Bartons’ hold hope that son is found – Part I of II

Maureen Barton said that it’s hard to talk about, and that she doesn’t even talk about it at her workplace anymore, but the thoughts and hopes are always with her that one day her 30-year-old son, Brian Barton, will come walking through her front door.

March 10 marked the fifth year since anyone has seen or heard from Barton, who was 25 when he went missing from Federal Way, Washington, which is located between Seattle and Tacoma.

Barton graduated from Buena Vista High School in 1997 and at age 21 moved near Seattle to submerge himself in the music culture and become part of a band, Maureen said.

She said he established a life there and had a job, a girlfriend, and was part of the punk rock band, “As Fate Would Have it,” that had recently signed a record contract before Barton went missing.

Maureen described her son as having lots of friends and a close relationship with his two brothers – one of whom was in college at the time Barton went missing – and the other who lived nearby and was planning on getting married on Barton’s birthday.

Then Barton’s parents received the call that their son had gone missing.

“All of the sudden on March 10 my husband and I came home from work and we had a phone call on the machine from his girlfriend,” said Maureen Barton. “His girlfriend had reported Brian missing to the Federal Way Police Department.”

“He had gone to work, cashed a check, and gone to an appointment. She [Barton’s girlfriend] said she talked to him during his workday – he went to his appointment and nobody had seen him since. All of his personal belongings were left behind – his car, wallet, cell phone, and car keys were left at home,” Maureen said.

Maureen said that her husband called the police that same night, but was told that since Barton was 25 years old he could take off when he wanted, philosophizing that he may have wanted to start a new life or take off from friends.

“We were very upset,” said Maureen. “We knew he wouldn’t do it.”

Officer Raymond Bunk, a spokesman with the Federal Way Police Department said that the department’s policy doesn’t put an adult into the system if there is no history of a medical or mental condition, or a suspicion noted at the scene, such as blood on the floor.

“If you’re over 18, you’re allowed to take off,” he said in a phone interview May 7. “First and foremost we understand sometimes adults want to leave the situation they’re in.”

Bunk said an example of that might be a domestic abuse situation that someone wanted to get away from.

In Barton’s case, however, after the initial call in mid-March, Bunk said it was considered suspicious.

“It looks like we did do a police report at that time but there was not enough [evidence] to go further and put a detective on the case,” he said.

Maureen and her family began their own search to find their son.

“My husband went up a week later after he went missing and put up posters with his friends,” she said. “I went up the beginning of April and hired a private investigator. My sister and I met with the public safety officer, put up more posters, and met with his friends.”

Maureen said she had postcards made out and sent them all over to police departments and churches and bars.

“I got on the Internet and found a bunch of places that host bands, mostly in the Washington area, but have sent some to New York, and sent them to wherever I feel there are a lot of people,” she said.

By nine weeks into Brian’s disappearance, there had still been no sightings or trace of him anywhere.

Maureen said that up until that point in time her son’s bank account had not had any activity, and that there was money in it from a recent income tax return.

However, at the nine-week point, some suspicious activity was found and the Federal Way Police Department had a reason to request a polygraph on two people.

See the next issue (May 20, 2010) of the Village News for Part II of this story. To read part II of this story, go to

To comment on this story online, visit

35 Responses to "Bartons’ hold hope that son is found – Part I of II"

  1. C. Newlands   May 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Maureen my heart goes out to you and your Family . I had gone to high school with Brian and remember him as bright and funny and over all a wonderful person . I do hope that you are able to bring him home safe and well.

  2. resident   May 14, 2010 at 8:34 am

    How sad that you would split this up into two articles. You are really doing a disservice to Maureen Barton and her son Brian.

  3. Susan   May 14, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Can we see a larger picture? Cant see the one she is holding at all. Thanks and God Bless!!

  4. frank   May 14, 2010 at 11:30 am

    My heart goes out to Brian’s family and friends. I hope a miracle happens soon and he is found alive and well. Can’t imagine the pain they must be going through. May God bless them and give them confort.

  5. Get a Clue   May 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I agree with resident.

  6. Classmate of Brian   May 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    This is very saddening news. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I read the article yesterday. I am shocked that you would leave a cliffhanger on such a serious topic that affects a local family and many of your readers. The Barton family deserves more consideration.

  7. Darlene   May 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I am thinking of you and hope that somthing will happen to find Brian.You are in my thoughts and prayers.may god bless u and your family.

  8. resident   May 16, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Bigger picture of her son would help. There is no need to focus on the mother’s face when it is the son that is missing. This should not be a story about her, but a cry for help for her son. Maybe he has come back this way and someone might recognize him.

  9. nancysongwriter   May 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    well written. thanks for showing her face….. full of grace even though her pain is unspeakable We all pray for you and the safe recovery of your son.

  10. Wally Johnston   May 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Add my prayers for Brian Roy Barton to the rest of the comments.

  11. Wally Johnston   May 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I agree with resident.Breaking this story into two seperate weeks is a feeble
    attempt at sustaining readership at the expense of The Barton family.The Village News should be "Ashamed" of themselves!
    I will add Brian’s name to my prayers every night,Henceforth!

  12. Get a Clue   May 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I definitely think TVN could have done a better job with this article. Like not splitting into a two parter. It’s a shame, because Brian Barton is missing, the family and friends need answers as I’m sure they are suffering greatly.

  13. wally Johnston   May 16, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I agree with #8 resident.My unapproved comment remains my first and foremost.

  14. Staff   May 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Shameful? You berate the Village News for getting the story out there and assume the worst for whatever reason, without even knowing the motive. Why is it that when people guess the motive or reasons for someone else’s decision or action on a matter they always assume the worst?

    There were legal documents that had to be requested and more phone calls that needed to be made. There was too much information to fit in before deadline. The decision was made to go ahead and publish the information we had and get the story out there for exactly the reason you state–because their son is still missing.

  15. Doyle and Bess   May 17, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Our hearts are so touched!Can’t emagine what your going through,please know we will be praying!!

  16. resident   May 18, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    #14, While I appreciate your dilemma with the legal paperwork and the deadlines, to rush a story like this is never worth it. You have done a disservice to the missing man and to his mother. Why did you not print a larger picture of him. Yes, her story is tragic and I would never want to live in her shoes, but we need to see her son’s face. Perhaps a smaller inset pic of her would have been better to show her pain. But, if we are to help look for him, please next time give us the tools to do so.

    It would also be better if you would take the constructive criticism with grace and dignity, perhaps listening to your readership rather than bashing them. We are trying to tell you what we want to read and how a broken up article like this is not a constructive use of your space and our time. Don’t get me wrong, your paper is on the leading edge of a lot of local and national news stories. You should definitely be applauded for that. Your fire coverage is unparalleled. However, to have this many people unhappy with the way you presented this story, and then to have your staff post a comeback??? Come on, I thought you were a better paper than that.

    I always tell everyone to read the Village News. It is a great paper, but the way this article was presented was a huge mistake.

  17. Julie Reeder   May 18, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Sorry resident. I get very protective of my staff. They work harder than anyone could imagine.
    Stories done in series are an industry standard. The Village News makes no more money because a story is one or two parts. Our thousands of loyal subscribers allow us the luxury of covering important stories as quickly as we can write them and not according to a need to sell them on the street.

  18. resident   May 19, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Julie Reeder: Exactly my point Julie. Your staff does work really hard, I am well aware of that. I never considered this story and what kind of financial impact it would have if it were sold in two parts. That was definitely not my point and I am certain not your point either. My point is that the way it was presented appears sloppy and rushed. It is just as irritating to me to have an article done as a series in any other paper. However, this one touched home to me because I think I know this family quite well, but I cannot see the young man’s face well enough to tell. Additionally, I wanted to read the entire article now, not a week from now. Stories done in series in other newspapers are done the following day, not a week later. We are all just asking you not to do that, as it is frustrating.

    You are better than that Julie. You have an extremely successful newspaper that is well-liked, well-read and a huge asset to this town. Thank you for printing my response and I thank you for your commentary as well.

  19. nancysongwriter   May 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    geeez as a former low level journalist(never in san diego cty) i am amazed at the attacks on this really special small town paper. if you allowed yourself you might actually enjoy a 2 does increase interest in a story and may long-term get more attention to this story. A story about real people who read these comments, probably hoping for a loving dialog from the people of the “friendly village”. Glad the majority of those i meet around town are not so critical. I am guessing the next part will have another picture, but really i can see her son very well and would recognize him.You have no idea how many man hours go into one story. Just something to consider.. Meryl Streep said in Postcards from the Edge, as writer character Carrie Fischer..”instant gratification takes too long”,. I guess a 2 part story is just too difficult for some. I liked this format for this story.

  20. Mother's love says:   May 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

    As a mother’s point of view I say that any attention given by the media to help find a missing child is appreciated even if it is done in a two, three,or even four part series of any newpaper. Good luck Mrs. Barton in your effort in locating your missing son.

  21. resident   May 20, 2010 at 10:57 am

    nancysongwriter: I have been a journalist for many years. Many of us who have worked for much larger circulations enjoy the diamond we have in the Village News. I am not attacking the Village News and I believe Julie Reeder is smart enough to know that. You must not know her very well. She is a brilliant, but tough skinned woman. That is what has made her so successful in running such a fine paper.

    You have obviously not been around this town long enough to know what she has been through with this paper and to know how hard she and her staff have worked to make it the journalistic success it is today. I am certain she is aware that I am giving constructive criticism where it is due and appreciates all of the comments from her readership.

    Don’t sell her short like that. She may object in the beginning, but trust me, she weighs all opinions and adjusts her course if she sees it necessary. That is what makes her an excellent editor-in-chief.

  22. usmcret   May 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    To Staff – if some one "ain’t" complaining, you are not doing anything. Either you hold the story too long, or publish it too soon; make the picture of the mother the focus to show her worry, or don’t show it and forget about the mother’s pain. The paper is excellent in what it is – a small town weekly; mostly good news, always well written, edited and published.

  23. AVID READER   May 21, 2010 at 8:25 am

    TO RESIDENT, Your not a journalist, If you were, you would have already covered this story, Your a small town nobody who wants attention off the missing son, and the focus on you. If you are "JOURNALIST" Whats your name? Who do you write for? Your name speaks for itself.

  24. lori   May 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

    "He had gone to work, cashed a check, and gone to an appointment. She [Barton

  25. nancysongwriter   May 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    TO RESIDENT…OBVIOUSLY I have not been in this town long enough to lose perspective about a great small town paper trying to help bring to the public a sensitive story. Your sad attempt to suggest I am selling the editor short is an OBVIOUS defense/deflect tactic because you originally overreacted and now hope to save face..too late. WOW you have written for much larger publications, shucks, I am put-in-my-place.
    ….Oh, I sang at Grandma’s House, now the Village News building, (in case you were busy being a journalist in the big city then) in the early 80’s, so guess I know a few people in Fallbrook and with them I agree.. great article..sad our prayers.

  26. WePrayForYou   May 21, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    We thank you, Village News, for being the glue that
    holds us together in our hardest times. Thank you for the moving photo of a mother who is nobly enduring what is perhaps the ultimate in pain for any parent.And for the vivid photo of Brian, showing what a bright spirit he is. It saddens me when I read comments from others, such as RESIDENT, criticizing the paper for not making Brian’s photo larger, by making such unlikely statements as, "I think I know this family quite well, but I cannot see the young man’s face well enough to tell." Of course, if she knew the family quite well, she would immediately recognize the mother AND Brian in this rather vivid photo of both. Unfortunate that there are those who unhappy persons who make obviously false statements just to give themselves an air of authority. But forget the negative spirits….we continue to pray for both mother and son. God Bless them both.

  27. troll-buster   May 22, 2010 at 12:03 am

    TO RESIDENT: First you tell the "News" that the way the story was presented "appears sloppy and rushed" and that it is "irritating to me" and then you bash Julie further by writing "It would also be better if you would take the constructive criticism with grace and dignity". Constructive? I don’t think so. And where is your "dignity" and "grace" in slinging this petty diatribe. Further, your
    claim of being a journalist who has written for papers with a much larger circulation makes you appear quite ludicrous, in that you amateurishly violate one of the fundamental, though tacit, tenets of journalism when you write to nancysongwriter, " …you obviously have not been around this town long enough…" Proper form requires that you do not say "obviously" when a thing is not "obvious", but that you say instead,
    "…perhaps you have not been…". Moreover, it appears that you may have had problems with your basic grammar skills in your middle school years, as
    is reflected in your writing, "…it is the son that is missing." Proper grammar is as follows. "it is the son who is missing." We use the word "who", not "that". This is called, in journalism and in middle school,a "pronoun" and its use requires a certain agreement between the pronoun and that which it
    represents. Inanimate objects are "that" and persons are "who" or "whom". Please try to remember that, before trying to pass yourself off as a professional.
    Now, about your character, such as it is. How very
    demeaning of you to try to play that tired old "shame game" with Julie by writing,"You are better than that Julie." Oh, how very superior you sound.
    How condescending! And how very clever your are, as well. When the other readers begin to take notice of your petty, complaining attacks and come
    to defense of the editor, you try to pretend it is they, and not you, have been grinding her; you write,"Don’t sell her short like that. She may object in the beginning, but trust me…" Well, guess what NOBODY TRUSTS YOU, RESIDENT. You
    are devious enough and small minded enough to
    be a politician, but by no means are you, or have you ever been a real journalist. THAT is obvious.
    At this juncture what more can I say that hasn’t been said by that perceptive individual AVID READER, who wrote, "Your not a journalist, If you were, you would have already covered this story, Your a small town nobody who wants attention off the missing son, and the focus on you." We are all coming to know you as just another troll, a lonely and frustrated malcontent, posing as something you are not and, obviously, could never be.

  28. nancysongwriter   May 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    please note: my fiance came over and entered a comment as trollbuster and my neighbor stopped by and shared our foremost concern for this mother and her missing son, so she added the we pray for you comment…from same location, but three individuals commenting…again hoping for a miracle.

  29. Danny M   May 23, 2010 at 8:22 am

    As usual, the thread of comments on this story has spiraled perversely off-topic. Out of respect for the family, is it possible for grievances about this story’s format to be submitted directly to the Staff and not tagged on to a heart-wrenching story? This story is about raising awareness for the Barton family and should not be used as a platform, soundboard, or bully pulpit for the opinions of back-seat-editors. While I agree that the split publication format of the story was fairly annoying and distracting, I’m sure TVN had their own reasons for doing it and it was the result of a well-thought out, albeit tough, decision. Leave it alone. Instead of adding our collective two cents on the journalistic nuances of this publication, shouldn’t our primary focus be on how this community can best assist this family, not on ?

  30. resident   May 30, 2010 at 6:00 am

    nancysonwriter aka weprayforyou aka trollbuster: Split personality disorder??? Who is overreacting her. Hmmm, let me count the screen names. Fiance, neighbor….great way to save face. I bet you about died when you saw that they were flagged as coming from the same computer. Good cover story, quick thinking. And so you know, I knew this young man when he was younger, through my son. I do not know his mother at all, so her picture does me no good.

    Avid Reader: I said I was a journalist for many years, that does not make me better than Julie, her staff or anyone else at the Village News. It just means I understand what she does for a living. And to address your insane assertion that I turned the story toward myself? How can I respond to something like that? Your comment makes no sense. And as for your jab about me being a small town nobody? Thank you. You are correct about that. Anyone who lives in Fallbrook and loves it here, is a small town nobody. I am proud of that moniker.

    Danny M. I cannot agree with you more. The focus should be on this man and his disappearance. I will not respond to anything regarding this nonsense anymore. Julie got my message and my support for a job that is well-done 99.9% of the time.

    Mrs. Barton: I think we all keep your son in our prayers. I forwarded this to several friends who live in Washington and asked them to spread the word too. I hope that helps. I am so sorry for your pain.

  31. Teacher   May 31, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    #23…YOUR put downs to people would have more impact if you spelled correctly. YOU’RE making many grammatical errors.

  32. Maureen Barton   June 1, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I thank everyone for their prayers. We pray along with you. There is so much information about this story, that it is overwhelming. I can’t even begin to tell you. But the bottom line is that Law Enforcement needs training. It would take too much time to tell you our frustration with them. Nine weeks is much to long to start investigating a missing person. Everyone deserves a chance to be found. So thank you again for your good thoughts. I appreciate you (resident) forwarding his information to Washington. I also appreciate the story being written. We need to find our Brian.

  33. nancysongwriter   June 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    resident: shame on you. we all know who you are. behave.

  34. paula   April 10, 2012 at 4:01 am

    I saw the episode on the show disappeared and haven’t been able to think of anything else. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and I wish there was something I could do. I pray Brian comes home safe from today on I will always have him in my prayers and thoughts..

  35. Duane   August 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I should have also stated that I am very sorry that this has occurred & my prayers go out to the family. Those of us that have never experienced this will never fully understand.
    God Bless.


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