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Police seek leads on 20-year-old missing California man, Steven Branston



Date: September 2, 2016

“On October 5, 1996, Lakeport Police Officers were contacted by the parents of STEVEN WILLIAM BRANSTON age 20 of Lakeport, Ca who reported that they had not had contact with BRANSTON since an August 1, 1996 telephone call while they were on vacation out of state. Prior to his parents going on vacation, BRANSTON had advised them that he might move to the state of Hawaii. After arriving home from vacation BRANSTON’S parents found that he was gone but determined that he had transferred his Social Security income to Honolulu, Hawaii and also rented a self-storage locker in that city. Prior to his disappearance, BRANSTON was taking the medication Risperdal due to being diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

At the time of the initial report, Lakeport Police Officers immediately entered BRANSTON into the California Department of Justice Missing and Unidentified Persons System (CADOJ MUPS) and also transmitted the Lakeport Police Department investigation report to the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii Police Department (HPD) Criminal Investigations Division Missing Persons Detail who immediately began an investigation in their city and county.

Follow up investigation determined that BRANSTON arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii after traveling alone from California on August 5, 1996. Investigation also determined that BRANSTON rented a self-storage locker where he left some personal property and then opened a bank account on August 12, 1996. Further investigation of the bank account records at the time of the report showed that two Social Security Income checks, for the months of August and September 1996 had been deposited into the account but no withdrawals had been made. BRANSTON’S parents continued to monitor the account for as least a year and found that checks continued to be deposited but no money was ever withdrawn while the account was active.

The last confirmed known locations of BRANSTON were in August 1996 at the Honolulu Airport and Hy-Pac Self Storage in Honolulu.

Between August 1996 and June 1997, there were several reported but unconfirmed sightings of BRANSTON in Hawaii including on the islands of Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Kauai where the County of Kauai Police Department also conducted investigation of this case in the year 2000.

In addition to police investigations, BRANSTON’S parents spent considerable time in Hawaii searching for him and conducting their own investigation which included distribution of missing person flyers.

Over the years, Lakeport Police investigators have continued to work on this case attempting to develop leads.

In July and August of 2016, Lakeport Police Detective Dale Stoebe, with the assistance of a CADOJ MUPS Analyst, conducted follow up investigation on two cases involving unidentified deceased persons who were possible matches to BRANSTON’S physical characteristics 1: A 2001 case in Grays Harbor County, Washington and 2: A 1998 case in the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The fingerprints or blood type of these individuals were compared with BRANSTON’S and determined not to be matches.

BRANSTON’S information including dental records, fingerprints and last known photographs remain on file with CADOJ MUPS. Additionally, his missing person entries with CADOJ MUPS and the State of Hawaii are linked together and also connected to the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Missing and Unidentified Missing Persons System (NamUs). To ensure that all possible identifying information for BRANSTON is available in the missing persons systems, Lakeport Police have obtained DNA samples from BRANSTON’S parents which will be used to determine his DNA profile.

The Lakeport Police Department will also be working on getting an image developed that will show what BRANSTON may look like today.

BRANSTON’S physical description on file is as follows: White Male Adult, 6’00 tall, 170 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. At the time of his disappearance he had long curly hair worn in a ponytail and may have had a light brown curly beard. He had a history of smoking cigarettes. He may have been wearing a scarf headband, a tie-dye shirt or black or white shirt, jeans or cutoffs and sandals.

It is our hope that that seeking the aid of the media and the public via coverage in news articles and on the internet through social media and other online sources may produce information that leads to solving this case.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Lakeport Police Detective Dale Stoebe or any other officer at 707-263-5491, by sending us a private message on our Facebook page @LakeportPolice or by sending us an anonymous message through Nixle on your cellular telephone by texting the words TIP LAKEPORT followed by your message to 888777. Anyone with information in Hawaii can call the Honolulu Police Department at 808-529-3111.”

Written by Lakeport Police

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