Dylan Rounds Case: Squatter Neighbor Named Suspect in Mysterious Disappearance of 19-Year-Old Utah Farmer

Dylan Rounds
Dylan Rounds.Handout

A squatter neighbor of missing Utah farmer Dylan Rounds, who was already a person of interest in the mysterious case, has now been declared a suspect, officials said.

A squatter neighbor already considered a person of interest in the Dylan Rounds case has now been named a suspect in the unexplained disappearance of the 19-year-old farmer in a remote section of Utah.

James A. Brenner, 58, is being held without bail at the Weber County Jail on federal firearms charges filed last week in connection with the investigation, according to authorities. 

In a motion for detention filed Wednesday, federal prosecutors said Brenner had contact with Rounds and was a suspect in his disappearance, KJZZ-TV reported.

Charging documents said Brenner had been squatting in a trailer near Rounds' farm and had spoken several times with the young farmer. The FBI and Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office said they have executed multiple search warrants at Brenner’s trailer, which led to filing last week of federal weapons charges.

As a convicted felon, Brenner is barred from possessing firearms. No criminal charges have been filed against him directly related to Rounds' disappearance. 

At his federal detention hearing Wednesday, Brenner was ordered held without bail pending the ongoing investigation. Prosecutors said Brenner was a "serious risk" because of his criminal history, which includes repeat convictions of being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as convictions for malicious wounding and malicious shooting.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office confirmed Brenner is a suspect in the Rounds case based on “the current totality of information gathered from the many interviews and searches, along with the analysis of both physical evidence and forensic data.”

Rounds had moved to an isolated farm near the Nevada border to grow grain, his family said. He lived alone in a camper in the desert town of Lucin. He was last heard from on May 28, when he spoke with his grandmother on the phone and said he had to go because he needed to get his grain truck in the shed so his seeds wouldn't get wet, the family said.

Two days later, after not being able to reach him, his relatives went to his property and found no trace of him. But his truck and belongings were still there, his family said. Alarmed, they reported him missing.

Searchers found the only pair of boots that Rounds owned near his truck. A spot of blood was found on them, his family said.

Candice Cooley, Rounds’ mother, told Fox News Digital on Thursday that Brenner was an acquaintance of her son. "I’m keeping it together as best I can," she told the outlet. 

Anyone with information on Rounds is asked to call the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office at 435-734-3800.

His parents have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to his return.

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