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Missing Man: Brian Sullivan - NY - 07/08/2007

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Brian Sullivan's family to mark 5th anniversary of his disappearance Sunday

8:03 AM, Jul 6, 2012

Written by Staff Reports

The family of Brian Sullivan, who went missing July 8, 2007, is planning to release butterflies on Sunday to mark the fifth anniversary of his disappearance.

“We as a family are not complete without Brian and need to have answers,” said the Sullivan family in a press release.

Brian Sullivan was 19 when he was last seen at 5:38 a.m. July 8, 2007, at the Burger King restaurant on Chili Avenue in Gates. He was wearing blue jean shorts, a blue pinstriped button-down shirt and a green baseball cap.

His 1995 red Pontiac Sunfire was found nearby, at the end of Lettington Avenue, off Hinchey Road.

A receipt from the restaurant was found in his car, along with his bank card, and there were no bank transactions or calls made on his cellphone, his mother said shortly after the disappearance.

There have been several searches conducted to find Sullivan. Searchers have combed more than 100 acres of the woods near where Sullivan was last seen.

His family has worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the CUE Center for Missing Persons in hopes of finding him. The case is still active and under the jurisdiction of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

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Police still working on Brian Sullivan case

Chili man has been missing five years

6:45 PM, Jul 8, 2012

Written by Bennett J. Loudon

Staff writer

Brian Sullivan was last seen five years ago Sunday, but police investigating his disappearance have not let up.

“We don’t consider this a cold case. We’re constantly getting leads in. We’re constantly investigating these leads,” said Monroe County Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Scott Walsh.

“The leads that we get are sighting leads that we have to run down, that take time, that we can’t completely discount, or we can’t completely prove as true. The reason that we haven’t gotten any closure is because, as these leads come in, we don’t have a definitive answer we can use to close the case,” he said.

Walsh attended an event Sunday at Sullivan’s parents’ home at 1372 Paul Road, Chili, to mark the fifth anniversary of his disappearance. There were about 100 people there, including friends, relatives and the families of five or six other missing people.

“Every year we try to mark this day by doing something special to bring awareness. Today we’ve invited several family members with missing loved ones. We want their stories to be out there too. People are missing and it’s going on too long,” said Barbara Sullivan, Brian’s mother.

Brian Sullivan was 19 when he was last seen at 5:38 a.m. July 8, 2007, at the Burger King restaurant on Chili Avenue in Gates.

His 1995 red Pontiac Sunfire was found nearby, at the end of Lettington Avenue, off Hinchey Road. A receipt from the restaurant was found in his car, along with his bank card, and there were no bank transactions or calls made on his cellphone, his mother said shortly after the disappearance.

The group gathered Sunday released helium-filled balloons and about three dozen butterflies to symbolize peace and hope. Afterward, they enjoyed a picnic and went swimming in the Sullivan’s pool.

While years have passed since their loved ones went missing, Barbara Sullivan and the other parents have remained positive.

“I hope that every one of us finds our kids alive. Hopefully they’re doing well and they’re healthy and they’re not being abused or hurt,” said Ray Bradley, 46, of Rochester.

His son, Jonathan, has been missing since May 3, 2005. He would be 28 today.

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Family Holds Poker Run For Brian Sullivan

By: YNN Staff

09/15/2012 07:09 PM

The family of Brian Sullivan, the Chili teenager who had gone missing back in 2007, held a poker run to raise awareness of his disappearance, and the dissaperance of others.

The goal of Saturday's event was to raise enough funds to send a local police officer to a 3-day missing persons conference in Wisconson where they will gain additional knowledge on how to handle missing persons cases.

"There are several education programs out there, unfortunately it boils down to a lack of funding. So we wanted to break that barrier and send them to the training they deserve to be able to assist us all," says Katie Towner, Brian Sullivan's Cousin.

Other families who have missing relatives were also at the event, which was held at the Gates Pub.

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Sullivan Family Remains Hopeful on Brian's 25th Birthday

By: Ashley Zilka

Updated: December 5, 2012

"It's terrible. Everyday not knowing. Hoping everyday though that today we are one day closer to finding Brian," said Barbara Sullivan, Brian's mother.

Every year, December 5 gets harder and harder for the Sullivan family. Brian Sullivan disappeared five years ago. Today is his 25th birthday.

"We can't celebrate his 25th birthday with him because he's not here," said Brittney Murphy, Brian's sister.

"When I look at some people maybe they find their loved one right away, but then there's others that go on years and years of not knowing, and I'm just hoping that's not our case," said Barbara Sullivan.

Even though its been five years, the Sullivan family remains hopeful. On Brian's birthday, family and friends come together to decorate Brian's tree.

"It's all of Brian's ornaments and every year since he's been little everybody gave him an ornament, and we continue to buy ornaments to put on this tree that we got just for him," said Barbara Sullivan.

Every year, there's more and more Christmas gifts waiting for Brian. In fact, the family had to buy a bigger stocking.

"Santa brings gifts and actually his stocking is down there. It's still full because Santa just adds to it, so we are hoping that one day Brian will get to open his gifts," said Barbara Sullivan.

As another year comes to an end, there's only one thing that the Sullivan family wants for Christmas.

"It's hard because you see all these families all together hoping and wishing that they get the big toy for Christmas or a new car and all we are hoping for is that we get Brian back for Christmas. That's all we have ever been hoping for," said Brittney Murphy.

Brian's case remains active. The family talks to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office every two weeks.

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Families, friends remember missing loved ones at annual vigil

By Wayne Faulkner

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.

Last Modified: Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.

Katie Towner's cousin, Brian Sullivan, disappeared July 8, 2007, from Gates, N.Y.

“He's been gone over five years,†Towner said Saturday night as she sat in the chilly twilight along the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington.

“They have some leads they are working on, but we're not close to bringing him home. We're without answers,†said Towner, of Rochester, N.Y.

She wasn't alone Saturday night, as 200 to 250 people gathered for the CUE Center for Missing Persons' 18th annual national candlelight vigil.

The center helps to find the missing and works with law enforcement and other organizations across the country. It is now working on 1,600 cases.

The center also has coordinators in 18 states and hopes to have a representative in every state within three years, said founder Monica Caison .

The public vigil was held as part of the center's ninth annual missing persons conference, which ends Sunday.

Members of the crowd, bundled against the cold, spoke softly Saturday night, waiting for the ceremony to begin.

It was Dylan LaMadrid's first visit to the CUE conference and now she's the center's state coordinator for California. “I volunteer for CUE Center and for other search and rescue organizations,†she said.

She's seeking former partner Kathy LaMadrid, who disappeared Dec. 17, 2004, from Fort Bragg, Calif.

“It's a big deal for me to be here tonight,†LaMadrid said. “Kathy is a new CUE case.

“It took me many years to find this non-profit. They are actually going to come out to do a search for her using cadaver dogs.â€

Dylan still hopes to find Kathy. “It's coming soon,†she said. “It's not going to be a good outcome, but we'll get closure for her family.â€

The vigil brought together not only those who have family members and friends who were or still are missing, but a whole fraternity of law enforcement officials, first responders, and search and rescue groups who gathered to support the center.

Some of those received “Keeper of the Flame†awards.

Twenty-one members of the Wilmington Fire Department were honored for their work last April in recovering Marine Lance Cpl. John J. Pruitt, who fell into the Cape Fear River and drowned.

The Floyd County, Ga., Sheriff's Posse also was recognized.

The group got involved in search and rescue about eight years ago, starting with “three or four guys on horses,†Sheriff Tim Burkhalter said.

That's now grown to about 100 people with the added power of motorcycles, boats and helicopters to help in their work.

“We look for missing people. We respond to airplane crashes,†Burkhalter said. “Just last week we had tornadoes in the area. We activated the posse to help in search and rescue and bring water and food.â€

The vigil meant many things to many people, but it meant support to Towner.

“It's for myself,†Towner said, “but it's nice to be here with other people who are going through the same thing. I hope to bring my cousin home,†she said, “but also to help other people at the same time.â€

It meant strength to Patricia Baker.

Her son, Travis Lee Baker, disappeared in Catawba County, N.C., in 2007 and his body was recovered in 2009.

“We come back every year to support everyone else,†Baker said. “It's our fifth year.

It just makes you stronger,†she said, choking back tears, “to know that they know what we went through and how we feel.â€

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New Images Give Brian Sullivan's Family Hope

By: Ashley Zilka

Updated: May 31, 2013

Posted Image


Brian Sullivan's family never thought they would be where they are today.   


Brian went missing nearly six years ago. His mom, Barbara, is still looking for answers.

"We will never stop looking and never stop hoping," said Barbara Sullivan.

Barbara has new hope as the sixth anniversary of his disappearance approaches.

Two new images of what Brian may look like today.

"When I opened it up and looked at it, I just couldn't believe, it was surreal looking at it, it was really like oh my goodness, this is him," said Barbara Sullivan.

Diana Trepkov, a forensic artist from Canada, created the images. Trepkov is part of the Cue Center for Missing Persons. She's never met the Sullivan family, but did  the costly project for free.

"We were very grateful to have this opportunity to get Brian's picture of what he would look like now, what he does look like now, we are just really excited," said Barbara.

Brian was last seen at Burger King on Chili Avenue on the morning of July 8, 2007. He was just 19-years-old when he disappeared.

"Brian is somewhere and somebody knows where Brian is and we want to bring Brian home," said Barbara.

Barbara is planning a candlelight vigil this July to mark the sixth anniversary of Brian's disappearance, but she remains hopeful these new images will bring her son home.

Until then, Brian's family promises to never give up.

"There is a lot of people out there searching for many, many years and we are never going to give up and if I die, my grandchildren will be looking because they already are," said Barbara.

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From the Family:


Brian Sullivan's Ride "A Mission For The Missing"

2nd Annual Poker Run and Picnic

Saturday, September 21, 2013
Quaker Steak & Lube
2205 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624
Registration 9:30 a.m.
$25 per rider, $15 per passenger
includes Ride/Picnic. Picnic only $15 - starts at 4:30 p.m.
Kick Stands Up at 11:00 a.m. rain or shine

Special tribute stop for Brian Sullivan on Lettington Avenue
Sponsor stops at Rush Creekside Inn & Dakota Grill

Performing at the picnic:
Catch 22
Cash Arrow

Cash Prize– High/low hand Raffles– 50/50, Grand Raffle– including 32” flat screen TV & more
Proceeds to be used to send Law Enforcement to Missing Person Conference in Wisconsin. (Fox Valley Criminal Justice Center's annual conference)

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Help Find Brian Sullivan, Hannah Andrzejewski And Other Missing People
Posted: 10/25/2013 3:13 pm EDT  |  Updated: 10/25/2013 3:14 pm EDT
David Lohr


Brian W. Sullivan, of Churchville, N.Y., has been missing since July 2007. According to Sullivan's mother, Barbara Sullivan, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office contacted her on July 8, 2007, and told her that her son's car, a 1995 red Pontiac Sunfire, had been found abandoned at the end of a dead-end street in Gates, N.Y. His wallet and other personal effects were found on the front seat. A receipt found inside the vehicle indicated someone had purchased food from a Burger King Restaurant in Gates on July 8, 2007, at 5:38 a.m. No other clues have been found in the case. At the time of his disappearance, Brian Sullivan was 19 years old, 170 pounds and 5 feet 11 inches tall. He had black hair, a full beard and blue eyes. He went by the nickname "Sully."

For more information, visit

If you have information regarding Brian Sullivan's disappearance, please contact the Monroe County Sheriff's Office at (585) 753-4177.

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Brian Sullivan's parents pay for investigators to attend conference

ROC 9:11 p.m. EDT July 8, 2014

Daniel and Barbara Sullivan, the parents of missing person Brian Sullivan, will foot the bill to send two investigators — one from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and one from the Rochester Police Department — to a national conference this fall on Responding to Missing and Unidentified Persons.

"After hearing positive feedback from the receiver of last year's scholarship, we thought it'd be great to send two this year," said Barbara Sullivan, 52, of Churchville, who attended the conference herself two years ago.

Sullivan presented a $3,200 check to Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn and Rochester Deputy Police Chief Fred Bell at a press conference Tuesday — the seventh anniversary of her son's disappearance.

More than 25 family members, friends and relatives of other local missing children — such as the late Matthew Straton and Dominique Holley-Grisham — attended the news conference and surrounded Barbara Sullivan for support.

"If we didn't have the support we have from community, family and friends I think id probably just be in bed today with the covers pulled over my head," said Barbara Sullivan.

The Sullivan family raised a portion of the money through garage sales, bottles and cans drives and a motorcycle run.

Sheriff's Investigator Greg Wildman and Rochester Police Investigator Renee Nicholls will attend the conference this September in Atlanta, Georgia.

"It's really nice to be able to meet with the family and thank them personally for allowing us this opportunity," said Nicholls.

Wildman said he was looking forward to hearing about new technologies and techniques used in missing persons investigations.

"Hopefully we can learn how to improve our investigations – there is always room for improvement – off of what other departments have done," he said.

Brian Sullivan was last seen in the early morning of July 8, 2007 at the Burger King restaurant on Chili Avenue near Route 390.

His vehicle, a 1995 red Pontiac Sunfire, license plate DXU3048, was found nearby at the end of Lettington Avenue. He was last seen wearing blue jean shorts, a blue pin striped button down shirt and a green baseball cap.

"There are probably a dozen people who know what happened to Brian," said Barbara Sullivan. "It is our goal and commitment to bring him home."

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Chili man missing seven years

Updated: 07/08/2014 7:40 PM
Created: 07/07/2014 5:00 AM
By: Rebecca Fath

July 8, 2014 marks seven years since a Chili man disappeared. Brian Sullivan was 19 when he was last seen at a Burger King in Gates. With no word on what happened to Sullivan, his family is still searching for answers.

Dozens of family members and supporters came together to get the word out that they are still looking for answers about what happened to Brian Sullivan.

Barbara Sullivan, Brian’s mother, said, “I just miss cooking for him. I miss everything.”

Brittney Sullivan, Brian’s sister, said, “I miss him, like just everything. I mean, obviously, we fought because we are brother and sister, but at the end of the day, we had each other's backs and we loved each other and we just want to know what happened to Brian.”

Friends and family came together on the seventh year anniversary of Brian Sullivan’s disappearance.

Barbara Sullivan said, “If you don't have hope, then you're lost. Sometimes I feel like I lose hope, but I just plug through another day.”

The last time someone saw Sullivan was at the Burger King on Chili Avenue in 2007. His car was found nearby, but Sullivan’s disappearance remains a mystery.

Sullivan’s family presented local law enforcement with a check to pay for two investigators to attend a national conference on responding to missing and unidentified persons.

Barbara Sullivan said, “We wanted to send a representative from Monroe County, but we also thought let's send one from the Rochester Police Department. We thought between the two of them, they would have the tools under their belt.”

Patrick O'Flynn, Monroe Co. Sheriff, said, “They actually come together and deal with a lot of the other agencies that have missing person cases and then share information about the latest techniques, tactics and coordination of information.”

The family says, as the years go by, living without Brian doesn’t get any easier.

Barbara Sullivan said, “We know something happened to him and we just need to bring him home.”

Anyone with information on Brian's whereabouts is asked to call 911.

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Remains not Brian Sullivan


Updated: Thursday, April 30 2015, 07:13 PM EDT


Monroe County - While the community waits to learn the identity of the remains found in Irondequoit a week and a half ago, one family has been assured they are not those of their missing child, Brian Sullivan.


Sullivan's mother Barbara said a Monroe County Sheriff's investigator went to the Medical Examiner's Office to check on the remains, and told the family it is not Sullivan.


Sullivan first went missing eight years ago. He was 19, and graduated from Churchville Chili High School.


His red car was found abandoned on Lettington Ave early the morning of July 8, 2007.


Barbara told 13WHAM she immediately called her son's investigator after hearing remains were discovered.


Irondequoit police say a woman found a skull while on a morning hike on April 19, which prompted investigators to dig for more remains on two occasions.


"It's not that you feel happy, but you feel grateful that somebody is going to get their answers," said Sullivan's mother Barbara. "It never goes away, but you need to be able to heal and we haven't as a family been able to heal. We're always going to miss Brian, but we need to heal so we can move forward."


So far, Irondequoit police have said the remains have been at the site between two and 14 years and possibly belonged to an adult male.


A positive identification has yet to be made, but the Sullivan Family told 13WHAM they are quite certain the remains do not belong to Brian Sullivan.

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Search continues near site man went missing


Updated: Thursday, May 14 2015, 01:47 PM EDT


Gates, N.Y. - Investigators have been conducting new searching in the case of a man who went missing nearly eight years ago. Brian Sullivan was last seen on July 8, 2007, at a Burger King on Chili Avenue in the Town of Gates.


The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday investigators have been conducting follow-up searches over the last several days in an area around Chili Avenue and Cairn Street. This area is close to where Sullivan's car was found on Lettington Avenue.


As the landscape and environmental conditions change, investigators have revisited the sites in an effort to develop new information. Members of the Massasauga Search and Rescue Team continue to assist the Sheriff's Office, as they have from the beginning of this investigation.


Brian was last seen wearing blue jean shorts, a blue pin-stripe button down shirt and a green baseball cap.


The Sheriff's Office continues to work with the Sullivan family and encourages anyone with information regarding Brian Sullivan's disappearance to call 911.

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9 Years Later, Development in Rochester Man Brian Sullivan's Disappearance

by Rachael Trost
Jul 10 2016, 9:53 am ET

Brittney Schilling doesn't sugar coat it; she and her younger brother Brian Sullivan fought constantly as
"I think we probably drove my mother crazy," Brittany told Dateline. "But then at the same time, it's like we were a team. I remember one time he shaved his head and my mother was going to be furious. He hid in the closet and I would sneak him food."

Brittany hasn't had her teammate for nine years - since the day Brian mysteriously disappeared. The then 19-year-old, who had just finished his first year at a local community college near his home in Rochester, New York, was last seen at a Burger King in the early hours of July 8, 2007.

But now, almost a decade later, justice could be close. Monroe County Sheriff investigator Scott Peters, who took over Brian's case in 2010, tells Dateline a suspect has been named.

"We believe Brian met with foul play, yes," Peters told Dateline. "We are one key piece away from solving the case."

Peters is hoping the person who holds that one key piece will come forward. "We have a general idea of what happened, from this suspect's acquaintances and friends. Maybe someone out there will read this and bring us the information we need to make an arrest."

Everything seemed normal in the days prior to Brian's disappearance, family members say. Brian, who had a passion for music, had just bought hundreds

of dollars of musical equipment. His parents had planned a big family dinner of ribs, Brian's favorite, for Sunday the 8th. And his sister Brittney had recently announced she was expecting a baby.

"He was just so excited to be an uncle," recalls Brittney. "He was thinking about if he wanted to get a job or wanted to go back for another year of college. There wasn't anything wrong that we knew of."

Brian spent Saturday, July 7, with a close friend. He returned home late that evening, family members say. The morning of the eighth, a woman at a nearby Burger King remembers seeing Brian buy breakfast there. A receipt shows Brian was at the fast-food drive-through at 5:38 a.m.

The next day, his 1995 red Pontiac Sunfire was discovered abandoned not too far away near a wooded area. Inside was his debit card and cell phone charger.

Despite a positive attitude over the years, the family's process of living with a missing loved one hasn't been an easy one. "It took a really long time for my parents to leave the house," Brittney told Dateline. "They were worried they'd miss a phone call, or a knock from him or someone who knew what happened."
The Sullivan family has turned their heartache into motivation. In the years since Brian disappeared, they've held dozens of fundraisers to raise money for several projects to help those missing in Monroe County.

Brian's parents have been able to use some of the proceeds to send several investigators to various national conferences to learn the best practices in responding to missing and unidentified person cases. The feedback from officials about the trips has been outstanding.

And this year, the family is working to pay for a search and rescue dog to aid in cases like Brian's. The puppy, currently in training, attended the family's event this past Friday.

"There are so many missing person cases in our area, it's staggering. Every missing person needs to be found, and us helping may keep other families from suffering the way we do," said Brittany.

If you have any information regarding Brian's case, please contact the Monroe County Sheriff's Office at (585) 753-4900 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at (585) 423-9300.

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Deputies confirm suspect dead in Sullivan homicide case, ask for help

By WHAM Friday, August 26th 2016

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Monroe County Sheriff's deputies confirmed Friday that the prime suspect in the disappearance and death of a Chili man has died.

"It's our belief as we stand here today, that Derrick Murray is responsible for the death of Brian Sullivan," said Monroe County Undersheriff Drew Forsythe.

Brian Sullivan went missing on July 8, 2007. He was last seen at a Burger King restaurant on Chili Avenue around 5 a.m. that day.

13WHAM News reported Thursday that sources say Derrick Murray, 49, was the prime suspect in what investigators have said is a homicide. However, Murray died earlier this month.

Sullivan's parents were both at the news conference. Barb Sullivan, Brian's mother, made an emotional appeal for her son's body to be found.

"We just need to bring Brian home, and that's all we're asking. There's a family that misses him and we just don't want to wonder anymore," said Sullivan.

Undersheriff Forsythe said Monroe County Sheriff's investigators believe Murray killed Brian Sullivan. He said Murray and Sullivan did know each other and had hung out on multiple occasions.

With Murray now dead, they are pleading with his friends and family to come forward so the Sullivan family can find Brian's remains. Forsythe said there are people that know where he is.

"Derrick Murray is dead. Brian Sullivan is still missing. This family, these two people and their daughter, need that final closure. Those people that we mentioned, they know where he's at," said Forsythe.

In the weeks leading up to Murray’s death, investigators from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department were making progress on the nearly decade-old case with hopes it would end in an arrest soon.

Investigators also revealed Thursday that Murray become a suspect early on in this investigation which began nine years ago. Barb Sullivan said she still has hope someone will come forward and she can bring Brian home.

"We're asking, begging for the community. Whoever knows, please, you're not going to get into trouble. He's not going to get into trouble. Just help us bring Brian home," said Sullivan.

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New clues, but still no closure for Brian Sullivan's family

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