Bartons’ journey to find son fraught with obstacles – Part 2 of 2

Five years ago Adam Barton spent his week-long spring break from college helping search for his 25-year-old missing brother, Brian Barton, who had disappeared from his home in Federal Way, Wash., without his truck, wallet or cell phone.

Adam and his father, both of Bonsall, searched from Seattle to Tacoma in hopes of finding Barton or any leads relating to his disappearance.

Adam has since graduated college and works in the legal field, but Brian Barton has never been found.

“This whole ordeal is ever-present in my mind. It always weighs on me on a personal level,” Adam said.

In 2009 he established For Our Families Foundation, which provides grants to law enforcement agencies for training on missing persons and cold case investigations.

“We decided to set up the foundation because we needed to have something proactive come out of this,” he said.

Adam said there were obstacles his family experienced while searching for his brother and they were irritating.

He said the purpose of his organization is to provide police officers, or whoever is willing to go, scholarships to receive up-to-date training on handling missing persons cases at an annual conference hosted by Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis.

He said current training is important because it is something that evolves, such as updates on how DNA information can be used.

Regarding his brother’s disappearance, Adam said a lot of suspicious things happened that made him think foul play was involved.

In September 2008, America’s Most Wanted aired a brief story on Brian Barton, which reported that prior to his disappearance Barton’s Washington-based band had “recently received a recording contract from a Southern California company, but Brian, who was preparing to quit the band, was ‘holding out.’ Fellow band members, cops say, were trying to convince Brian to go to California with them.”

Then, according to the show, just days after he vanished, a 1976 pickup truck was discovered in a local junkyard by detectives.

They reported that the truck had belonged to one of the band members and was found completely destroyed, adding that the police were unable to find any new clues that aided the investigation into Barton’s disappearance.

Back in 2005, after Barton had been missing for just over two months, Brian’s mother, Maureen Barton, said a private investigator she hired was working on the case and that a detective from the police department had not yet been assigned.

As reported earlier, authorities said they did not yet have enough evidence at the time of Barton’s initial disappearance to assign a detective to the case.

But Maureen was diligent about staying in contact with the police department every couple of days, she said.

On approximately May 19 it was discovered that Barton’s roommate had Barton’s driver’s license and was using his cell phone, she said.

“I called the police chief and got a detective [assigned] that day,” she said.

Maureen said that she and her sister made another trip to Washington in search of answers, and that Barton’s belongings were still in the house that he had shared with at least two roommates.

She was still hoping that her son would return, she said, so she decided to leave his belongings there. However, she did take his cell phone and said her sister retrieved the text messages in hopes of finding a lead.

Then the police obtained a subpoena for Barton’s cell phone records, Maureen said. They also impounded Barton’s two trucks that had been left behind.

Barton’s money was also left at his place, and Maureen paid his bills for the first month after he went missing.

Today, she still has his wallet with everything in it just as it was left.

But there is still no trace of what happened to her son.

Maureen said she feels that something happened to him.

“We did all sorts of investigating into this and were unable to determine any foul play was involved” said Officer Raymond Bunk, public information officer for the Federal Way Police Department.

As Maureen searched for answers, she found the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) online, which she said helped provide information on additional steps to take.

She said it also led her to Project Jason, an organization that provides assistance to families of the missing.

Project Jason was founded by Kelly Jolkowski, the mother of a 19-year-old who disappeared without a trace from the family’s driveway in 2001.

Maureen said Jolkowski was a “Godsend” in the wealth of information that she shared, and that she wished she would have learned about helpful organizations sooner. Jolkowski said Project Jason assists families in understanding how to dialogue with law enforcement and obtain information.

The organization also provides information such as on the three identifiers that should be gathered immediately after a person has been reported missing: dental records, fingerprints and DNA. These identifiers should then be placed in a national database.

In September 2006, Maureen provided a sample of Barton’s hair from a brush, and at that time, the police handed the case over to King County for some assistance. The hair samples went to the state crime lab and Barton’s DNA was entered into the system, Bunk confirmed.

That was the last report written before three separate polygraphs were administered in the summer of 2007 by the King County Sheriff’s Department.

The summary report about the polygraph states that the test was comprised of two questions regarding Barton’s disappearance, and that all three people tested passed the test.

“We did lots of statements and brought out the polygraph, which is pretty substantial,” Bunk said. And, according to Bunk, that’s where law enforcement has left it.

“We have no arrests and zero leads. It’s a classic cold case, if you will,” Bunk said.

Commenting about the For Our Families Foundation, Bunk also said that anytime a law agency can find “extra dollars” or funding for training, it’s definitely appreciated.

Bunk said officers at Federal Way do receive training on missing persons, but that it varies from person-to-person, depending on what they are assigned to.

As for the ongoing anguish experienced by the Barton family, Maureen said, “You hope for the best, but on the other hand you have to learn to live with it, because you don’t know.”

“You have to adapt your life to this situation. You still have to work and pay bills.”

For more information on the For Our Families Foundation, visit

To comment on this story online, visit

47 Responses to "Bartons’ journey to find son fraught with obstacles – Part 2 of 2"

  1. frank   May 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    My heart felt best wishes to this family. I hope a miracle happens soon and they find their loved one.

  2. Denise Harrison   May 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I’m so sorry your family is experiencing this nightmare. God bless you, and I hope He brings to you all you need.

  3. resident   May 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    To the Barton family. He will be a part of my nightly prayers until he returns home to you.

  4. Julie   May 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Still in my prayers every night

  5. . . .   May 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    this is such a sad story. i knew adam barton in high school and i just hate to hear this. the barton family is in my prayers.

  6. resident   May 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I agree with the family. There are many disturbing facts in this case. What happened with the destroyed pickup truck? Why did the bandmate have his driver’s license and cell phone. Truthfully, that screams an awareness of Brian’s disappearance on the part of the bandmate. I certainly hope the polygraphs were issued to all his bandmates.

    You are right, someone knows something about this case and I pray they step forward with information to bring Brian home.

  7. Tonya Hileman   January 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I watched dissappeared on monday the 24th and since then even though it has been a day,I can’t get it out of my head. I feel so much sadness in my heart for this family. Myself being a mother is heart breaking so I couldn’t imagine even though he is 4. I hope that God brings him home to his family. Will be in my prayers nightly now.

  8. EIR from Indiana   January 29, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I too watched Disappeared recently and can’t stop thinking about Brian. Such talent and potential. I am an adoptive mother and don’t know how I could carry on if I was in your situation. I pray and wish that there can be some form of closure for you. Such a sad situation. Take things day to day, never give up hope.

  9. Stephanie   January 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Watching Disappeared and pray one day you find him. G-d bless~

  10. bsufaithful from Idaho   January 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    About the Case : i would pollygraph questions about the pickup truck – how and why it was destroyed and then junked. Why would you be out destroying your truck when your friend is missing… wouldn’t you be concerned for him. I found this story about 3 years ago I have never been able to forget it. Has a psychic ever been involved in this case.

    About Solving it : One of the friends or bandmates knows – how do you get them to speak other than hiring a mobster … depression and alcohol, someone at somepoint will slip up.

    God bless you. God bless Brian. Although I never met your son he has touched my life in ways that I hope manifest worth,gratitude, and inspiration.


  11. Mike Henderson   February 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    The bandmate having his cell phone is a red flag,he probably knows what happened to him and may be using it because he has a good notion that his friend is not coming back.Lie detectors aren’t foolproof . Brian pulling out of the band definitely had to of got the ire and disapproval of some of his fellow band members since a record deal was hedging on their incredible lead guitarist accompanying them.

  12. Molly   February 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Just saw Disappeared. My thoughts are with the family and close friends.

  13. Bob   February 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I just saw the disappeared airing and feel so bad for his family. But the show never mentioned the roomate taking the cell phone or the car. It such sounds suspicious meaning the bandmates and girlfriend’s behavior.

  14. Kate   February 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I feel horrible for the family. I hope they receive answers to what happened to their loved one. Brian seems to’ve had a bright future. It’s unfortunate he is missing without a trace.

    As for Mike Henderson’s comment. I agree. The cell phone and drivers license is def a red flag. I’ve been watching reality cop shows for years and can’t believe disappeared left the incident off the show. I’d like to know which band member did it too.

  15. Shelly   April 15, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I feel horrible for this family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. Just recently viewed this on Disappeared. I definitely believe one of the band mates and/or girlfriend were involved. If this is the case, it really makes you wonder how they can live with themselves on a daily basis. So sad 🙁

  16. Shawn   May 1, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I saw Brians picture on a friends facebook, and starting reading articles about his disappearance, because I spent some time in Oceanside, I went to Casita up the 4th grade. I cant say that I remember him, But that is irrelovant. I cant imagine what this family is going through, I can say that I have 4 children, and if it were one of them I dont think I could keep my composure. There are alot of things that jump at someone when they read those articles, even raising questions. Like Why did the police department take so long to treat his case as a missing person? I am not all that smart but I thought that the sooner they get clues and evidence the better. Second I find it ironic that there was a band members truck that was at a junk yard destroyed shortly after he was reported missing, and not much was done. It was also mentioned that someone was using his cell and other personal items, who does that? I think that if the police department doesnt act quickly, then what good are they? Just over paid security guards I guess. I hope that real police officers would of acted when they were first contacted by the Family, I dont know how someone can call with genuine concern for a loved one who is missing, you jot down some notes cause you have a badge, and then go back to what you were doing? I didnt personally care for that police officers response either, "he is an adult, and sometimes people just get up and leave", True I am not saying that doesnt happen, but, I think that his family knows him a little better than the local police do, I would think that if his family is saying he is not one to do that, then that it would change the way it would of been approached, kind of that whole case by case basis. I hope and Pray that he is found, My thoughts and prayers are with the Family.

  17. whitecherokee   May 30, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I want to know why they didn’t test the screen door!

  18. CL Smith   June 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I too just saw this story on Disappeared, and it broke my heart. So sad and unfortunate. I hope he’s alive somewhere, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. My thoughts and prayers are with Brian & his loving family 🙁

  19. bsufaithful   July 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Have been praying for you nightly for years! Lord have mercy

  20. i miss you   August 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Brian didn’t just leave. He loved and adored his family, and spoke of them often. He had friends who loved him unconditionally. This case needs to be pursued. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  21. Arif sayed   August 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I do hope and pray that he returns safe and sound.. just saw the documentary and am so saddened by it.. His family will be in my prayers..

  22. gerry   October 6, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Polygraphs obviously aren’t foolproof — there are several incidents of known murderers who have passed them. The door that was off its hinges, the room mate who utilized Brian’s cell phone instead of notifying police, the truck destroyed at the junkyard for no credible reason — this isn’t the scenario of a mentally disturbed man who just runs away and vanishes. Barton may have been stressed and acting oddly but that doesn’t exclude the strong evidence that something violent occurred in his home.

    I think at least one particular individual knows quite a bit about what happened to Brian Barton. Hopefully the family will get justice one day.

  23. jill   October 30, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Something does no add up and the police have had 6 years to solve this!! I think the police need another team to review this case and solve it for his family..Something does not add up with the screen door, truck, ect… have the police even tested the screen door for any dna or anything ? there is no way he left his family behind, his band and girlfriend maybe, but not his family..

  24. Rene   November 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Just watched the show. Very disturbing. How did he get into his house with the keys in his car? If I were to disappear I would need the cash in my wallet to help? Who was his last phone call to? What band member’s car was junked?

  25. neil   December 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I truely don’t think that he’s dead.he wanted to leave his life behind which is sometimes common.secondly I think he left that money behind for his girlfriend to pay bills with.thirdly no one knows no one.its like being with someone all your life and all of a sudden they murder that person.he was under a great amount of stress that he couldn’t bare so he started a different life mainly in a small town.he walked out the psychiatrist rooma nd says he knows what to do house is tore up also but stuff is going to be out of order.everything in a suspected murder case don’t mean that things can’t be torn up.and if he said that he has to go off and die well he deffinately would’ve been found.and with his cell phone being in someones possesion doesn’t mean they had something to do with his dissapearance.they are not that stupid to keep evidence like that under no circumstances.and his truck being destroyed doesn’t mean anything neither just tampering maybe for other reasons.I feel strongly that he’s alive,and his motive is to his family that’s not really his family,what do he care about people who adopted him.he didn’t care about the ban.he didn’t won’t the relationship so he was totally discusted with his whole surroundings.

  26. neil   December 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I strongly think he’s alive sith strong proof of evidence.

  27. neil   December 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I think strongly that hes alive.

  28. Emma   January 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Not that it matters, but he is Caucasian/Pacific Islander according to a listing on a missing person site.

  29. Emma   January 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    @Neil-I am adopted as well, and our adoptive family is our REAL family.They are there to care for us and love us, not to say we don’t love our birth family but to suggest that our adoptive one means nothing is just ridiculous.

  30. gerry   January 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Neil, do you know the former roommate/band member who had Brian’s phone and ID, and who had made threats to the singer of the band?

    Sure, Brian seemed to have some emotional and relationship problems, but he also came from a loving, supportive family, and there were significant disputes between him and this particular person. A person who then threatened another band member, which at the least shows he does have the capacity to act on impulse and to demonstrate violent tendencies.

    Criminals aren’t masterminds; they get rid of things that would link them to the crime (such as a vehicle), or they keep possessions of someone they’ve injured or killed, and they’ll claim, "Would I have said or done that if I was guilty?" For what reason would a concerned friend keep Brian’s ID and cell phone, rather than give it to his family or the police?

  31. Destiny Kruse   April 9, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I just watched Disappeared and heard one of his bandmates mention Brian’s desire to meet his birth mother. Did the police contact her? Perhaps he went to see her and she could shed some light on whether she was contacted and if she knows where he might be headed. And they did polygraph the band mates. But the thing that bothers me is the fact that here in Texas polygraph results are inadmissible in a court of law.

  32. Helen McG   August 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve just watched the show on Brian and I’m very upset to say this but I think he was murdered by one of the Band members. You can still pass a poligraph if u have no consience so u can LIE and because u feel no guilt or shame ur heart doesn’t beat faster like a normal persons would when u lie.

    I think the Girlfriend knows who killed Brian but she’s keeping very quiet. Also the lead singer left the band cause he also suspected someone in the band had killed Brian.

    RIP Brian Barton.

  33. Nikole   January 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I just saw the show disappeared about Brian I also think that the band mate murdered Brian it is so sad they can’t get the proof they need. Sadly often if someone kills once and get aways with it they almost always kill again. I also think the girlfriend and some band mates know way more then they let on. Be careful if you know these people.

  34. Hope   January 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Just watched the story….I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.

  35. HLM   October 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Just watched the show on TV about Brian. This poor family! This guy would not have disappeared on his own. He was described over and over as an emotional person with deep feelings. This kind of person would not be able to desert his family and friends, thus causing them great pain and hurt. He was loved by his family and friends and he knew this.

    There are truly evil people in this world, people driven by jealousy, envy and pointless anger. They strike out at those around them and someone that knew Brian killed him. I hope the family finds out the truth soon.

  36. Shannon   October 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    My heart goes out to the Barton Family. I do not believe in my heart that Brian is alive.
    Where can a person possibly go with no money. He left his money behind and there is no activity on his accounts. It’s pretty hard to live like that or find transportation to disappear. I do not think he Committed suicide either, I am sure they would have found his body by now if he has committed suicide. If he has committed suicide then he hide himself very well. I do believe foul play is involved or an accident. I really hope the family receives an update very soon for closure. I know I would be searching to the day I die if this was my child. I am sure the Barton Family is doing the same.

    God Bless.

  37. Gracious   October 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

    My thoughts and prayers to his family,I stay in South Africa and just saw Brian’s story/case on Dissapeared for the first time today on the 13 October 2013.My thoughts on this matter is that one of Brian’s bandmates knows exactly what happened to him.I mean think about it he quit the band before a crucial tour and I’m sure that didn’t sit well with all of them,they felt as though he was sabotaging the band.It was mentioned on the show that Brian’s bandmates tried to call and pursued him to come back to the band so clearly they needed him more than he needed them.The police department need to play good cop bad cop on the bandmates without them knowing,record their interviews separately and play the bandmates against each other.They need to claim this one saod this and that about that one and then the real confession will come.SONEONE IN THAT BAND KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO BRIAN AND THEY ARE NOT TALKING,THE POLICE MUST MAKE THE SUCKERS TALK WHATEVER IT TAKES!!!!

  38. Destiny   October 21, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Keys in car
    Wallet left behind
    Door off hinges
    No Omanis text messages
    Band members odd behavior
    Vehicle destroyed
    Cell phone being used by roommate
    License in roommates possession
    Death threat made by band member to another band member
    Band member pictured with gun making threat
    Sleeping pills missing is bogus, whoever takes these pills knows what was left in the bottle was an inconsequential amount. That seemed like a red herring.

    Any band member that thinks he just left knows what happened.
    Check and see what friends life has gone downhill since the incident, that person will be the one to talk to, guilt will wreck a life.
    Unsure about girlfriend, if anything stuck out it would be the two completely different views of her. The tatooted tuff girl and the after shot of the kindergarten teacher look. Master manipulator?

    Something bad happened in the backyard, Adam was fleeing in terror through the back screen door, I wonder if anything from the backyard was missing, something to wrap or put a big body in. It would take two people at least to hide it.

    Not knowing how a back door became broke is the red flag. They know how it broke they just couldn’t say it was when Adam died. If the door broke in an innocent way those people would have some stupid funny story that went around the group.

    I’m guessing they used his own vehicle to move the body, was the car spotted at all that night, by people or security cams. Was the car dusted for prints, if no prints found then that’s a clue in itself.

  39. brian   November 5, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Just watch the show disapeared hope you find brian.x

  40. Dummies   January 6, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Check where he cashed his paycheck 30 minutes b4. He was followed home but he already changed his pants when the house wAs invaded

  41. Doreen   January 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Brian was seeing a therapist? I think he may have been depressed and decided to walk away from everything. It may be hard to leave with no vehicle or money in hand, but I believe he just did it. I am guessing he might have left to find his birth mom and start his new life somewhere else. I feel he is alive somewhere, and my prayers go out to his family that one day he will be found.

  42. Nancy   January 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    If he’s alive he may be playing in a band somewhere. Music was a big part of his life it seemed. I also think it is a red flag that a band mate’s truck was found destroyed. Why was it destroyed? Why would a "friend" make threats to another band member, especially during a sad time when they should all want to find their missing friend. That is suspicious. I think a cold case team needs to come review the case and re-interview suspects. Maybe it was someone the girlfriend was flirting with. I also think he could have been having some mental health issues. He could be wondering around not even knowing who he really is anymore. All the way around I am sure it is a sad and frustrating case for the family. Such a handsome young man with a bright future. I pray he is alive and will return home to his family.

  43. Jenna   January 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I think a new team of cold case investigators need to re-evaluate the file and re-interview suspects. There have been years gone by now so maybe people might feel more at ease to open up with more information.

    I have always thought that there should be a TV station that just airs nothing but information on missing people 24/7.

  44. Tammy   February 4, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Deeply upset by this story. If Brian had decided to simply walk away he would have at least took his cash. That leaves suicide or murder. Either way, my heart goes out to his family. And hope that someone if they know something will come forward.

  45. Sara   March 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Just watching it today in sad there was no leads. I watch this show all the time and saw a few from way back then come solved later. Just like that family that apparently went to Mexico and they found their remains maybe check the ground around his living areas with band members.

  46. goldy   May 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I grew up in Federal Way and heard about this. I saw this on ID and i really dont think his band mates had anything to do with it. I think the FW police messed up and let it go too long and as a result the case went cold and only God knows what happened to this young man. The area he went missing from is known to be bad and full of drugs and just bad people. I hope hes found either way and I hope hes alive. My prayers are with his family. I cannot imagine as a parent what this would be like.

  47. Brian Bolden   June 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

    i went to school with Brian, he was a nice an friendly guy. I pray that his disapearance finds closure and his family can recieve peace from this situation.


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