The Mysterious Death Of Jelani Brinson
One week after Jelani Brinson disappeared, officers found his body in the middle of a pond at a nearby park.
The death of Jelani Brinson is a case that's baffled Detective Dan Douglas for more than two years, mostly because when it comes to this investigation, police in Minnesota are struggling to find a starting block.
"We can't be sure this is a murder, because we can't determine the cause of death," Anoka County Sheriff's Office Detective Douglas said.
When Detective Douglas started his investigation, it was still a missing person case. According to police, Jelani vanished on April 17, 2009, in just a matter of minutes.
On the day he disappeared, one of Jelani's friends picked him up from work. From there, cops believe the two drove to a friend's house, where they were supposed to hang out that evening. Right around 10 o'clock, Jelani stepped outside, presumably to smoke a cigarette. Two minutes after exiting, Jelani's companions followed him out, but Jelani was nowhere to be found.
After searching the area around the house, officials say the group expanded their hunt to the neighborhood streets. The gang drove around to seek out Jelani, but found nothing.
The next morning, Jelani was reported missing by family members.
Tragic Discovery Shrouded In Mystery
This map illustrates the distance between where Jelani was last seen and the pond where his body was recovered a week later.
One week after he went missing, cops discovered Jelani's body in a pond at the nearby Greenhaven golf course, less than a mile from the home where he was last seen.
How Jelani ended up in the middle of the pond remains a mystery, and the medical examiner's report raised more questions than answers. According to detectives, there was no water in his lungs, so the cause of death was ruled inconclusive.
The results of the autopsy led police to believe Jelani died before he reached the pond. For law enforcement, the questions became how did Jelani die, and who moved his body afterwards? While law enforcement suspects foul play is a definite possibility, one thing is for certain: the information that investigators need to solve this case is only a phone call away.
"Someone knows something, and we're hoping that person will come forward," Detective Douglas said.
If you have any information about the death of Jelani Brinson, call our Hotline right now at 1-800-CRIME-TV. As always, you can remain anonymous.
According to police, Jelani was last seen at this house in Anoka, Minn.