MISSING IN KANSAS: Eugene Branton, Jr.

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It's been nearly 35 years since investigators first learned about the disappearance of a man in central Kansas. It's believed that he was killed.

Eugene “Bud” Branton, Jr., was last seen on Aug. 6, 1984, in Hutchinson. He was at his home that night, and was reported missing by his supervisor at the Far-Mar-Co elevator, when he did not show up for work the next day.

In June 1985, a jury convicted Leslie Walker off multiple crimes, including murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy into the disappearance of Branton. According to a court record, Walker worked with Branton, and knew he carried a lot of money on him. Walker planned to rob and murder Branton, a man told the Reno County attorney at the time. The man admitted that he and Walker shot Branton, but his body was never found, as documented in a June 1985 Hutchinson News report.

There have been searches for Branton’s remains years later, like in November 2002. Walker provided a location in El Dorado, but investigators found animal bones.

Walker is serving two life sentences.


Missing from: Hutchinson, Kan.

Missing since: Aug. 6, 1984

Age then: 36

Age now, if alive: 71

Height: 6’0’’

Weight: 220 pounds

Hair: Brown (receding hairline)

Eyes: Brown

Nickname: Bud

If you have information that could help the case, contact the Reno County Sheriff's Office at (620) 694-2735. KAKE News will feature the story of a missing person every weekday in our newscasts at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you have a person you’d like for us to share a story about, please contact Anchor Annette Lawless at alawless@kake.com.

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