Detective and family meet 8 years after retired Davidson County Sheriff Captain vanished

Unsolved Tennessee

Jurisdictional dispute caused major delay in missing persons investigation

Eight years after former Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Captain John A. Brewer, Jr. went missing, his family said they believe his case has been botched. 

“For three years from the time he went missing, nobody looked, did anything. They didn’t even have a police report,” said Lynda Brewer, Brewer’s daughter.

Lynda told News 2 a jurisdictional dispute caused the delay, “Metro and Ashland City had this battle about whose case it was, because he left Metro and went to Cheatham County.”

Lieutenant Ken Miller with the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office has been working to make up for lost time. 

“There’s a whole lot of unanswered questions, and a lot of that comes in because we’re dealing with two different jurisdictions and the delay in actually getting this information that he’s missing,” Lt. Miller said. “My first involvement with this was in 2019.” 

After Brewer left his career in law enforcement, his family said he suffered from mental illness. He was ordered to live at a halfway house after an incident involving a gun in 2011. 

“My dad thought he was a U.S. Marshal and tried to attack his neighbor. He didn’t kill his neighbor, thank God, but he could have. He shot at him,” Lynda said. “They found my dad not guilty by mental defect. They sent him to Middle Tennessee Mental Health. “ 

In May of 2013, just a few days after checking into the halfway house on Jefferson Street in Nashville, he got up before breakfast and left in a yellow taxi. From there he went to a bank in Pegram, where he had previously lived, and withdrew $500. 

“While he’s waiting on them to process that transaction, he had asked to speak with a particular teller there, or a particular worker. She wasn’t available to speak with him immediately, so at that point he became a little annoyed is kind of what they explained to me. They continued to do his transaction; he got his money and then he was able to talk to that lady and ask her if she would be willing to give him a ride. By this time, he’s already been a little loud and a little obnoxious in the bank and she said ‘I can’t give you a ride. I can’t leave work.’ And at that point he went back out, got in a taxi cab and left,” Lt. Miller said.  

Brewer’s family disputed the interaction at the bank was unruly.

“They closed his account. We get the report from the bank. My dad walks in, the lady says ‘hi how are you this morning’, and my dad didn’t respond. That was her saying my dad was acting erratic.” Lynda continued, “He asked for $200, upped it to [$500] and left the bank in a car no body claims they saw and was never seen again.” 

Cheatham County deputies were called about the bank incident, but that’s the last time they would be involved until six years later. 

“Our officers got there within 10 minutes of the phone call that ‘hey we’ve got a problem here’ and by then he’s already gone and left,” Lt. Miller said. “He went back out and got in the cab and headed back towards Nashville. So, we didn’t really have a whole lot to go with at that time other than just an unruly customer”

Lt. Miller added, “2019 is when they first approached Sheriff Breedlove, and he asked me to sit in on a meeting with him, and see what I could do to try to help them with this case.” 

With eight years gone by, Lt. Miller said solving the case will be difficult.  

“How does that make your job so much more complicated?” News 2’s Nikki McGee asked.  

“Just trying to find records. The cab company that he came out with, they no longer have records from that time span of who was driving, where, when,” Lt. Miller said.  

Johnny A. Brewer, Jr. (NAMUS)

Although Lynda admits her family wasn’t the closest with her father, they still want him found. 

“He has three grandkids he doesn’t know,” Lynda said. “They talk about Grandpa Johnny, that’s what they call him. They know he’s missing. They talk about him being missing. Grandkids should not have to talk about their grandfather missing.” 

Brewer’s niece, Myrna Davis, also wants answers. “He’s not just some homeless guy that got in some trouble with the law, mentally ill. He was at one time a sheriff’s captain. He has kids; he has grandkids; you know we care what happened to him. And that’s all we want to know; what happened to him?” Davis said.  

News 2 arranged to have Lt. Miller and Brewer’s family sit down together. Since that meeting, Lt. Miller said he has some new information to investigate. Sadly, neither party believes Brewer is still alive. 

“There is no way that he’s been gone for eight years and has not come across the police at one time or another,” Davis said.  

Lynda added, “My dad had that police mentality. He would have either started trouble trying to arrest somebody or got into a scuffle trying to arrest somebody.”

News 2 reached out to Metro police to ask why a missing persons report was filed on brewer in 2016 and not three years earlier. Metro told News 2 they simply wanted a “notation” of it since he lived in Nashville, but said it was not their case to investigate because he was last seen in Cheatham County. 

News 2 has seen some movement on the case since digging deeper into it.

The family told News 2 they wanted the TBI to investigate the case. However, the District Attorney’s office has to make that request. So, we reached out to DA Ray Crouch to see if that’s something he would consider. We’ve since put Crouch and the Brewer family in contact, and Crouch confirmed he plans to meet with them soon.

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