In my first post to this blog I mentioned that it is difficult to articulate exactly why Brandon has affected me personal as much as it has. Is it simply a case of good PR on the part of the parents to encourage the search effort, resulting in a 'media darling' of a story? After all, many youngsters go missing every year, and many of those receive very little press.
I certainly consider myself to be somewhat 'media-savvy', and not prone to be affected by the 'heartstrings' stories. Yet Brandon's story has certainly affected me. More than that, many of the seasoned police officers working closely on the case admit to being deeply involved on an emotional level. Sgt Dave Goodbrand, Barrie Police spokesman, admits to thinking often about Brandon as he went home to his own children. Det-Const Scott Aldridge, one of the case's lead investigators, a 22 year veteran of policing, called the case "an emotional roller coaster". Barrie Staff Sgt Dave Hossack, who led many of the police search and rescue efforts, admitted that "every police officer, at the end of their career, has certain events that will stick with them; for me, this will be one of them."
Maybe it's because Brandon reminds so many people of others that they care about - their kids, their friends from their youth, maybe even themselves when they were 15. A bit short and slightly-built for his age, he's the type of kid that you think deserves a little extra protection from 'up above'; when tragedy strikes, it just seems a bit more 'unfair'.
At a candlelight vigil on November 10th, Brandon's 17-year-old sister Natasha stated "I'm so proud of him, and amazed that he touched so many people's lives". He truly has touched the lives of thousands, and speaking for myself I certainly don't feel that those emotions have been misplaced.