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The Strange Disappearance of Kevin Brown

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Missing Shawnee man Kevin Brown in a 2011 photograph.
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SHAWNEE, Okla. — Kevin Robert Brown disappeared from Shawnee, Oklahoma three years ago, but friends and family are still holding out hope that he may be alive. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance suggest foul play or he may have left town intentionally for his own protection.

His brother Mark Brown said their family in Michigan is worried because Kevin has never dropped contact before. He spoke with him May 21, 2013. Mark said Kevin told him he was getting out of Shawnee, that people were after him and he would get in touch with a new number soon.

They have not heard from him since that phone call. It is unclear when anyone last saw him alive, but witnesses estimate he disappeared sometime in April. Brown’s mother filed a police report in October 2013.  

BEFORE HE DISAPPEARED

Kevin Brown was a master of several trades, but predominantly pole work for cable and utility companies, welding, and general mechanical repair. In late 2011, he partnered with Richard Alcorn and opened up a shop in downtown Shawnee where the two planned various commercial machining projects.

Alcorn is an industrial heat treater who works on power plants and refineries. He said he began noticing changes in Kevin’s behavior and mental stability about six months before he left. Alcorn said Kevin was hallucinating and hearing voices, disassembling and destroying equipment in the shop, and even pawning tools.

“He called me one time when I was in Kansas,” said Alcorn. “He said I was spying on him from the rafters in the shop. I said, ‘Kevin I’m not even in Oklahoma.’”

A close friend saw him a couple of weeks before she learned he was missing and said he did not appear to be on anything. Belinda McNeal, who said Kevin was like a bother to her, said they spoke for a couple of hours at a bar where she worked at the time.

She admitted he abused meth. “When he’s stringing cable, that’s when he was doing the meth. When you’re stringing wire cable, the more you do the more you get paid for,” she said. “That wasn’t something that was his habit. It could be right in front of him and he’d throw it on the floor, it wasn’t something he had to have.”

Alcorn said, “If he was on it before when we first started, I didn’t know it. I will say that not a single project he started got finished. But that last six or seven months, I knew he was on it. He was in a really, really, bad state of mind when he left.”

Kevin lived in the shop and had allowed friends and his girlfriend, Cheyenne Newby, to live there with him. Reportedly about three weeks before his disappearance, he broke up with Cheyenne. One afternoon in late March or early April, Alcorn said Kevin was at the shop moving out. He was in a white pickup with a cable company logo on the side and had a couple friends loading his things into the truck.

“He had some buddy that was a painter,” said Alcorn, “and he decided that him and his buddy were going to go back on the road doing poles or something and save up money and open up an auto body paint facility.”

Others reported that Kevin was heading for Kansas with a crew who had left Allegiance Cable in Shawnee to string wire for a cable company possibly in Wichita.

Alcorn said Kevin left him with a loss between $40,000 to $50,000 worth of equipment. He did not file a police report. “He was a friend. I wasn’t going to send him to jail. I just wanted him to straighten up.

Even at his worst, Kevin was a likeable guy,” said Alcorn. 

LAST SIGNS OF LIFE

Alcorn said he later received a text message from Kevin, but didn’t recall the specific date. “I think it was June. It said something like, ‘I’d like to see the look on your face when you saw what was left,’ or something to that extent.”

Reportedly the Shawnee Police Department never obtained those text messages, likely because of a lack of evidence necessary at the time to obtain phone records. It is not known when the last activity on his Social Security number registered on financial or other records.

Police are not releasing any information into Kevin’s disappearance, saying they didn’t want to compromise an open investigation. “I can advise that all leads and any information that comes into us is taken seriously and checked thoroughly. Detective Swantek has and will continue to keep in contact with the family,” said CID supervisor, Detective Ethan Rieves.

When the missing person flier Mark made circulated in March 2016 on Oklahoma Missing Persons Facebook page, the family got a mysterious hit.

March 17, a new Facebook account created days before is listed as Kevin Brown. There is no picture for the account, but the creator of the page sent Mark a private message claiming to be his brother. Mark said the person wouldn’t give a phone number and nothing about the messages seemed consistent with his brother’s language, typing skills, or behavior.

There has been no activity on Kevin’s original Facebook page or Google Plus account since February 2013.  

SPECULATION OF FOUL PLAY

Alcorn said for about six months after Kevin left, people came to the shop looking for him. “He made a lot of people mad,” said Alcorn.

Mark said in the last three years he’s tried to get information from people who knew Kevin, he was told that Kevin had enemies in Shawnee, but also in Tulsa where had also worked. A former co-worker told Mark that Kevin got on the wrong side of a biker group known for violence, the One Percenters. 

Kevin has a criminal record for DUI, possession, domestic assault, and a protective order between 2006 and 2008 in Pottawatomie County.

While it appears he didn’t lack for enemies, it is also clear he had a lot of friends who knew the “real” Kevin. His sister-in-law said they don’t know “the Kevin” who was on drugs.

“He wasn’t like that,” said Penny Brown. “There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. He was a very loving, compassionate person if even you wronged him.”

“We had a house fire and he showed up and volunteered to help clean everything up,” Alcorn remembered. “I really wish he would show back up. He’s a really nice guy when he’s not strung out.”

Belinda McNeal said, “You had to love him. I miss him. He was an awesome guy.”

“I don’t agree with how he was living,” said Mark Brown, “or what he was doing, but he’s a human being and he deserves to be found.”

WHERE COULD KEVIN BE?

Because of the nature of Kevin’s work, Mark believes his brother could be working in almost any state.

McNeal said Kevin also works almost exclusively for cash doing sub-contract work or performs work for trade. Kevin told his mother in April 2013 he was going to work in Kansas.

In Shawnee, Kevin was affiliated with the Forsaken Few biker club, but may have other biker affiliations.

He likes to play pool and frequently dines in bars and restaurants because he does not cook. He answered to the nickname “Wildman” in Shawnee.

He is listed on the NAMUS database and DNA from family members is on file. Anyone who has seen Kevin Brown or who may have information can contact the Shawnee Police Department at 405-273-0989.

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About the Author

Mindy Ragan Wood

Mindy Ragan Wood is a freelance writer and editor with a special interest in investigative and...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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