, I just got so lucky. This one guy showed up in the middle of nowhere.

Secondly, someone suggested maybe a car hit him. Well, if he saw a car coming, I`m sure he would heard that and he would said to his parents, oh my gosh, I see car coming. If he saw people coming, he`d probably shout it to them. So, the only thing I can come up with is what Marc Klaas said earlier is that he fell into the water. And if he was walking along, and he seemed to be a little confused as to where he was, he was hearing the water, was taking the shortcut, if he slipped at that moment, he obviously would probably say a swear word.

And as he falls, the phone just flips out of his hand up on the bank, and he goes in. Now, the water may be rising after that point and may have caught the phone later and brought it downstream someplace, and so that`s why they`re having trouble finding both him and the phone.

CASAREZ: Such a mystery. Joining us tonight is the sheriff of the adjoining county that is working on this case. We are so grateful to have Sheriff Mark Mather from the Lyon County Sheriffs Office joining us from Marshall, Minnesota. Thank you, sheriff. What about that phone? Because it did ring for a couple of days, right, after he went missing. Was that perplexing to all of you that the phone rang, but you couldn`t find the phone anywhere?

VOICE OF SHERIFF MARK MATHER, LYON COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Well, thank you for inviting me, but I`m not sure the phone actually rang for a couple of days. We did contact the authorities leading to the phone to see if we could, you know, find out information on it, and basically, it did lead us to where the vehicle was at, which tower it was coming off of, you know, because, obviously, Brandon was located 20 miles from where he thought he was at.

CASAREZ: Right, which I`m sure hampered initially the search. Now, I do understand you are going to undertake a new search this spring. We heard about where it was. It`s in section two. Is that the focus of the search?

MATHER: Well, that would be in Lincoln County. And, you know, that`s an adjoining section to, you know, where we believe that, you know, he could be located, but, you know, at this point, numerous searches have occurred in that area, and we`re not finding anything.

CASAREZ: All right. Well, any searches that you will do, and we do know you`re going to undertake one in the spring, at least, in Lincoln County, do you need volunteers for that search?

MATHER: We`ve been very fortunate here. Law enforcement has utilized volunteer firemen and police officers and deputies in our area. So, we have had plenty of, you know, search individuals.

CASAREZ: To Andrew Scott, former chief of police, Boca Raton, Florida, the vice president of Scott-Roberts and Associates, joining us from Miami, Florida. Where does law enforcement go at this point?

ANDREW J. SCOTT, V.P. OF SCOTT-ROBERTS AND ASSOCIATES, LLC: Well, clearly, the sheriff has far more information that he probably has in his possession and rightfully so not sharing it with the public at this juncture. So, he`s got a pretty good idea as to where he wants to start, and clearly, searching the area that they`ve searched before is not a bad idea. There`s always the opportunity to possibly find some information or some evidence that you may have overlooked. This is an extremely difficult case.

It`s not one of those issues where one of your guests just mentioned where you have a serial killer prowling the rural area and what have you. There could be some natural calamity that could have occurred, could have fallen into one of those sinkholes that have been discussed, and obviously, possibly the water may have contributed to that, but clearly, you can`t discount anything at this juncture because there`s really no evidence pointing one way or the other.

CASAREZ: Very good point.

Tonight, everybody, please help us find Jason Knapp. He`s 20 years old, and he vanished on April 12th, 1998, from Clemson, South Carolina. He`s a white male, 6 feet tall, 150 pounds with curly brown hair and blue eyes. If you have any information, please call 864-898-5529.

If your loved one is missing and you need help, go to CNN.com/nancygrace and send us your story. We want to help you find your loved ones.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Father of two, Brian Swanson was inside his home on May 14th, 2008, when his 19-year-old son, Brandon, called him around 2:00 a.m. Brandon told his father his car ran into a ditch, and he needed a pick-up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brandon`s parents drove to the remote area of rarely used gravel road that stretched through local farmland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brandon stayed on the phone with his father while he drove to find him, but suddenly, after 47 minutes, the phone call ends abruptly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police later locate Brandon`s car, but there is no sign of the teen. Search dogs, volunteers, and investigators combed wooded and river areas turning up hints on Brandon`s scents, but no physical evidence of the 19-year-old.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez. Because of this missing persons case, a very important legislation was passed in Minnesota. Maybe you`ve heard of it. It`s called Brandon`s Law. I want to go out to Brandon`s mother, Annette Swanson, joining us tonight from Marshall, Minnesota. Annette, tell us about Brandon`s Law. What is it and how did it come to be?

VOICE OF ANNETTE SWANSON, MOTHER OF BRANDON SWANSON: Well, just very briefly, Brandon`s Law is Minnesota missing persons law. It amended the missing children`s act. So, now, it includes all persons regardless of their age. And one of the things that`s very important to families that Brandon`s Law does is that when an individual calls in a missing persons report, that report is now taken without any delay.

CASAREZ: Without any delay. And you know, time is of such essence in these cases. Richard Herman, defense attorney, joining us from Las Vegas. So nice to see you tonight, Richard.

RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Jean.

CASAREZ: Richard, you know what this case just exemplifies. It is so easy to get lost, to become missing. He was ten miles from his home. He was on the phone with his parents, Richard.

HERMAN: Yes, Jean, there`s a couple alarming things in this fact pattern. One, you called on it earlier. The phone ringing for so long that same day and then going into automatic voicemail. I don`t think the phone was stuck in the water, and I`m not so sure he was swept away. I`d like to know, like in the Natalee Holloway case, did they use sonar up and down that river looking for the body?

And two, critical, Jean, when they found the car, was it actually stuck in the ditch and unable to move? Two key questions.

CASAREZ: And we will get the answers. Sheriff Mark Mather, Lyon County Sheriffs Department, first of all, I know how much you searched in this case. Was sonar used in that river at all?

MATHER: Sonar, to my understanding, it was not used. And what was used was not probably a professional level.

CASAREZ: Do you believe that he fell in the water? That the currents got him? Or do you believe that foul play is still a viable alternative? Have you closed the gate on that avenue?

MATHER: I don`t believe foul play is an avenue that we probably will, you know, continue to go down, but, you know, the chances of him being in the river, I think, are pretty good just for the fact that the initial dog trail had led us toward the river. The area that he was walking. He seemed to indicate that he was going (INAUDIBLE) indicate, you know, going toward the water, and there were fence lines and other indicators that, you know, the sound of water which would lead us to believe that, you know, he is in the water.

The river, itself, is structured so that there`s a lot of beaver dams and trees and deep pockets and --

CASAREZ: So hearing all that, to Paula Bloom, clinical psychologist, joining us from Atlanta tonight. Hearing all that, you know, as a parent, you want hope. You want to believe your child will come back home to you. That he`ll be found. But hearing all this and fearing for the worst, how does Annette cope day-to-day along with her husband?

PAULA BLOOM, PSY.D., CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: First of all, I just want to say to Miss Swanson, I`m so sorry. I`m sure that your heart dropped when that phone dropped, that phone call dropped. Listen, I think you just said it, Jean, which is one moment at a time. It`s the kind of thing where there`s no good outcome emotionally from the sense of being completely in limbo for those two scenarios, being in limbo or having found out the worst. What`s amazing to me is the power of the human spirit.

Mr. Klaas is a perfect example of taking pain and transforming it into power. As human beings, we don`t like to feel powerless and what`s amazing to me is all of the people in the world that have done amazing things to take that pain and transform it.

CASAREZ: And with us tonight, Annette Swanson, the mother of Brandon. You know what I really want, Annette? I want to hear all about your son. Tell us about him.

SWANSON: I`d love to. Brandon was a very bright young man, and we really believe his future was just full of promise. It was just his to have. And one of the gifts that as a family we were given in the days after Brandon went missing was that many of the people that knew Brandon that worked with Brandon, that went to school with him and really had an opportunity to get to know him shared with us how kind of a person Brandon was.

How willing he was to help others and, you know, that he was very brilliant young man, and, of course, we knew that, but hearing other people confirm that just was a true gift, and he`s a dedicated and hardworking person who loved his family.

CASAREZ: And you know, Annette, I can see that, because when I look in his eyes in these pictures, I see his goodness. I mean, it just shines, shines through. We`ve got a caller. Kimberly in California. Hi, kimberly.

KIMBERLY, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Jean. I want to just say my heart goes out to the family. It`s really sad what happened. I just want to know when the call drop, do they suspect that maybe he might have passed out and that maybe something else might have happened to him? It`s just weird to me that he just disappeared after that last phone call with his family. I just want to know maybe is there foul play involved?

CASAREZ: You know, Kimberly, you`re right, because it`s not that big of an area, and they searched it and searched it and nothing was ever found. Annette, when your husband, I think, was talking to your son, right, when the call dropped, when your husband heard that voice, what did you -- how did your husband describe what he heard?

SWANSON: How he describes it is he truly thinks that he heard some kind of a slipping noise as though Brandon slipped, as though he lost his footing.

CASAREZ: OK. Sheriff Mark Mather, Lyon County Sheriffs Department in Minnesota, what can we do? What can anybody do in Minnesota to help you?

MATHER: Well, I think that, you know, obviously, we`ve had a lot of snow this year. We`re going to have some issues with spring flooding, and I guess, the most important thing is that one, we`ve heard (ph) family, and two that, you know, when we request volunteers or request additional help because, you know, there may be some leads, we will, you know, ask the people at that time.

CASAREZ: All right. To Marc Klaas, I want to give you the last word tonight.

KLAAS: Well, the Swanson -- I want to offer my voice also to the chorus that have expressed their sadness over what happened to Brandon, but you know what, regardless of how this turns out, they`ve already created a legacy for him by getting Brandon`s Law passed in Minnesota. There are very few resources available for missing adults in our society, and they`ve ensured that in any of those cases that pass beyond this point, that those resources will be made available, and hopefully, because of that, lives will be saved, and Brandon`s legacy will continue to grow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, Brandon would be a college sophomore. The Swansons haven`t wavered in their quest for answers. Since that night in 2008, they`ve kept hope alive and their porch light on just in case Brandon finds his way home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CASAREZ: These are the faces of America`s missing. Every 30 seconds, another child, a sister, a brother, a father or mother, they disappear. Their families are left behind wondering, oh, and waiting and hoping. We have not forgotten.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five-year-old Victor Shoemaker was visiting his grandfather in Kirby, West Virginia with his family in May of 1994. He and his two older cousins were playing in the distance for about a half an hour. Soon after, the cousins returned, but Victor was nowhere in sight. Victor`s mother --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just took him right up to the top of the hill there, and it`s just like they come right back and that was it. Our home has been broken ever since. Angelic and loved the outdoors. He didn`t even like to never come in the house. He just loved to stay outside and play, and he loved to go to school. You know, because that following year, he would start school.

He was ready to go to school. He was wanting to ride the school bus. He just loved life, you know? And it`s very sad, especially birthday, Christmas. That type stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patrick Alford vanished in Brooklyn, New York last year. He was wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans, and dark Michael Jordan sneakers. Patrick has a scar on his left eyebrow.

Kristy Rogers was 16 when she disappeared from her own home in Crest View, Florida in August of 1997. At the time, her naval was pierced, and she had a lazy right eye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just like she disappeared into thin air and nobody seem to care that she`s gone. I don`t know who to trust and who not to trust. You know, everybody I look at, I think, did you to do it, did you do it? Kristy was quiet. She was sweet. She was looking forward to going to school that year. She wanted to be an architect. Already had plans for her birthday because her birthday was only three weeks away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jennifer Walsh was last seen on January 11th, 2009, in Los Angeles. She is 25 years old, 4`11" and 120 pounds. If you have any information, call the LAPD Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez. See you tomorrow night, nine o`clock sharp eastern. Until then, we will be looking. Goodnight, everybody.

END