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Community Without Answers After Teen's Death

Bryan Glenn remembered by German classmates; Fairfax County police still waiting to hear from medical examiner's office.

The Woodson High School community is still waiting, quietly mourning three days after senior Bryan Glenn's body was discovered Monday by volunteers in the woods near Thaiss Park.

Find Bryan flyers are still posted all over the city, but a closer look reveals a different, painful atmosphere than the one surrounding last week's frantic search for the missing football player and Monday's shocking discovery. The desperate pleas for information on Bryan's whereabouts have transformed into messages of support on family Facebook walls. 

Officers announced the official identification of Bryan's body Wednesday, confirming what most, including friends and family, already knew. Police are now waiting for the medical examiner's report, which should answer lingering questions residents have repeated throughout the week: How did Bryan die? And maybe, why?

"Bryan Glenn was the sort of kid in Heidelberg that no one disliked," said Andrew Guelle, a classmate and best friend to Bryan Glenn while the family lived in Germany. "Bryan always brought so much kindness and thoughtfulness into everything he did. I hung out with Bryan nearly every day. He was one of the greatest people I ever met."

The Glenn family lived in Heidelberg for a few years, where Bryan attended Heidelberg High School in the Mark Twain Village portion of the U.S. Army Garrison. Guelle met Bryan in eighth grade at a soccer practice; they stuck together until the Glenn family moved back to Fairfax in 2012.

"Going through high school with Bryan was amazing. He became a part of my family and me a part of his," Guelle said. "The best times were just hanging out at his house or just playing soccer."

Guelle and about 100 Heidelberg students held a vigil for Bryan on Wednesday morning. The students and teachers lit candles and bowed their heads as they remembered their classmate.

"Although we were not close, the way his passing moved some of my close friends here breaks my heart," Heidelberg student Hannah Mayfield said. "Bryan was laid back and always content. His passing brought Heidelberg closer as a school. This morning, I really felt like we were a family."

Back home, Woodson counselors and a Fairfax County Public Schools Crisis Response Team have been on hand to help grieving students.

Residents looking for ways to help the Glenn family through this tragedy can give donations to help fund funeral arrangements and private investigator costs. You can do so through PayPal here.

And it couldn't hurt to leave a message on the Find Bryan Facebook group.

Patch will have more information on this story as the medical report is released.

See also:

Woodson Senior Missing Since Monday
Thaiss Park Closed While Police Search for Bryan Glenn
Friends of Missing Teen Say 'Bryan Did Not Just Walk Away'
Family Fights to Bring Missing Son Home

UPDATE: Bryan Glenn Found Dead in Thaiss Park

BraddockRd Brad October 11, 2012 at 02:42 PM
It seems to me that many many people seem to be willing to believe the worst about this fine young man, that he got wrapped up in drugs or somehow brought this violence on himself. It amazes me that no one has thought that the exact opposite could be true. What if Bryan was a good samaritan and was trying to help someone that he thought was in need or distress? After dropping his brother off at school, Bryan would have ordinarily gone to school himself. In the morning, Rt. 50 and Pickett Rd. in Fairfax are both major commuter routes with lots of cars. This commuter traffic would be a magnet for a panhandler or transient asking drivers for money. What if Bryan saw this person, and decided that they looked hungry or in need? He may have gone to Dunkin Donuts to get them something to eat. Bryan didn't buy coffee or a soda because a stranger wouldnt accept a drink in an unsealed container, but Bryan might have felt better about offering a needy looking person a sealed bottle of water. After leaving Dunkin Donuts, Bryan drives back to where this person is panhandling and offers them the donuts and bottle of water. Somehow, they both end up in Thaiss park. Bryan tries to talk to this person he just helped, maybe to offer them a ride or see if there is anything else he can do for them. He doesn't feel threatened, Bryan is seventeen, a young man in the prime of life and a football player. When Bryan's attention lapses, the person Bryan tried to help assaults him.
BraddockRd Brad October 11, 2012 at 02:43 PM
My guess is that there will be enormous pressure on the medical examiner to rule Bryan's death a suicide yet the people that know him say this would be impossible. The Fairfax County police have screwed this whole thing up right from the start, and they will want to blame the victim and the Glenn family to cover up their own embarrassment. It will be up to the Glenn family to find out what really happened to their son. Maybe they should try to consult with Steve Schillingford. He is a veteran Fairfax County homicide detective who now works for the federal government. He has been involved with many homicide investigations in this county and no longer owes any allegiance to the Fairfax County police.
T. Bird October 11, 2012 at 06:23 PM
The Paypal link doesn't work - PLEASE fix this ASAP! I, too want answers. So many oversights and mistakes - not impounding the car and dusting it for prints, conducting an ineffective search, waiting 4 days to review surveillance video at Dunkin' Donuts, not taking DNA samples from the water bottles, etc. I'm absolutely appalled at the lack of attention the FCP Department gave this family. Colonel Glenn had to hire a Private Investigator to conduct a proper, systematic and thorough search of the woods. This is a disgrace and a failure of leadership on the part of the police department. And it is overdue for a proper alert system to be put in place when students miss class. A text should be sent directly to parent's cell phones similar to the alert notification system set up at VA Tech. My experience at Woodson was a robot pre-recorded message coming to my home phone when my student missed a class. If I were working all day I wouldn't get this call until I returned home at night. Missing practice or an after school activity should generate the same kind of alert. This is not hard to set up electronically.
Whitney Rhodes (Editor) October 11, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Try this link: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=JOj55J4dpudsiXVb57fEOCgvshMMjFaEmGuXW0A3uWNbk3rKBBR4BfYuKgm&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8db02a037e263542f58098410815cf7df7
V October 11, 2012 at 06:40 PM
May Bryan rest in peace. You all want a reason that this happened....Someone to blame. In all probability the answer that is revealed will not be what you want to hear.
Shannon McGrail October 11, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Errr, I am asking for answers about why the police botched what seemed and easy case and search. Bryan's death is something is family and this community will have to deal with privately and in there own way. It seems you may be trying to distort the issue about the police in favor of the reality that Bryan is now dead. I doubt anyone really believes the police killed Bryan that is sane. I think many of us believe his case and likely many others was handled so poorly we fear for our own families who may need the polices help and then find out we must rely on our neighbors, facebook and The Patch to get the word out and find our own missing kids.
KL October 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
In the Wash Post a police source stated there is no threat to the neighborhood. That says a lot right there. Sure the police could have handled this better but I don't think the outcome would have been different on this case. The fact that the coroner report has not been released probably means they want to keep it private due to the findings for the sake of the family. If this turns out to be suicide then the schools, churches, medical folks and community members need come up with a way to prevent it. Some have described suicide as a disease just like cancer. It needs to be prevented like any other disease before it happens again. It happened this past August to another boy at Woodson. How can it be prevented? It is just so very sad! The grief these families are going through are unimaginable.
FGW October 11, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I know it is difficult for many parents and kids to understand how a seemingly well adjusted, athletic kid could take his own life. Unfortunately it happens all the time, in fact a 15 year old military kid from Woodson also hanged himself in August. Maybe parents missed the signs, maybe there were none, but it is almost impossible to prevent this from happening if a kid is determined to end his life unless you keep him in a padded cell. Some kids get to such a point of depressiona and despair that they feel they have no way out, they feel too much pressure from parents, peers and coaches they just decide to end it. I know people here want to blame police, homeless people, etc. but the reality is Brian committed suicide.
BraddockRd Brad October 11, 2012 at 08:39 PM
The reality is Brian committed suicide? And he just happened to want some donuts right before he did? Yeah, right. It seems like it will be much easier for some people in this community to blame the victim rather than acknowledge the possibility that there may be some very dangerous and impulsively violent people right in the middle of this suburban, high-income mostly white idyllic enclave. A nutjob that robs and kills strangers would make it just a little too uncomfortable for these people. I guess it's going to take a member of their own family being hit with a violent crime and everyone saying "oops suicide" before they demand police take proper action.
Crystal Denick October 11, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I couldnt agree more with BraddockRd Brad. I dont know this young man, but the evidence just doesnt add up. The bloodhounds were present on the scene right after they found the car-- LESS THAN 24 HRS OF HIM MISSING....and the bloodhounds couldnt find him then??! They couldnt find him, because he wasnt there!. He wasnt there because the murder(s) brought him there after the fact. This story is disgusting; this is fairfax county (one of the richest places in america) just because murder doesnt happen every day around here does NOT mean it cant happen!. Everyone needs justice. Especially a 17 year old young man who was a football, heading off to college.
Crystal Denick October 11, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Exactly. Not to mention they're plenty of homeless grounds back there..
Crystal Denick October 11, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Agree! Not only do they need to step up their game but I bet we wont even hear the end result of this. As a parent, I want answers!
Crystal Denick October 11, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Couldnt agree with this post more. Im with you-- I want answers too!!! not only for my curiousity as a mother but for his family and friends as well!
Corey October 11, 2012 at 09:49 PM
@Leilani that is very true, that guy was funny and made soccer fun
jih October 11, 2012 at 10:28 PM
fcpd really needs to step it up...Does anyone remember Vanessa Pham's murder? I'm pretty sure that's still unsolved to this date, she was only 19 when someone got into her car and stabbed her multiple times before she crashed her car . I really hope the Glenn family can get some sort of closure. May Bryan Rest In Peace.
T. Bird October 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM
For some reason, when I try the PayPal link I get the following error message. Sorry — your last action could not be completed If you were making a purchase or sending money, we recommend that you check both your PayPal account and your email for a transaction confirmation after 30 minutes. If you came to this page from another website, please return to that site (don't use your browser's Back button) and restart your activity. If you came from PayPal's website, click the PayPal logo in the upper-left corner to return to our home page and restart your activity. You might have to log in again. I've tried exiting, reading the article again and loading the address separately to no avail.
FGW October 11, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Braddock Rd Brad, I am a Woodson parent...my next door neighbor is a good friend of the volunteer who found Bryan's body which was hanging from a tree. The police claimed they had not extended the search that deep into the woods before he was found. The reality is that Woodson never notified the parents that Bryan was missing from school and football practice, and in the 12 hours he would have normally be out of the house that day, he could have been anywhere considering he has access to a car, but it was found intact with all his belongings, he wasn't planning on going anywhere far. FCPD should have found his body sooner, but there was no way they could have found him in time to prevent him from taking his own life. Conspiracy theories and blaming the police wont bring Bryan back, but perhaps as parents we can be more attentive to see the signs of depression and despair in our own kids. Details of the autopsy won't be released, football players won't be wearing black armbands, etc because of the reality of what has happened. It doesn't help to pretend stuff like this can't happen in our neighborhood, but it has happened and will happen again unless we raise awareness in our community.
FGW October 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Also Braddock Road Brad your "high income mostly white idyllic enclave" dog whistle wasn't quite loud enough dude. Like that has anything to do with anything . HOLY SMOKES, racist much?
Shannon McGrail October 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Hey Crystal, The blood hound (I believe it was singular as I was there that night) was not called until Wednesday night but Bryan was reported missing on Monday night and actually went missing on Monday morning. I want to to clarify this because the police in now way shape or form did anything in the first 24 hours besides tell the family there was a detective assigned to the case and then take them off a few hours later having then no actual officer actually looking for Bryan until the parents prompted them with a phone call and then someone new was assigned doing nothing. I this we agree on much of what is going on but I wanted you to know that nothing was done to help Bryan until the family gathered some people at Thaiss Field Wednesday night to look for him at which point the police felt some pressure I guess to step in pretend it might have been their job all along. The community got the police to act but what if the community was not called to action? Would Bryan still be out at Thaiss ...I think yes. Is what ever the cause of Bryan's death a crime in the state of Virginia...yep, it is as it was not natural causes. Does the police department need to make a statement about re-training their staff and the importance of ALL missing persons....I think so or people will start to form groups moving up the food chain that demand something called accountability. This might be new to our police dept but others have had to do the same and maybe it's time?
Gabbie Sterling October 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Remember, the news outlets do not report suicides.
Woodson mom October 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Whatever the cause of death it is still sad. We need to stop placing blame and figure out where we are failing our youth. Our schools, parents and peers are placing too much pressure on our youth; pressures my generation didn't endure in the late 60's/70's. Luckily my children are all grown up now but I raised them to think for themselves, and to be happy. That meant that for one of two of my kids it took them several years of trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. I never stressed them over SAT's ACT's etc. yet they found their passion by exploring the world first. My last child just graduated from Woodson so I have seen that this pressure filled environment first handed- again, luckily we raised our children more open-minded and tolerant. We realized getting into UVA or Purdue isn't that important in the whole scheme of life; happiness is! Let's let our children be who they want to be-
Teacher October 12, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I have to toss in my opinion on "pressure on kids"... I am an educator who sees parents "baby" their kids like crazy, never tell them no and work too hard at being their best friend... The senior year and beyond comes around then parents and society expects the kids to be able to handle real life. A lot of them can't because they have had everything handed to them up until then. So, parents a little pressure early on will help kids later in life when the real pressure increases because of "real life"... Stop being their friend and be their parent!
Joe Knepley October 12, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Thanks for the "awesome" parenting advice. Yep, that's all we parents due is befriend our children through 11th grade and then flip a switch in 12th grade and expect them "to be able to handle real life." Gotta say you friggin nailed it...
Eloise October 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
This was posted on Facebook by Max Genn, Bryan's grandfather: A memorial mass to celebrate the life of Grandson Bryan Glenn will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church off Braddock Road in Annandale, Virginia on Tuesday, October 16th at 10:30 am. The mass will be open to the public. I will be going later for the burial service at Arlington Nat'l Cemetery. Thank you to the many, many persons who continue to support our family and hold us in prayer!
bec October 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Did they ever find his back pack and Ipod/pad? This case has haunted me so. My heart breaks. I can not imagine how his parents and brother feel. I need closure...I need answers to move on. I think many in our community feel this way. I think many kids at Woodson feels this way.I will continue to pray, thats all I can do,
Paula October 14, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I'm with you on this -- I feel no sense of closure -- I know I'm not "entitled" to knowing anything. Maybe it's this nagging sadness of how it all went down -- knowing the family had to set up their own search with volunteers -- and that it was some mothers who found Bryan ... just makes me very sad.
Mindful October 16, 2012 at 01:32 AM
@ FGW-You should be ashamed of yourself, commenting on what was told to you by your next door neighbor. Here, you are publishing it for all to read. You are nothing more than a gossip.
T. Bird October 16, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I know the mother who found him - she is consoled by the fact that a teenager doesn't have to process that vision.
DOJ October 16, 2012 at 08:29 AM
1. Woodson High School Administration needs to be investigated for failure to notify his Parents that he was not in school. 2. The Fairfax County Police did a lousy job and should be investigated for their sloppiness in their search effort as well as carelessness in taking the Detective off the case, not keeping the Family informed, etc. 3. Do not blindly accept what the Police tell the media. Just because the police say there is no "foul" play, does not mean to not be alert to your surroundings and sense of safety/security even in a park setting.
Paula October 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Thank you, DOJ, for actually caring enough to offer steps that should be taken so that families with missing kids don't have to suffer even more due to police ineptitude.

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