Canadian, Texas (KVII) — LISTEN TO AN EXTENDED VERSION OF THE INTERVIEW NOW:
A private investigator released new details Monday in the case of a Canadian high school senior Thomas Brown who went missing almost three years ago and was found dead in January.
The Office of the Attorney General took over the case in February 2018. Brown’s remains were found in January. Investigators were unable to determine how Brown died and suspended his case in August until more evidence becomes available.
The private investigator said the photos he posted on Facebook are controversial since his conclusions disagree with the attorney general's findings. Seven pictures posted on Klein Investigations and Consulting's Facebook page show evidence, never seen before, in Thomas’ case.
Private investigator Philip Klein, hired by Thomas' family, said the pictures show patches blood on the driver's side of Thomas' car when luminol was used.
Luminol is a substance that reacts with the hemoglobin in blood and can reveal blood traces that may not be visible to the naked eye.
"We were shocked at what we found,” Klein said. “Which was an enormous amount of glow inside the car."
Klein said the blood was tested and determined to be Thomas’.
Klein also said the pictures show a cadaver dog alerting outside of Thomas' Durango, showing a dead body had been in the car. Klein said despite differing opinions from law enforcement, he has always believed Thomas' death to be a homicide.
"Let the public know this is not a suicide," Klein said. “There is something that happened that night and somebody is responsible for this.”
Thomas' mom, Penny Meek, said just out of the frame of the pictures is something you cannot see.
"What people don't understand about the pictures Mr. Klein released is that on the one-year anniversary of Thomas going missing, we luminoled the car,” Meek said. “My husband, my son and I watched it all go down."
Klein said he chose to release the pictures just weeks before the third anniversary of Thomas going missing for a specific reason.
"We want the killer to know what we know,” Klein said. “We want the killer to know we are working on this case. We want him or her to know you can't get away with murder. We want them to know we are coming after them."
Klein said because Thomas was 6 feet, 195 pounds, it is likely more than one person was involved. Klein shared with ABC 7 News specifics about what he believes happened the night Brown disappeared in November 2016.
“Our theory has been and has always been that someone must have come up behind Tom while he was sitting in the car and shot him in the head,” Klein said. “We say that for a couple of reasons. Number one, again, because of the pooling (of blood) in the area (of the driver’s side of Thomas’ car). Number two, because we found a .25-caliber shell casing in the car. Number three, there was a small splatter pattern (in Thomas’ car) that can be deduced as a gunshot wound. We do not believe the bullet exited his skull. What we believe is the bullet stayed in the skull but there was probably a major vein or artery hit that caused that kind of damage inside the car.”
Klein also gave ABC 7 News a timeline of events that night.
“The last ping of Tom’s cell phone is within a 100 square yards of the football stadium at Canadian,” Klein said. “We believe the incident happened near the football stadium. We believe Tom’s body was pushed to another part of the car.”
Klein would not say where in the car Thomas was moved.
“We believe he was driven out to the site and his body was taken from out on Lake Marvin Road and put under a tree about 500 feet from the road way,” Klein said.
Klein said Thomas’ personal effects such as his backpack, cell phone, books, articles of clothing, and other items, which he would not name, were then thrown out of the car on the Lake Marvin Road as Thomas’ car was driven from where his body was placed. Klein said Thomas’ car was left near the Canadian’s wastewater treatment plant around 5:35 a.m., the driver got out of the car, urinated, and then cleaned up the blood.
“We believe that probably either towels or something was used inside his car to wipe down those areas,” Klein said.
Klein also said Thomas did have a cell phone charger in his car, but it was not the typical charger Thomas carried, which was a case with a charger in it.
“Tom, in his car during our search, did have a cell phone charger in his car that you plug into the car charger,” Klein said. “Therefore, he did not need that backing cell phone charger.”
Klein also revealed more details about how a Hemphill County Sheriff’s deputy found Thomas’ body in January.
“At 2 a.m. a sheriff’s deputy walking around in the same area as Tom’s body was found approximately a year and half, two years later and he is supposedly at 2 a.m. looking for deer antlers or deer scat and he comes across a body,” Klein said.
Klein said he is not saying Pyne Gregory, the Hemphill County Sheriff’s Deputy who found Thomas’ body, is a suspect in Thomas’ death but did say “we have extreme concerns why this man could find a body out there.”
Klein said the Texas Rangers and the Office of the Attorney General had the photos he published on the Klein Investigation and Consulting Facebook page. The Office of the Attorney General was unable to determine if Thomas’ death was a suicide, homicide or because of natural causes. Klein said other law enforcement agencies may question his conclusion that Thomas’ death was a homicide because of what was found on Thomas’ cell phone.
“There was a suggestion on Tom’s cell phone he had looked up, in privacy mode or secure mode that night, searches about the suicide hotline,” Klein said. “We called Apple and got a hold of some technicians that actually build these crazy phones and they actually said we’re not so sure you can get that information; We believe the Office of the Attorney General may have seen something regarding that.”
Klein said other facts also point Thomas being murdered.
“Of course, the number one anomaly of the case is that Tom’s body was found, as the crow flies, 14 miles away from where his car was found,” Klein said. “If you are going to have a suicide or suggest suicide or something to that effect, how did Tom kill himself and drive himself over and put himself under a tree? It makes no sense.”
Klein said he understands releasing the photos will cause more debate about Thomas’ death.
“We know this is going to create controversy,” Klein said. “We know this will create more questions than answers, but as we said before, if the community hangs in there with us, lets us do our job, we’ll get to the bottom of this.”
Meek said she wants to make sure what happened to Thomas does not happen to anyone else.
“Bad things happen in all communities,” Meek said. “It doesn’t just happen in our larger communities. It happens everywhere and it happened here.”
If you have any information in this case, called Klein Investigations or the Office of the Attorney General.