SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – James Brenner had Dylan Rounds’ boots and placed them on a mound of dirt.
That is according to Rounds’ mother, Candice Cooley. She is now disclosing information that law enforcement shared with her. Rounds disappeared on Memorial Day weekend and his whereabouts are unknown.
Cooley said the boots are some of the evidence that caused the Box Elder County Sheriff’s office to name Brenner a suspect in Rounds’ disappearance. Authorities are now calling it a homicide investigation.
“He probably put those boots out there Monday morning before we got to the property because those boots didn’t even have dust on them,” said Cooley.
From the outset, Cooley confirmed the boots belonged to her son. But she has never shared the story about how the boots got there until now.
“I believe they (investigators) asked Brenner ‘if we run DNA first, is your DNA going to be on it?” Cooley recalled. “And he said ‘yes.’”
In Cooley’s conversation with a law enforcement official, she said Brenner found the boots at Rounds’ shed. She said Brenner saw the boots and moved them to his camper.
“He set them there and then he decided Dylan’s not going to be coming back for them, so “I’ll move them by the dirt mound,’” Cooley said.
The boots were found on a mound of dirt by authorities early in the investigation.
She speculated about reasons why Brenner would put them there.
“I do not have a positive answer,” she said. “But my thoughts, he knew we were coming, and he had them in his possession in the camper and he didn’t want them in his possession.”
Cooley said there was one drop of blood on the boots and lab tests showed it belonged to Dylan.
Authorities also traced pings from Rounds’ cellphones during the time of his disappearance. Cooley said one call came from Rounds to his grandmother and then to Brenner shortly after that call.
On the day he disappeared, Cooley said Rounds spoke to his grandmother about Brenner locking a gate to his shed and was planning to call Brenner to unlock it.
“I think that was what probably set everything off,” Cooley said. “It angered Brenner. He was jealous of Dylan.”
At the time, the property belonged to another person. But according to Cooley, Rounds was planning on buying it. It was also the land where Brenner was caught squatting.
“He is just the type of person that snaps,” she said. “He acts and thinks later.”
On that day, the final ping from Rounds’ cell phone was at Lucin Pond. That is where authorities found Rounds’ cell phone. Cooley said it is a shallow pond and there was nothing else found.
Cooley said a gun mysteriously appeared in Rounds’ kitchen after authorities had searched there. It was like how Dylan’s fob to his truck was found. Cooley said both items were placed there by someone after authorities searched the premises.
“If we knew (how they got there) we would have the answers 100 percent,” Cooley said.
Brenner remains jailed in the Weber County jail on a gun violation charge. He has not been charged with any crime connected to Rounds’ disappearance.
Lately, he has been calling Rounds’ grandparents. Cooley said Brenner claimed his innocence. But she said once her grandparents laid out the evidence against him, he turned silent and refused to answer any more questions.
“He said, ‘Talk to my lawyer,’” Cooley said.