Skeletal remains discovered in Washington state over the weekend are those of a Seattle punk musician who vanished 12 years ago, authorities said.
Human body parts found by a cleaning crew behind Evergreen Bible Chapel on Saturday were positively identified as those of Brian Roy Barton, 25, who was last seen alive in March 2005, police in the city of Federal Way said.
The last moments of Barton’s life likely will never be known, but authorities said they do not suspect foul play. The cause of death hasn’t been determined. The church is within a mile of where Barton had been living.
Barton performed in the band As Fate Would Have It. The group was popular in Seattle – the seaport city credited by the music industry as the home of grunge music. As Fate Would Have It outperformed numerous groups in a battle of the bands contest that year, and creators of the well-known Taste of Chaos Tour chose them to join the tour.
For reasons that remain unclear, Barton had a sudden change of heart before the tour and quit the band.
“It just happened so fast,” Barton’s best friend, John Krebs, said in a 2014 interview with HuffPost. “It was very strange. He loved the music he was playing and all of a sudden, it was, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ and he was done.”
On March 10, 2005 ― the last day Barton was seen ― he went to work for a plastic molding manufacturer, cashed his paycheck, and met a counselor he had been seeing to discuss his childhood adoption for a 4 p.m. appointment.
Maureen Barton said she and her husband adopted Brian Barton when he was 2, and he was being counseled about his feelings.
The counselor “said he was a little upset when he got there, but when he left, he was fine and told her, ‘I know what I have to do,’” Maureen Barton told HuffPost in 2014.
That’s the last known sighting of him.
Barton’s disappearance pitted friends and bandmates against each other. Some suspected he met foul play ― possibly at the hands of someone he knew ― and others believed he’d orchestrated his own vanishing act.
Among those who spoke with HuffPost in 2014 was Dylan “Tank” Loorem, a founding member of the band. Loorem said a lot of fingers were pointed at him after Barton’s disappearance, something he described as “torturous.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Loorem said. “I was in 40 bands before that band, and 50 since then. I’m not [TV series serial killer character] Dexter.”
An undiagnosed heart condition claimed Loorem’s life in 2015.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help Barton’s family with funeral expenses. As of Thursday, more than $3,000 has been raised. A description reads, in part:
“For years, Brian’s family and friends have been searching, going so far as to set up a social media campaign called Vanished Inc in order to help other families share their missing loved one’s stories. If you are unable to give, we encourage you to share this campaign and follow Vanished Inc on Facebook to help bring other missing people home to their brokenhearted families.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.