The years of weekly phone calls, letters and emails abruptly stopped in April, and Chrisy Bolinger knew something was wrong.
Her high school friend, Edwin Brown, had disappeared. She last heard from him April 27.
He was living in Houston, and he had left behind his new apartment, his freshly crashed car and a broken pair of glasses on the car seat. Brown hasn’t been found since then.
The sheriff’s office in Harris County, Texas, is handling the case but hasn’t determined what happened or where Brown is, and it doesn’t have any new leads, Brown’s sister Belinda Humes said.
The sheriff’s office confirmed it is investigating the case.
Brown, a 1991 Greenwood Community High School graduate, is remembered in the area as a teen who sent balloons to the school on a friend’s birthday. He was thoughtful, making meals when a friend’s mom died and getting to the hospital first when another friend had a baby.
He also was generous. When he’d clean out his closet, he would walk down the street in Washington, D.C., or wherever he lived at the time and gave away clothes to the homeless, his wife, Angie Poole-Brown, said.
“He had a super caring way about him, like nobody I’d ever known,” she said.
Brown was well-liked in Greenwood, getting elected class president and wandering around in costume as the high school’s Woodman mascot his senior year. He could be silly, singing Cyndi Lauper songs at the top of his lungs even though he couldn’t carry a tune, Poole-Brown said.
Bolinger met Brown, 41, nearly 30 years ago, and they became best friends their freshman year. They shared an April 23 birthday, played volleyball together as teens and, even though Brown didn’t live in Greenwood after high school, stayed such close friends that a week without a phone conversation was unusual.
After leaving Greenwood in the early 1990s, Brown lived in England, Germany and cities throughout the U.S. while working for the U.S. Army and then United Airlines as a flight attendant. But he stayed in touch with his friends back home.
Some friends and family last heard from Brown on April 27, and on April 29 he missed a doctor’s appointment that made people start wondering if something was wrong.
Bolinger, a Greenwood resident, heard from Brown the morning of April 27. The message was just a sentence on Facebook promising to call her soon. She hasn’t had any contact with him since.
“Out of everything, that is what is most unlike Edwin because he always would stay in touch. He liked to talk to the people he loved,” she said.
He didn’t tend to set long-term goals, but before disappearing he had applied for a job transfer to Germany because he loved to travel and particularly liked Germany, Poole-Brown said.
He moved about every two years because he liked to get to know new cities and see how people in other countries, such as Japan, lived, she said. They lived apart but were close friends, talking two or three times every week, she said.
Brown hasn’t flown anywhere and has simply disappeared, as far as investigators have found, Humes said.
His friends and family are confused because he didn’t have enemies and would never have just vanished on his own, Poole-Brown said.
“All signs point to foul play, but during the investigation they haven’t really found anything,” she said. “I can’t see where he would do anything that would cause anyone to retaliate against him. It’s truly, honestly, mind-boggling. I don’t have any idea why anyone would want to hurt him.”