Remains believed to be Dylan Rounds found two years later

Posted at 8:05 AM, April 10, 2024

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — Authorities in Utah say they believe they’ve found the remains of Dylan Rounds, a young man who went missing nearly two years ago.

Rounds was 19 years old when he went missing in 2022. He was last seen over Memorial Day weekend in Montello, Nevada — 30 miles west of his home in the small town of Lucin, Utah. His family said he moved there from Idaho to start his own farm.

Dylan Rounds missing person photo

This undated photo provided by The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) shows Dylan Rounds. (NamUs)

The Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that they recovered “skeletal remains” in a remote area in or near Lucin. The remains are presumed to belong to Rounds, the sheriff’s office said. They have been turned over to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office to confirm the identity.

James A. Brenner, age 60, was charged last year with murdering Rounds, along with the abuse or desecration of a body. Brenner had been reportedly “squatting” on a remote property near Rounds’ property before the alleged murder.

RELATED | Suspect charged with murder 9 months after Utah 19-year-old’s disappearance

Investigators said early on in the search for Rounds that they had found a pair of his boots about five miles west of where he lived. Charging documents filed last year added some insight, saying Rounds’ blood was found on the boots, along with Brenner’s DNA.

Investigators also obtained Rounds’ mobile phone records, which showed him in the area where Brenner was “squatting.” The last signal from Rounds’ phone was at a pond nearby, and his phone was eventually found in the pond.

On Rounds’ recovered phone, investigators found a time-lapse video showing Brenner cleaning a gun with blood stains on his arms and his shirt. The video was taken around the time of his disappearance, the charging documents said.

Police obtained the shirt Brenner was wearing in the video, and they confirmed that Rounds’ DNA was on it.

Investigators said in 2023 that they interviewed Brenner, and he “made several claims that corroborated forensic evidence in addition to making numerous demonstrably false statements.”

East Idaho News reported Tuesday that, according to Rounds’ family, Brenner led authorities to where he was buried as part of a plea agreement. Officials have not yet confirmed this publicly.

The sheriff’s office wrote:

“Our hearts go out to the family of Dylan Rounds. We offer our sincerest condolences for the loss of their family member. We understand that the pain of their loss is immeasurable, and we want to express our deepest sympathies to them. It is our hope that they can find peace moving forward.

“We would like to express our gratitude to our deputies, detectives, volunteers, and other Box Elder County employees who have worked tirelessly investigating and assisting in the many search efforts during the past 23 months. We highly appreciate their diligent efforts, unwavering dedication, and commitment, and we extend our genuine thanks to them for their hard work.

We are grateful to everyone who assisted and supported the investigation and search efforts on this exceptionally challenging case. The dedication and collaboration of those involved have been absolutely remarkable, and the invaluable aid provided to the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office has been instrumental in the success of this investigation.”

This story was originally published by Scripps News Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.