On August 5th, I heard the news. I thought, like many probably did, that he would turn up soon. He is just partying with friends, right? That assumption was so wrong.
Days went by without a trace of Michael Bryson. Family and friends came out to help with the ground search at Camp Hobo and surrounding areas but to no avail. Michael’s parents were devastated, his family was devastated, and his true friends were devastated. As Tina put it “This is a parent’s worst nightmare!”. Four months into this nightmare, there is still no trace of their beloved son, Michael.
On August 19th, family and friends held a Circle of Hope at the gazebo in Harrisburg, a place well known by locals as a place to gather to celebrate all kinds of things. While this was not a celebration, it was a significant event for all who knew and loved Michael and his family. The tears, the pain and the devastation were written all over the faces of those who came, especially those closest to Michael. But there was something else present that day. There was love, there was togetherness and there was hope. The community came together that day and turned the search for Michael Bryson into a worldwide story of hope, love and understanding. When we walked away from that night, there were tears but there was hope that something good was going to happen and Michael would be found. This event proved to be the launching point for what we now call “Michael’s Army” and ultimately this website.
SAR’s and Law Enforcement have done what they could. Thousands helped with the search, thousands are praying, and thousands have reached out but the pain and emptiness persist. So, what do we do now? How do we move forward? What information do we listen to? What information is true? Which person is really a witness? Which person is really a friend? Which lead is the right direction? Which person can help the most? Do we need the Sheriff, the detectives, the PIs or the help from a stranger? The questions are endless.
In the search for answers, what we have found is a world of drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems. Does this change your commitment to this story? Does it matter that drugs were involved? Does learning that change your opinion of our need to find out what happened to Michael? One thing is clear, something happened to Michael that night. He did not just vanish into thin air. Michael doesn’t deserve this and his family doesn’t deserve to go through the agony of not knowing what happened to him.
As we move forward in our search for Michael, I can tell you this. Michael’s Army is relentless. His Army will not stop until the truth is found. We will ignore the speculations and theories being spread by those who do not have the family’s best interest at heart. We hope that you will join us in this mission. We are all in this together. We will stand with each other while we find the answers. The truth will come out and we will bring Michael home!
Six weeks have passed since Parrish and Tina Bryson’s son went missing from a campground in Oregon and they fear something terrible has happened to him“He did not just disappear into thin air,” Michael’s father told Dateline. “We need to bring Michael home. Whatever the outcome is, a grieving family needs closure and people will rally around them to help get that closure.”Michael Bryson, 27, of Eugene, Oregon, was last seen by his parents on Monday, August 3, 2020. They told Dateline that Michael stopped by their house in Harrisburg, Oregon. He told them he was riding up with a friend to a week-long birthday party/camping trip at Hobo Camp Campground near Dorena, Oregon.“We know he was up there Monday and Tuesday and that the DJ at this party, that was actually a rave, invited him up on stage to do a set,” Parrish Bryson told Dateline. “But by the next morning, he was gone.”According to Detective Richard Smith with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, it was 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday when Michael reportedly wandered away from a group of friends at the campground in an unknown direction. He added that Michael had left his camping gear behind, his phone was powered off and he hasn’t accessed his bank account since.Michael’s parents told Dateline they weren’t alerted to their son’s disappearance until 5 p.m. that day. They immediately drove to the area where Lane County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue had already deployed search teams to search by land and by water.For days, hundreds of volunteers showed up to scour miles of heavily-wooded wilderness in the area. They searched on foot, on horseback and with drones. But there was no trace of Michael.Parrish Bryson told Dateline they never got a straight answer from the partygoers about Michael and added that he believes they know more than they are letting on.“The stories given by some of the people at the party are inconsistent,” Parrish said. “And most of those people left the day Michael went missing, and continued to hold raves and parties.”He added that while many people left the campgrounds, there were a few friends and several strangers who dedicated their time and energy to the search.“We stayed at the campgrounds for 19 days looking for our son,” Parrish said. “And we’re truly grateful for those who stayed and helped.”On the second day of Michael’s disappearance, a few of his friends from home his parents to offer $5,000 toward the reward. When Michael’s father mentioned this to a family friend, the friend responded, “If kids can do it, I can do it.”“That’s how we have a $10,000 reward to offer for information,” Parrish said. “And that explains the heart of Michael.”Michael’s parents both describe their son the same way.“He has a big heart - and it’s always for other people,” Parrish said. He told Dateline that Michael had previously traveled twice to Africa on mission trips and came back with an urge to move there and continue to help others. To remember his time there, he got a tattoo of shaking hands with the words, “Stay strong, my brother.”Parrish said his son had just been getting his life back together after hitting a rough spot with drugs. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Michael had been working at a local bar and grill. He told his parents he was interested in studying to become an electrician.But for years, his passion was music. He was often invited to DJ sets at parties and raves across the state -- including where he was last seen at the Hobo Camp Campground.“That’s the hard part… we were really seeing a passionate change. And now… this,” Parrish said. “And he would never just leave. Even in his toughest times, he would always contact us. The idea that he would just disappear is unheard of.”Michael’s parents told Dateline that they want to believe their son is still alive, but after six weeks of searching and no answers, they fear the worst.“We’ve done everything we could possibly do and now we’re just spinning our wheels,” Parrish said. “We feel like we’re beating our head against the wall. Our hope now is that someone will come forward with information.”Michael’s family and friends turned to social media to help spread the word of his disappearance with the hashtags #BringMichaelBrysonHome #LetsFindMichaelBryson and #WeAreComingForYouMichael.A Facebook group called “Lets Find Michael Bryson” already has more than 12,000 members who include family, friends, the community and people from around the world.Detective Smith told Dateline that Michael’s disappearance is still an ongoing, active investigation and that they are doing everything they can to bring him home. They urge anyone with information to call the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.“We hope that someone will have the courage to come forward,” Parrish said. “It’s time to bring Michael home.”Michael is described as being 6'0" tall and weighing approximately 180 pounds with short brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, tan shorts, and white Crocs with rainbows on them. Michael might also be wearing a brown, corduroy baseball cap. He has several tattoos on both legs, ribs, and his arms.Anyone who may have information about Michael’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Lane County Sheriff's Office at 541-682-4150 then press 1 and reference case #20-5286. The $10,000 reward gathered by his family is being offered for information that leads to Michael.
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