Search on for man, 24, last seen in Anoka County

  • Article by: JIM ADAMS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2009 - 10:14 PM

Anoka police are investigating a call Jelani Brinson, of Minneapolis, made before he left a friend's house on Friday night. Dogs tracked his scent trail along railroads tracks.

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Jelani Brinson, with his daughter, Zion.

Photo: Provided by Dena Anderson,

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Anoka police are looking for a 24-year-old man and the reason he disappeared Friday night, leaving only cell phone records, his new Adidas tennis shoes and a winter hat.

Jelani Brinson, of north Minneapolis, was visiting friends at an Anoka home in the 600 block of Kennedy Street. He abruptly left about 10:30 p.m. without saying goodbye, Police Chief Phil Johanson said Monday.

Police are focusing on phone records that show a call was made from Brinson's cell at about 10 p.m. Friday to a phone near Cologne in Carver County, police Capt. Scott Nolan said Monday. He said the disappearance is being treated as a missing person's case.

Several men at the home Friday night told police there weren't any problems to prompt Brinson to leave. Searchers found his shoes not far away: one across the street by a wooden fence near railroad tracks behind a house; the other, south of the tracks in an industrial area near Hwy. 10, Johanson said.

"I keep calling his cell phone to see if someone might answer, but it just goes into voice mail," said Brinson's mother, Alyce Hamilton. "I don't know what to think, but I don't think it's good."

She said she "can't imagine him taking off and not calling someone. That's totally out of character for him."

Hamilton said her son, who graduated from high school at Fourth Baptist Christian School in north Minneapolis, was recently promoted at Sprint. He and girlfriend, Dena Anderson, have a 9-month-old daughter, Zion, but live apart. He cares for his daughter two days a week, Hamilton said. His faith makes it unlikely he would have harmed himself, his mom said. Police said he had a clean record.

Hamilton called police late Saturday afternoon after he missed work. Hamilton and dozens of others began searching Sunday morning with police and three search dogs.

The dogs tracked Brinson's scent from near his friend's house west about 1.5 miles along the tracks to a point about 100 yards behind the Outpost Bar in neighboring Ramsey, which is where the scent trial ended. His family viewed the bar's security tapes but didn't see him, Johanson said.

Johanson said there's no immediate sign that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the disappearance.

"We are trying to sort out relationships between him and other people and their intentions," Johanson said. He said Brinson could have hopped a slow-moving train.

Brinson is described as black, 5 foot 9, 150 pounds. He was last seen dressed in a black shirt, black hoodie and blue jeans. His hair is in cornrows. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call investigators at 763-427-1212.

Star Tribune staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report. Jim Adams • 612-673-7658

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