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This episode of Tom Brown's body is brought to you by care of this fall, I'm looking to get ahead of my health goals with care of by trying out their customized vitamin plan. Johnny and I will talk more about it later. But in the meantime, you can get 50 percent off your first order when you use code TVB five zero. Take care of dotcom. One day in mid-January, 2017, a few months after Tom disappeared, a worker for an electric company was making his way down Lake Marvin's Road, a lonely farm to market road northeast of Canadian.

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The workers spotted something unusual, a black and red backpack sitting in an upright position four to five feet from the road behind a barbed wire fence and under a clump of Hackberry trees. The man didn't think much about it at the time, but a couple of weeks later, after hearing a news report about Tom, he drove back out to Lake Marvin's Road and he found the bag inside where a couple of books, a school issued laptop and some school papers with Tom's name on them.

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The worker headed straight for the sheriff's department to talk to Sheriff Nathan Lewis.

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He did policy just came straight to the sheriff's office to tell us that's when we raced out there to see what we had because we thought, hey, this is going to be another piece to the puzzle. This is exactly what we need. We photographed everything when we got there and we noticed the backpack was close to a gated entrance and amongst under some trees right there at the fence line at the edge of the state right away. It looked like he'd been there for a while.

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It was kind of indented into the ground and it was it was moldy. I mean, it's definitely been raining out there for sure. It was it was wet. So it had been there for a while.

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How did the backpack get behind that fence? Under a thick layer of branches in a perfectly upright position. Had Tom placed it there or had someone else? The mystery of Tom Brown's disappearance was about to get a lot more mystifying and even some of Tom's closest friends were about to turn into suspects. I'm Skip Hollandsworth from Texas Monthly. This is Tom Brown's body. Episode four Like Marvin's Road. Remember the surveillance footage from the night Tom disappeared? There was a security camera that showed Tom's red Dodge Durango arriving at the town's water treatment plant at 550 a.m. If Tom had gotten out of his Durango at the water plant and walked straight to Lake Marvin's road where the backpack was found, that would have required hiking in the predawn freezing darkness for nearly four miles.

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He would have had to traverse marshy areas across the thigh high Canadian river and make his way through acres of tall grass and dense undergrowth. And he would have had to do all of that while carrying his heavy backpack.

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Everyone who knew Tom found it inconceivable that he would do something like that. Here's Tom's mom, Penny, and his brother Tucker.

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Thomas does not take a long walk. Tom was not an outdoorsman. I mean, he would not like to be Thomas's longest walk with from the chair to the refrigerator.

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And there was a more fundamental question that no one seemed to be able to answer. Why would Tom have wanted to make his way to that spot on Lake Marvin's road in the first place?

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If it was true, as Sheriff Lewis and his fellow law enforcement officers believed, that Tom was a runaway, that maybe he had arranged for someone to pick him up right there near the clump of Hackberry trees, maybe Tom deliberately had left the backpack behind as he left Canadian to start a new life. Of course, the private investigator, Philip Klein, had some different ideas about what had happened to Tom, and he decided it was time to share his theories with the residents of the Panhandle.

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What kind of a show is this? Well, it's interesting fun. Klein began making frequent appearances on Chris Samples, popular radio show and true to form, he mesmerized listeners.

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What we're seeing in this case is, is that it is kind of broken. The norms. The norm is that you have a town of 2500 people, a very close knit town. All the kids know each other. You have a young man that is the president of the student council. You have a young man that, by all indications, has everything going for him in his life. He has a few quirks. But, you know, tell me, a teenager that doesn't have a few works or an adult, he or an adult.

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There you go.

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Kline made it clear that he was not buying Sheriff Lewis's runaway theory.

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Well, what I can release to you, and it's of no surprise to anybody, Tom left the area. If he did leave the area, he left the area with no money, the clothes on his back, no car, no means of of the ability to garner any money other than go somewhere and get a job. But if you're going to go somewhere and get a job, you got to present a Social Security number and that's going to come up on the grid or a driver's license number.

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That's going to come up on the grid. And we have nothing that has come up on the grid. So that is, again, what concerns us.

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Unprompted, climbed, then dropped his own bombshell.

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We do believe that we have established some possible suspects in the city regarding some possible nefarious activities and we're exploring those.

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Klein went so far as to suggest that at least one Canadian high school student knew what had happened to Tom.

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If you're a student at Canadian High School and you have information, you need to come talk to the police or you need to come talk to us. If you're uncomfortable in talking to the police, come to us, because at this point, if this case continues going the direction in which it is, which I believe it is, then, you know, you could be you know, you could be charged with a crime for withholding information.

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No one came forward, which only made Klein more determined. He decided to turn to a well known dog trainer from Georgia named Tracy Sargent, Sargent is especially famous for training cadaver dogs that can detect the scent of human remains.

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She is probably one of the most famous hunters. And unfortunately, we have to say this body hunters in the United States, every government agency that has an acronym next to it uses her. She is a law enforcement agent.

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So that's why we brought her in. Sergeant arrived in Canadian with her top cadaver dog, a Labrador mix named Chance that the townspeople watched curiously from their front porches as chants trotted up and down Canadian streets. Boy, he sniffed the parking lot and the bleachers at the football stadium. He nosed around the part of Lake Marvin's Road where the backpack had been found. A chance also inspected Tom's Durango, which by then was back at Penny's home, parked in the driveway.

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So we we we gotten in the car. We looked at the car. We had the dog run the car. The dogs at the end of the dog did its thing. And then the smell of death was in the car. So when the dog says that makes it smelling a court, you calling it hit, it hit happen later, I called sergeant to ask her about what Klein had said, open up the driver's door just a little.

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And he went straight to the vehicle and went straight to the driver's door and immediately sat to that's telling me that the scent is coming directly from that vehicle. I'm reminded, Sergeant, that she did not arrive with her dog until April five, four months after Tom had disappeared. Was it really possible that the dog could detect a scent after that much time had passed?

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So when somebody smoked marijuana, let's say, for example, even months later, that scent is still inside the vehicle because she's got a vehicle that is literally full of sponges, the seeds headboard, the console. There are just a a lot of different places were sent can hold inside of a vehicle for months. So if you have, again, whatever thin it is in this case, human remains scent, it's going to be absorbed inside that vehicle. And it's really almost impossible to get rid of scent.

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Drug dealers have been trying to do that for years to hide the scent of drugs and other things. If a dog smelled blood in a car, is the dog able to distinguish that? That blood comes from someone who was live it was alive in the car or was dead in the car. The dog, nor myself as the dog handler can tell you somebody died in that vehicle. Even if I saw lots of blood coming out of that vehicle or any vehicle.

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I'm not going to say, hey, somebody died inside that vehicle. I don't know that. So when people say, you know, the smell of death in the Durango, we're not certain there was a dead body in that ranko in the end, correct? That is correct. And based upon my observations and fanservice response, I cannot say definitively that there was a death that occurred inside that vehicle.

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On the other hand, Sergeant could not definitively say that there had not been a death.

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With the absence of conclusive evidence, rumors rushed in to fill the void, the Canadian records, Larry Brown did her best to keep up with the onslaught of stories trying to pass out the few facts from the seemingly endless gossip. But it was impossible. Everyone in town seemed to have a hunch as to what happened at the town's cafes and restaurants. Residents spent hours swapping third hand information over plates of chicken fried steak because everybody was providing answers.

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Oh, he must have killed himself. Oh, he must. Ran away. So at that point, you kind of think, well, maybe they know something I don't know and think maybe that's possible. But as time went by, I was being told stories that either weren't true and we knew weren't true or stories that changed by the same person.

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Tom's friend, Michael Castletown became a frequent target of the gossip. Michael, of course, had gone cruising with Tom and Caleb King early on Thanksgiving Eve.

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It is what it is. I mean, I'm sure they looked at me as a suspect and then I had just moved here. I didn't have the best reputation. I like to party, I like to drink. You like to party, you like to drink, and you like to smoke.

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Michael occasionally sold pot to kids at Canadian High School, which he openly admitted to Sheriff Lewis and his deputies when they first interviewed him.

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I mean, because they kept trying and just kept asking about certain things. And I'm just trying to be as honest as I could. I mean, those are the truth of the matter. I was selling pot and was smoking it a lot then. And so you became suspect number one, right. Did you think they were believing you when you finished your interview with them? As far as I could tell, yes, I had nothing hide. I had talk, I just told them what I knew.

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And after that, I didn't ever get questioned again by the police. They talked to me one time and then they said they cleared me. But that didn't stop the rumors the Castletown had something to do with Tom's disappearance when Klein interviewed Michael, he double checked every detail of Michael's story.

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You know, I don't want you to think, you know, you're in any trouble because you're not you're not you're just a really good witness for us all to help us try to find out what happened. OK, the last time I talked to him was at 8:00 that night. And he didn't text you didn't call you and anything else, OK? All right.

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Michael said that once he got home, he did not leave again until after 2:00 a.m. when he got the call that Tom was missing. Michael's alibi was backed up by his mother, Shannon, she's an artist who runs a small yoga studio in town. Shannon also sells homemade protein bars on the side. When I called her, she was in the kitchen wrapping some of her bars.

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And Michael came home. I said, well, you're home early. I was painting a picture for Christmas. Some pictures for Christmas is actually a portrait of my daughter in law's stores. And I was in my bedroom. And then about two, it was probably about two o'clock that I went to bed, went to sleep, turn off the lights and went to sleep. And I couldn't have been asleep for very long. If, I mean, it was like that real light sleep, because it jolted me when he was like, Mom, and I'm like that.

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And he was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and my bedroom. And he's like, Tom didn't come home and I have to go look for it. And I'm like, What? And he's like, Kaitlyn just called and said, Tom didn't come home. And I'm going to go look for him. Shannon said Michael was only gone for an hour, not enough time to do anything nefarious, and when I talked to Michael about the rumors, he was emphatic.

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I mean, I'll let the truth speak for itself. There's absolutely nothing that points out that I had anything to do with this in any way, shape or form.

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Michael wasn't the only teenager who was the topic of a lot of talk. Other residents suspected that Chris Jones, who was a running back on the Wildcats football team, was somehow involved in Tom's disappearance in December 2016, a month after Tom disappeared. Chris was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge for fracturing the socket of a fellow students right eye. He had pled guilty and he would later serve 100 days in the county jail after violating his probation. Klein asked his daughter, Caroline Geer, who was also one of his staff investigators, to try to get Christa open up.

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Hello. Hi, Chris. Hey, it's Caroline again. Thank you for calling me. I'm sorry I had to get better reception I had in Canadian, and I do not have any reception out here. It's so patchy. I'm sure you know who we are. Have you heard of the investigative team on the Tom Brown disappearance? Yes, ma'am. OK, I wanted to talk with you and just kind of get your take on his disappearance. And I have some questions for you about what you may know or what you may not know and different things if you don't mind talking with me.

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Just last one. OK, well, so you all played football together, is that correct?

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Yes, I played running back. He was basically right behind the bar. So, yeah, I play with not OK.

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Have you heard of anyone that he was with or. You know, I know there's a lot of rumors going around. What's your take on the rumors I heard or.

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I don't believe it. I think he's OK. Tom, was it your kid?

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Do you think he's alive? Like, if it if you could put percentages on on how you feel or where you think the status is of Tom, do you think he is one hundred percent alive? I don't know. I don't know. I'll be OK. I'm sure she's OK.

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I don't know what to think. Chris says I want him to be OK, so I'm going to think he's OK. That fall, Chris had been living with a family friend and Canadian until the friend moved to New Mexico. Then Chris had gone to live with one of the school's football coaches. He told Caroline that on Thanksgiving Eve he had gone to bed around 10:00 pm at the coach's home.

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And so you all went to bed about o'clock. They go to bed to the club. But, yeah, we're we're downstairs somewhere around ten o'clock. All right.

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There are a handful of names that have been thrown at us that say that they're involved in his disappearance. And your name is one of them. Of course, you know, everybody starts rumors. So we want to you know, we our goal as investigators is to distinguish those rumors from fact. And so you're saying that you were there all night.

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Yes. Well, OK. OK, good deal. And did anybody contact you regarding Tom that night? Did anybody say, hey, come and look for him or he's missing or anything of that nature that night? No, I didn't hear this until the police came to the floor for breakfast. And what day was that? It was actually the next day. Oh, so you had practice on Thanksgiving? Yes. And we got to practice Thanksgiving morning.

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We did. OK, and how was the reaction from the football team? I mean, did anybody say we talked to him last night or did anyone say that they were with him that night? You know, everyone said the same thing. We just feel just like we just went home yesterday.

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So Chris Jones, like Michael Castleton, had a strong alibi, but the rumors only multiplied when anonymous donors added to the ticket and told him reward fund, increasing it at first to twelve thousand five hundred dollars, then to twenty thousand dollars. Someone came in to the sheriff's department and said that Tom had been injected with acid by members of a drug cartel. Someone else in a letter to the department written in block print with no signature, claiming that Tom had been murdered and buried in a chicken coop by a married couple who are also money launderers for a biker gang.

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Klein wasn't helping to quell the rumors, he was still pushing his theory that someone at Canadian High had information about Tom's death.

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What kind of a show is this? Well, it's Sheriff Lewis had become so irritated with Klein and his theories that he decided to make a return appearance on Chris Sample's radio show.

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Sheriff, Mr. Klein with Klein investigations also had previously noted that not only did he think foul play was involved, but that someone at Canadian high school had direct knowledge, unquote, of what happened. Can you verify, is there any proof that anyone at Canadian high school students had any kind of personal knowledge of what has happened to Thomas Brown?

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Chris, I can't there's just absolutely no evidence to supports at this time that that's even something considerable. We don't have any evidence laying out in front of us saying that an assault or homicide occurred at this time. The sheriff's office has no evidence to support the following assertions that the car was driven by someone other than Tom Brown. At any time during the night, the backpack recovered by the sheriff's department was planted as a diversion. Tom Brown was assaulted and or killed intentionally or accidentally, and Tom's body was dumped in around Hemphill County.

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At this time, we have no evidence to support any of those assertions made by Klein investigations.

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Curiously, what Lewis did not mention to samples was that he and his fellow lawman had developed their own teenage suspect. It wasn't someone they believed had hurt Tom. It was someone they believed had helped him disappear. All right, Maddy, so I've been looking to go beyond my usual multivitamin. Tell me about this customized vitamin plan with daily packets you mentioned earlier. Johnny, it's actually really cool. It's called Care Of. And they make it easy to stick to your health goals because they actually customize the vitamins for what you yourself need.

[00:20:30]

Cool. How do they customize it for you? You go to take care of dotcom and take a five minute online quiz about your diet, lifestyle and health concerns. It's like getting a one on one consultation with a nutritionist, all without leaving your house. Well, that sounds pretty convenient. So what did you learn?

[00:20:44]

You get a customized, tailored vitamin recommendation based on your health concerns. And I learned that I should be taking American ginseng to keep my daily energy levels up and the vitamins come in these adorable individually wrapped packs that I put in my bag each morning. The sounds super easy. I would totally take my vitamins every day if I had them ready to go in a packet. Yeah, and care of products also include protein powders to help supplement your workouts and keep you in shape.

[00:21:07]

Oh, that's perfect. That would definitely help me on my long bike rides. Well, then go to take care of dotcom and use code TVB five zero and they'll give you 50 percent off your first pair of order. That's take care of dotcom promo code teeb five zero. Thank you for supporting Tom Brown's body. It was the morning of April 11th at Oklahoma State University in the town of Stillwater and Christian Webb, the former Canadian high school valedictorian, was sitting in class.

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I was in a biology lecture and you walk out and there were some clothes, OSU police officers waiting for you, right?

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It was a guy in a black suit. And I heard my name. And so I turned around and he was standing there and he said, I am with a Austin Police Department, Detective Hart, I believe it was. And he said, I'm guessing you know what this is about. And I said, Yes, sir. He said, would you be willing to come down to the station and talk to us? And I said, Yes, sir.

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I said, All right, let's go. We're going to grab my partner real quick. And he was actually standing on the other side of the wall at the other door connected to the lecture room, just in case. I came out the other door and we walked down the stairs outside.

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The officers escorted Christian to a suburban and the suburban stood out to me because I remembered seeing it every morning, walking to class for several weeks. And that kind of that kind of concerned me because that meant that they'd been watching me.

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And then the Suburban was. So it was OHSU officers in the Suburban. Yes, sir.

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So OHSU officers, you assume, had been watching you for several days, if not weeks. Yes, sir. From there, where did you go?

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We drove to the Austin Police Department, which was on campus, and they took me inside and walked in a room with two other men.

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The two men were Texas Ranger Mike Smith and FBI Agent Scott Hendricks. As part of the investigation into Tom's disappearance, they had obtained Christian cell phone records. Now, stay with me, because this is where things get a little complicated. Christian's phone records revealed that between December 31st, 2016 and April six, 2017, she exchanged numerous text messages with someone using a cell phone that was registered to a teenager in Denver, Colorado. His name was Nathan McGuire.

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Nathan was close to one of Christian's best friends, Macy Patterson. Remember Macy early in the investigation? She was the one who had told sheriff's deputies that she and Tom had talked about various ways they could slip away to another part of the country without being traced.

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Since then, Macy had graduated from Canadian High and she had moved to Denver to attend art school. That's where she had met Nathan McGuire. She then it introduced Nathan to Christian and the two of them started texting. The law enforcement officers had come up with a theory about that texting. They speculated that Tom had made his way to Denver and that he was now using Nathan's cell phone to stay in touch with Christian at the Oklahoma State University police station. Christian said the Texas Ranger and the FBI agent immediately asked for her phone.

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They asked to take by phone and they could look through it. And I said that was totally fine because I had nothing to hide. And then they asked me to write down all the events from the night to talk about missing and as much detail as I could. And then as soon as I finished, they came back in the room and they told me to tell them what happened that night and as much detail as possible. I did so. And as soon as I finished, they told me that I was not telling the entire truth, that there was more to the story.

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And they kept probing and probing. And I kept denying it and saying, that's all I knew. And that's when they brought up Nate, my friend from Colorado, and started to bring him into the mix.

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Neither Texas Ranger Mike Smith nor FBI agent Scott Hendricks would agree to be interviewed. But Christian said the officers were relentless, interrogating her for four hours.

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They told me that they that I knew more than I was saying, that I knew what happened. Christian said eventually she started crying and felt nauseated when they asked if she would submit to a lie detector test. She readily agreed. Instead, the officers just left.

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I think they were trying to put words in her mouth and get her to confess to something that she didn't know.

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This is Trey and Anita Webb, Christian's parents. I met them at their home in Canadian.

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So then here's what happened. Christian finally gets out of there. She missed two classes which upset her probably as much as the interview. She was very upset over that. And then she had a lab that night. So she gets out of there, they drop her back into her apartment and she Texas on the way to the lab. And she said she said, I just want you to know that I've been in a interrogation. This is really hard for the last four hours.

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And she said, I cannot talk right now. And I said, Are you OK? She goes, No. So and she said, I'm headed to class. So she didn't call us all that night. And then finally, about 11:00 the next morning, I knew she had lunch come out. And I said I said, I know you do not want to talk. I said, but you need to call us. And just last night.

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And so finally she called us at noon and she was madly broke down. She didn't want to talk a lot because she was pretty sure they had no fun because they took her file.

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She freely gave up her phone at that point train. Anita called a lawyer friend in Amarillo because they were weighing whether they needed legal counsel. Then that night, Trey and Anita went to dinner at the bucket when a Canadian style restaurants around the same time Sheriff Lewis happened to show up at the same restaurant with his family.

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And by this time, we're the only ones in there. And he said, hey, he said, I want to talk to y'all before you leave. And we said, OK, so we finished eating, got out, went out there. And he said he said, well, he said, I guess you all know by now that Christian was interviewed today. And we said, yeah, he goes, well, I'm I'm really sorry we had to do it that way.

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But but that's just how we had to do it. And he said, if you're thinking about getting legal counsel, he said, don't do it. He said she's been cleared. I figured out she had nothing to do with it. He said, as a matter of fact, we know that Thomas has run off with an older man to Colorado, but he's somewhere in Colorado with an older man. We know that those were the exact words out of his mouth.

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And, you know, we're like, oh, well, I mean, we don't know better. We're like, OK, well, you know, at least you have an idea, because the way he made a sound, they knew he had run off with an older man in Colorado.

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When I talked to Lewis, he denied ever suggesting that Tom was with an older man or that he had run off to Colorado. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers and the FBI agents set their sights on another Canadian teenager. This time they went after Caleb Keene, the state representative son. Caleb wouldn't do an interview with me. He said he was tired of talking about the case, but he did allow me to use a recorded interview he did in twenty seventeen with Laurie Brown.

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They had me OK.

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It was weird because they had me do like a paper questionnaire thing and then write a paragraph or two about what we did that night. Well, and then I answered all these questions like bubbled and stuff. And it was just like, this is weird, like in room. And they had me do all this and write it down what I could remember. And so I wrote everything I could and they went back and reviewed it and then they came in and good cop, bad cop and, you know, B.S. with me over like what I'm looking forward to at college.

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And I was like, OK, when's the bad stuff coming in? I mean, immediately after I thought that they unloaded all the crap. Bam, bam.

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After studying Caleb's cell phone pings off a cell phone tower, the officers had surmised that Caleb had been out and one of his family's pastors at seven o'clock on Thanksgiving morning, they were curious whether Caleb was out there to meet Tom.

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And because they asked me, they hit me over and over saying, Do you know of where Tom is? Have you seen Tom since this has happened? Have you been in contact with him in some way since this has happened? No, I have not seen Tom since November. Twenty third. Twenty sixteen. And I said I don't remember, I don't know like well we don't believe you. We don't believe we find somewhere coming for you. You're done.

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And I'm sitting there like, oh god, I'm so scared right now because I was just like I couldn't convince him. And so I was like well. So I just let them hammer me and I just saw it, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know until they finally let me go, which they were like, you're free to walk out here whenever you want. I was like, I better not. And so I stay and let them abuse me for God.

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It felt like hours, like four hours is a long time, but it felt like 12. Did they ask you if you wanted to if you would take a lie detector test? I offered you offer. I offered because after they said, I don't believe you, I like polygraph me. And after that I kind of figured, OK, so these guys don't have Jack if they're not going to polygraph me because granted, a polygraph isn't you can't show that caught my eye.

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They I mean, it's been that way for years, but I was like, man, they really should polygraph. And just so maybe they'll tell these guys, leave me alone and they wouldn't do it.

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But yeah. And.

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I just I just know that that was one of the most terrifying moments in my life I've ever experienced, because I've when the FBI, Texas Rangers were done with you, did they ever say, you're clear, you're OK?

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You were after that from what I got. Yes, Nathan called. My dad said, you're good. I'm sorry. Due to the generosity of yet another anonymous donor, the Teuton totem reward fund was increased to forty thousand dollars. Predictably, more reports. It was supposed Tom Brown sightings flooded. The sheriff's department and optician in Kansas called to say that a young man who could have been Tom had walked into her office to get his glasses fixed. Someone else called to say he had seen Tom eating Cassidy's with an older couple at a restaurant in Arizona.

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Of course, none of the tips panned out. And in July 2017, as it became clear that the law enforcement investigation had stalled, Pinny decided to hold a press conference in the youth room at the Methodist Church. She was accompanied by her husband and by Tom's father and his brother. Pinnies stood at a podium before a standing room only crowd of Panhandle reporters and curious Canadian citizens. Reading from a prepared statement, Pinny says that Tom is not as roomer headed a troubled teen.

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No evidence has surfaced today, suggesting that Thomas led some alternative lives. We know we knew nothing about or perhaps was suicidal, which leads us to believe foul play of some sort.

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She touts the efforts of her friends to help find Tom. Recently, a group of moms, Moms for Tom, have been putting out yellow ribbons in several towns, placing flyers and creating a new Facebook page to try and keep the interest in the public's eye. They also published a video video that Tom available on YouTube, which shows more pictures and gets a more detailed description of Tom.

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But that isn't the real reason she's called the press conference. Pene announces that she wants Sheriff Lewis to relinquish control of the investigation entirely.

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I am grateful for all the work done by the sheriff's office, but I believe there were some assumptions made in the very beginning which weren't based on facts and ultimately led to giving up this precious time. We have no time to waste now on this eighth anniversary. We are beyond frustrated with the lack of new evidence or leads garnered. Navigating the various law enforcement enforcement agencies has proven to confuse us, frustrate us and leave us questioning much about the way the investigation investigation began and has continued.

[00:35:09]

I have asked the sheriff to go ahead and turn over the case to the state now rather than wait. We know that these are uncharted waters and that everyone involved has to the best of their ability worked to find answers. Before she steps away from the microphone, Pinny then pleads for help. We are confident someone knows more information or interpreters. Please help us. No lead is too big or insignificant. The smallest piece of information may help. Thank you.

[00:35:43]

We have a video we'd like for you all to watch. For the next four minutes and thirty eight seconds, everyone soberly stares at a screen at the front of the room as a slideshow plays, the video had been prepared by Moms for Tom. There are photos of Tom as a toddler with a toy car, one with him sitting in Penny's lap while she feeds it, a shot of him and Tucker at the beach with Tom grinning right after Tucker is buried him in the sand.

[00:36:23]

Tom is shown in his football uniform and posing with his state championship medal and hamming it up during a school play. By the end of the video, nearly everyone in the room is emotional, Pinny takes a long pause to regain her composure, and then she steps back up to the microphone, have some questions you'd like to ask.

[00:36:50]

We'll try to answer as best I can.

[00:36:55]

Someone asks about the origin of the 25 caliber shell casing that was found in Tom's Durango.

[00:37:00]

They put out. Not to my knowledge. That's probably a question that the sheriff's department can answer better than I can. Hey, how do we get that shovel so far this year?

[00:37:18]

Sheriff Lewis just happened to be standing in the back of the room. He had known Penny was going to call for his department's removal from the case.

[00:37:26]

We want to answer questions. OK. Lewis walks past the crowd and makes his way to the front of the room. He tries to assure everyone that he's still working diligently on the case.

[00:37:40]

First of all, guys, I'll tell you what followed up from from Kenny's calmness. It's hard to have words as as a sheriff to tell you guys things about this case. And at this point, this case is still an active investigation. My office, my deputies, along with the Texas Rangers, the Texas Rangers have two guys and kermesse that appeared Canadian about two times a week. At this point, they are still actively investigating this with us. The Texas Rangers have been on this case the entire time with us.

[00:38:17]

We have not forgotten Tom Brown. We will not forget Tom Brown. We will do everything in our power to find him.

[00:38:25]

And we have not given up more with a woman at the press conference asked Lewis what he thinks happened to Tom, but Lewis still refuses to label the case a criminal investigation.

[00:38:37]

I heard you speak on the radio. Describe this program for Janet right now. There's we have no evidence to say that anything else has happened. We had no evidence showing that their crime has been committed. And so at this point, he is missing. Philip Klein was not at the press conference, he was back in his office in southeast Texas, but that didn't stop him from entering the fray. He went back on Chris samples show to tell the Panhandle that Tom was definitely the victim of foul play and that any other theory was simply absurd.

[00:39:19]

We have a crime. And without going into the evidence, I will say we have about three persons of interest that we are focusing on and we're developing that, trying to talk to these three young people and say, look, just tell us what happened. Just give us the information and tell us where he is.

[00:39:37]

Kline offered no hints about the identities of his three persons of interest, but he told samples that he soon would be returning to Canadian to conduct a major search for evidence. We will be doing some what we call line searches in an area where we received the tip and some evidence where we believe there may be certain evidence that will lead us in the right direction in this case.

[00:40:03]

Klein refused to provide details of the search, but what little he did say got the Canadian gossip mill churning again. Word got around that Klein had acquired vital new information and that he was about to crack the case wide open.

[00:40:23]

Next week on Tom Brown's body. She had overheard didn't know the exact location that his body was placed just up the road on Lake Marvin Road. Tom Brown's body is a Texas Monthly production executive producer is Megan Krait, produced and engineered by Brian Standiford, who also wrote the music. Jaquet Neko is our editor and Paul Knight is our fact checker. Audio assistants are Sean Cronin and Imogene Hopper. Our theme music is No Hard Feelings by The Avett Brothers. I'm your writer and host Skip Hollandsworth.

[00:41:10]

If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts. Thanks for listening. See you all next week.