DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been more than a year since 29-year-old Matthew Braswell vanished while running from police, and his family fears he’s no longer alive. 

“It’s heartbreaking, just to know that he just disappeared without a trace and no answers,” Matthew’s sister, Amy Braswell, said. “We just always were real close and if he was ever in trouble, I was always the first person he would call.” 

On Dec. 17, 2021, officials say Matthew was seen in a Chevy Tahoe along with 26-year-old Danny Phillips. The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office said the two were allegedly going through a man’s mailbox, and when the homeowner confronted them, they drove off. 

But the men didn’t make it far, crashing into a tree line along Ponder Road. Phillips was captured, but even after ground, K-9 and air searches, still no sign of Matthew.  

His sister says at this point, her pain has turned into grief.  

“Maybe five months or so after he went missing, after I had my son and never heard anything from him, because then I just knew something was wrong,” Amy said. 

Matthew had run-ins with the law before and struggled with addiction. But loved ones say he always let them know he was okay. 

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The family says they think the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office could do more, including tracking down Matthew’s cell phone. 

News 2 reached out to Sheriff Patrick Ray, asking to speak with him via phone or Zoom. In response, we received this statement: 

“Matthew Braswell is still entered into the national crime information center as a missing person. We are still actively investigating this case and looking into all tips. If anyone has any information, please contact DeKalb County Central Dispatch at 615-215-3000.”

The family plans to hold a memorial for Matthew on March 4 at the Smithville Public Square at 3 p.m. to raise awareness of his case. The public is invited to attend.  

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“Just because he had a little bit of trouble in the past that doesn’t mean anything. He would give somebody the shirt off his back in a heartbeat. He was a great person and a brother, a son, an uncle, a father,” Amy said. “We need answers.”