IDAHO FALLS — The parents of a missing man from eastern Idaho who disappeared nearly nine months ago are optimistic there will be a break in the case soon.
Dylan Rounds, 20, was farming in the desert town of Lucin, Utah when he vanished over Memorial Day weekend. Nobody has heard from him since, his bank account not been touched and there has been no activity on his cell phone.
Chase Venstra, 41, and James Brenner, 59, two men who interacted with Dylan in the days before he vanished, were arrested in July for felony gun crimes in Utah. They have not been charged in connection to Dylan’s disappearance, but Dylan’s parents believe Brenner, who was squatting on nearby property, knows what happened to their son.
“We have a lot of information, it just cannot publicly be released. It will completely jeopardize the case at this point,” Candice Cooley, Dylan’s mom, tells EastIdahoNews.com. “Things are happening behind the scenes, just not at the speed we want them to. But there is progression.”
Investigators have said there is “substantial evidence” that Dylan was the victim of a homicide and his parents have spent countless hours looking for their son in the remote Utah desert. Although searches have slowed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall, Cooley and Justin Rounds, Dylan’s father, have tried to remain hopeful.
“It still doesn’t even seem real,” Rounds explains. “I’ll just be sitting there some nights and all of a sudden get like a kick in the gut realizing what’s happened. You know that he’s gone…I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Rounds’ parents have publicly expressed disagreements about how the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office in Utah has handled their son’s case. The office is working with the FBI and while Cooley says there have been some “stalls and hiccups” over the past few months, they are patiently waiting for an arrest tied directly to Dylan’s disappearance.
“We do know there’s more evidence. We don’t know what it is but we know that there’s more,” Cooley says.
The parents are working on launching ‘Dylan’s Legacy,’ a non-profit foundation aimed at helping people get resources and assistance when there is a lack of help from law enforcement.
They’re also planning another seed-planting project. Last year, to commemorate Dylan’s 20th birthday, the family asked people around the world to plant seeds in his honor. Over 7,000 packets of seeds were distributed, according to Cooley, and this year they’re focusing on getting sunflower seeds planted by mid-March so they are are fully grown by Aug. 1, Dylan’s 21st birthday.
Watch our entire interview with Cooley and Rounds in the video player above.