National news hits former home.
Missing persons turns to murder case.
Transylvania has often been a word associated with nightmares. This time the nightmare has come true for former Skaneateles residents John (Jack) and Irene Bryant. They are the older couple who came up missing after going for a hike in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina's Transylvania county on Oct. 20.
As many before them, the Bryants left Skaneateles for warmer environs in 1990. They were both outdoor enthusiasts.
The search for the Bryants didn't begin until Nov. 6. According to Mark Schulman a Blueridge Now Times-News Staff Writer, the couple's neighbors in Horse shoe, NC, noticed mail and newspapers piling up and notified one of their sons. It was reported that a son flew up from Texas and could not find his parent's car or any word from them. He notified authorities and a search began, which found the couple's car on Yellow Gap Road, near the start of a hiking trail, but was unable to locate Irene, 84, and Jack, 79. The search had eventually been called off.
Then local sheriff's investigations turned up a dropped call from the Bryant's cellphone on Oct. 21, which was headed for a 911 center. The center never received that call.
Next, a person was caught on film using the Bryant's ATM card to withdraw $300 in nearby Duckhill, Tenn. The FBI set up a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person using the Bryant's ATM card. There is also a hot line ready for anyone with information regarding the couple's disappearance. The number is 828-862-3645.
The search resumed, this time with a shoulder to shoulder grid, and Irene's body was discovered 30 yards from their car. It was badly decomposed. The medical examiner reported that Irene's cause of death had been blunt force trauma to her head. Her husband Jack is still missing, and the search continues for him and killer with a big head start.
Jack Bryant served for many years as Skaneateles Town Attorney. He was also an engineer, while Irene was a veterinarian.