City employee in jail

Date: 2011-03-12

Bryant charged with felonies related to two missing adopted sons

By Donna Fielder

A Denton Municipal Utilities employee is being held in an El Paso County, Colo., jail in lieu of $1 million bail, charged with several felonies related to the disappearance of two of his adopted sons at least eight years ago.

Edward Eugene Bryant, 58, along with his estranged wife, Linda Bryant, 54, of Lake Kiowa, is being held on charges of theft, conspiracy, attempting to influence a public official and offering a false instrument for recording.

The charges stem from the disappearance of Edward Dylan Bryant, who was 9 when he vanished in 2001, and Austin Bryant, who has not been seen since 2003 when he was 7.

The Bryants are accused of failure to report that they were no longer caring for the boys and continuing to collect state money for them.

The couple allegedly fraudulently collected about $175,000 by concocting stories about the boys’ whereabouts and lying in state documents.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Lari Sevene said Friday that the current owners of a house where the family lived from 1999 to 2005 have allowed deputies to search the house and property for signs of the boys or what happened to them.

“We are still trying to locate the children. That’s where our investigation is right now,” she said.

“We will file other charges depending on the outcome of that investigation.”

Denton police assisted El Paso County and Cooke County sheriff’s investigators on Feb. 8 when they went to the city electric utilities offices to talk to Edward Bryant.

According to court documents filed to obtain an arrest warrant, he gave them some conflicting information about when the boys disappeared. But his story mainly was that the two brothers ran away from home two years apart, and he acknowledged that neither he nor his wife ever reported them missing.

The Bryants were receiving more than $800 a month for each of the boys from the state of Colorado and continued to receive that money until last month. The boys were considered special-needs children, according to the court documents, and the couple had several other adopted or foster children.

Denton Capt. Lenn Carter said local officers had no investigation and simply assisted with the questioning and the arrest.

“This apparently all happened before they came to Texas,” Carter said. “We don’t believe the two boys ever were in Denton.”

Denton County judicial records show that Edward Bryant was arrested Feb. 28 and held without bail in the Denton County Jail. El Paso County officers took him into their custody March 3, and both of the Bryants are currently in jail in Colorado.

According to the court documents, the investigation started Jan. 24 when two men went to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. They said they and their sister were placed in foster care in 2003 with Tammy and Robert Falgout near Monument, Colo. The Falgouts also had four natural children.

Tammy Falgout is the natural daughter of Linda Bryant, according to the documents. Both she and her mother and stepfather received money for each child they cared for. At the time the brothers came to live with the Falgouts, there were six children living with the Bryants.

The brothers said they saw Austin Bryant being abused by the Bryants and that Austin told them of other abuse at the hands of his adoptive parents.

According to the affidavit, Austin was starved, a stun gun was used on him, he was locked in a trunk for days and was wrapped tightly in a blanket “like a burrito” and left on the floor for extended periods of time.

The Bryants allegedly beat him and refused him food so that he ate out of garbage cans to survive at times.

The boys were home-schooled part of the time and enrolled in a charter school part of the time, so investigators can’t tell by school records exactly when either boy vanished.

According to the affidavit, Edward Bryant said Edward Dylan ran away in 2001 and Austin ran away in 2003. Linda Bryant at first insisted that the boys were fine and living with her. Later, she said both boys ran away in 2003, the documents showed.

The two brothers who reported to authorities about the missing boys did not move to Texas with the Falgouts and the Bryants in 2006. They said they were discussing family matters over lunch one day in January and decided that they should tell authorities what they knew.

Cooke County officials took custody of the five children who were living with Linda Bryant in Lake Kiowa at the time of her arrest.


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