Local News

Missing Manchester Man Declared Legally Dead

Brian “Farmer” Burns, a Manchester man missing since 2013, has been declared legally dead.

Burns was last seen December 19, 2013 at his home at 1381 180th Street northwest of Manchester. He was 55 years old. He was reported missing by a family member a few days later on December 23, 2013.

At that time, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release about Burns’ disappearance, asking for the public’s help in locating him – but he was never found. Sheriff John LeClere says they conducted ground searches in the area with no luck. LeClere says Burns did not have a cell phone or credit cards, so there was no way to try to track him.

The Division of Criminal Investigation has been involved in the investigation as well. Sheriff LeClere says the case has been revisited over the years – even reviewed again just a few months ago – but they still haven’t been able to find anything they could follow up on.

A jury trial presided by District Court Judge Michael Shubatt was held on the matter Thursday morning in Delaware County District Court in Manchester.

According to court documents, Randy Burns appeared with his attorney to petition for his brother’s legal declaration of death. He presented evidence to a jury of six, including a report from the Division of Criminal Investigation. Several witnesses also testified.

Details about the DCI report and witnesses was not immediately available.

The jury’s verdict was that sufficient evidence had been presented, from which it fairly may be presumed that Brian Michael “Farmer” Burns is dead. The Court agreed with the jury’s verdict.

The Court says from this day forward, it should be presumed that Burns is deceased.

Sheriff LeClere says even though Burns has now been declared legally dead, his case will still remain open.

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