Affidavit reveals alleged abuse of one of two missing children

Date: 2011-03-11
Source: wfaa.com

by JASON WHITELY

DENTON - While two young boys disappeared nearly a decade ago, no one spoke up until now.

In the last few hours, News 8 has obtained the arrest affidavit for the adoptive parents of Austin Eugene Bryant and Edward Dylan Bryant. The documents paint a disturbing picture of alleged discipline that included the use of a Taser and being locked in a trunk.

Authorities believe Edward vanished in 2001 when he was nine. Austin vanished in 2003 when he was seven. They would now be 18 and 15.

Their adoptive parents, 54-year-old Linda Bryant and 58-year-old Edward Bryant, have been arrested. Mrs. Bryant was taken into custody at a lake-front house near Gainesville; her husband was arrested at a Denton house. They are both being held on $1 million bail each on charges, including theft and forgery.

Edward and Linda Bryant moved with their six foster children to Lake Kiowa near Gainesville in 2005, without either of the missing boys. The Bryants, who are now separated but still married, lived in Monument, Colorado near Colorado Springs between 1999 and 2005.

The affidavit says the couple made up stories to explain where the boys were, and that money may have been the true motivator. Records show the Bryants had as many as nine children, most of which were adopted. They received checks each month for the children.

El Paso County sheriff's investigators in Colorado have accused the Bryants of receiving almost $175,000 in government payments to support the boys, even though the biological
brothers were not living with the couple for most of the decade.

They have not been charged in the disappearances of Austin and Edward. It was not immediately clear whether they have attorneys.

The adoptive father admitted he and his wife "concocted stories" to cover up their missing boys. When Gainesville police contacted his wife, she said the boys were "doing fine and living with her." She later changed her story to say they "ran away as early as 2003," but she never made a report. The documents say she also admitted to "falsified documents" because she came "to rely on the money" Colorado offered families who adopt. She denied killing the boys.

In the affidavit obtained by News 8, two other adopted children who lived with the Bryants recalled the torture Austin allegedly endured.

The 14-page arrest affidavit from Colorado said the couple regularly abused Austin when he lived with them outside Colorado Springs. The accusations say Austin was handcuffed, Tased and often locked in a trunk. He was allegedly denied food, leading him to eat from the garbage because he was hungry.

One foster son told police he thinks the Bryants caused Austin's death.

What happened to Austin's brother, Edward, is less clear. It's not detailed in the affidavit.

Thursday afternoon, police searched the wooded area near the Bryants' old home near Colorado Springs.

"The point is to get the word out about these two kids," said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. "Someone may know something ... It may be old."

When asked if he thinks the boys are still alive, Maketa said: "You know, that's a very difficult question. What I can say is each day that passes, the faith of finding them alive diminishes."

The investigation started Jan. 22 when authorities were approached by two former foster children of Linda Bryant's biological daughter. They had been talking about the missing boys and noted contradictions in what they were told, Maketa said.

As revealing as the affidavit is, it never suggested a motive in Austin or Edward's disappearance.

Five children who were living with the mother are in the custody of Texas officials. Another adopted child is in the military, and one is incarcerated.

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