SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — 371 days have passed since Dylan Rounds was last seen. While authorities have charged a man in his death, Rounds’ family says they are anxiously waiting.
Watching his the man accused of his death, James Brenner, stumble into court on Monday, Rounds’ mother Candice Cooley said she was disgusted.
“I feel like it’s almost like he wants everybody to feel sorry for him,” said Cooley.
The speed of Brenner’s walk is similar to the speed Cooley has watched the wheels of justice turn… slowly.
Rounds disappeared in May of 2022. In March of 2023, authorities filed charges against Brenner: aggravated murder and desecration of a human body.
The 60-year-old had been working on Rounds’ farm. According to court documents, there is a time-lapse video of Brenner cleaning a gun with blood stains on his shirt around the time Rounds disappeared. That shirt was sent to a lab and tested positive for Rounds’ DNA.
“The evidence is the evidence,” said Cooley.
But Brenner has not been arraigned yet.
Driving two hours to every court proceeding Cooley said she desperately wants to hear Brenner enter his plea.
“Yes, he’s guilty… but that plea has still yet to happen,” said Cooley.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Monday, but the courtroom discussion focused on if Brenner is legally entitled to have more than one court-appointed lawyer represent him given his charges.
Another issue that continues to hold up the case is the fact that Brenner is in federal custody for what appears to be unrelated weapons charges. Because of this, every time Brenner has a court proceeding, the state has to get permission from the federal government and a minimum of six weeks’ notice is required.
Cooley said investigators dragged their feet in her son’s case, but now that it’s in the court system, she is hopeful.
“It’s something that has to move forward… It might be slow, but it still has to move forward at least,” said Cooley.
Not knowing where or what happened to her son, Cooley said she will wait as long as it takes to bring her son home.
“All of us deserve to be with our family… our son does not deserve to be alone out in that desert,” said Cooley.