Select It Sunday: Brian Martin

This week’s SIS case is Brian Kent Martin, selected via Facebook by Melissa A. She was a friend of his when they were growing up.

It isn’t clear exactly when Brian disappeared. His mother last spoke to him in March 2001; he was living in Biloxi, Mississippi at the time. She didn’t report him missing until September. He was transient at the time of his disappearance and had no legal address, and his mother and siblings lived in Georgia, which would explain why it took so long for the report to be filed.

Brian suffered from dyslexia, which can make anyone’s school years a misery. The person’s intelligence is unimpaired and I’ve heard of dyslexic people who’ve gotten graduate degrees, but it makes reading very difficult. Depending on the severity of the condition, you could just need to work a little harder at reading, or you could be almost entirely illiterate. A person with dyslexia is often placed in special education at school, at least for the reading-intensive classes. Which is good, because special education teachers are specially trained to help them learn strategies to compensate for their condition, but it’s also bad, because the other kids at school inevitably make fun of the special ed kids and sometimes even other teachers bully them. The bullying and the struggle to deal with reading may explain why Brian dropped out of high school.

(I’m an excellent reader, as you’ve probably guessed, and picked it up pretty much instantly in first grade. Once, in third grade, we were put into small groups and told to read a story in our reading books aloud to each other, taking turns, a few paragraphs at a time. A girl in my group was dyslexic and read aloud very slowly, often stumbling over her words. The teacher deliberately placed her with me because she thought, for some reason, that Rachel would benefit with having a really good reader in her group. I’m ashamed, even now, to admit I kept complaining to the rest of the group about how long she was taking to read her parts, and I even asked my teacher to move me to a different group. Rachel, I’m really sorry for being such a jerk.)

Brian was 24 when he disappeared; he would 39 now, turning 40 in November. Although there’s no hard evidence of foul play in this case that I know of, both the Martin family and the police believe he was probably murdered. After his 2001 disappearance, his paper trail stops: no Social Security number activity, no record of employment, in the past 15 years. And he didn’t have a passport so it’s unlikely he left the country. He doesn’t seem to have had any motive to walk away from his life — in fact, he’d said he wanted to return to Georgia where most of his family lived.

He may very well be a John Doe somewhere. The only particularly unusual physical characteristic I know of is an unspecified “gang brand” five inches in size on his arm. I don’t know whether they mean a tattoo or an actual brand.

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