Recovered cell phone could be major break in case of missing Ran - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Recovered cell phone could be major break in case of missing Rankin County man

Joseph Skylar Burnley (Source: Rankin Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Joseph Skylar Burnley (Source: Rankin Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Travis Brewer Source: Rankin County sheriff's office Travis Brewer Source: Rankin County sheriff's office
Amanda Morris  Source: Rankin County sheriff's office Amanda Morris Source: Rankin County sheriff's office
RANKIN COUNTY, MS (WLBT) -

On Friday investigators recovered the missing cell phone of Travis Brewer and officials say this could be a major break in the case of missing Rankin County man, Skyler Burnley.

Brewer's cell phone was reportedly in his 1988 Chevrolet pickup when the truck was stolen from his home on June 3.

This is the truck that led to Brewer and Burnley being in a wooded area off of Bridges Road in Rankin County. Officials now say it appeared that the phone was thrown from the truck and it was found in a grassy area near Brewer's home. 

A search warrant for the data on the phone is expected to be secure later on Friday.

Authorities hope the phone can be repaired and lead to more clues regarding this case.

 Rankin County Undersheriff Raymond Duke says there was evidence of drug use in Brewer's Pearl home, where Burnley stayed overnight June2.

"We are not going to rule anything out  at this time...We do know that the individuals involved, including our victim, were possibly involved in the drug trade," said Duke Friday.

We have learned a third person is under arrest.  Investigators say Matthew McCoy is charged with vehicle theft.

Twenty-seven-year-old Burnley was reported missing on June 4, after trying to help a couple of friends find their stolen truck.

These two friends, Brewer and Amanda Morris, are believed to be the last people who saw him and they were arrested on drug charges.

The Sheriff's Department has called in the GTR K9 Search Team in Columbus to send cadaver K9 dogs to search the wooded area where Burnley went missing.

The couple searched for a while on June 3, for Burnley, after they went in different directions in search of the stolen vehicle. But eventually the couple went back home without Burnley. Brewer claims he and Burnley tracked the phone to a wooded area outside of Brandon.

They never could find him they said, but they didn't call 911 until about 15 hours later, around 1 a.m. June 4.

Police say there were some inconsistencies in the couple's stories. 

"...And I have reason to believe now the cell phone may have never been in it. So the story about them searching for the phone may have been a problem," Duke added.

Officials with the Rankin County Sheriff's Department searched over 400 acres of the wooded area, where Burnley was last seen. During those first two days, they were confident he was no longer in the wooded area off of Rankin Road. 

"We believe he went into the woods on his own accord, but we don't know what happened after that," Duke added.

They encourage anyone with more information to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 601-825-1480 or tips@rankincounty.org

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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