IDAHO FALLS — A court hearing for the man accused of killing Dylan Rounds was postponed this week as the search for Rounds continues in the remote Utah desert.
James Brenner, 59, is charged with aggravated murder and abuse or desecration of a human body along with some firearms charges. A hearing was scheduled Monday in Brigham City but was continued, leaving Rounds’ family frustrated.
“We understand our justice system is slow but we have had charges since March and have not even had an arraignment. That’s just unheard of,” Candice Cooley, Rounds’ mother, tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Brenner was squatting on property near Rounds’ trailer when the 19-year-old disappeared from his farm in the remote town of Lucin, Utah over Memorial Day weekend in 2022. His body has not been found but Rounds’ boots were discovered near a dirt mound and his phone was at the bottom of a pond near Brenner’s trailer.
Brenner has a violent criminal history and was arrested in June 2022 on outstanding warrants. He was booked into the Weber County Jail in Ogden, Utah on federal charges and then, in March, Box Elder County Attorney Blair Wardle announced Brenner was the suspect in Rounds’ murder case.
Because he faces federal and state charges, there have been complications with Brenner’s court proceedings.
“Here’s the problem that is presented in this case. Mr. Brenner is in federal custody and each time this court acts, it has to get permission from the federal government to bring Mr. Brenner in,” Utah First District Judge Brandon Maynard said during a June hearing.
Despite the delays, Rounds’ family has spent the summer searching for Dylan in Lucin with heavy equipment and K9 teams focused on the area where Brenner was staying before Rounds disappeared.
“That’s all we have to go off of. People ask us all the time what’s new with the search and we really kept everything we are doing private because of how much craziness there has been with people coming out. We’re out there and we’re looking but we are keeping it to our private groups right now,” Cooley explains.
Cooley also attended CrimeCon in Orlando, Florida last month and spoke on a panel with Gabby Petito’s parents and David Robinson, the father of a young man missing in Arizona. She was interviewed by multiple media outlets and visited with families who have missing loved ones.
“There are so many stories like Dylan’s that haven’t received any attention,” she told EastIdahoNews.com at the event. “There are some people fighting to get the word out and they get nothing. We want to bring the awareness and work with these people to get some help.”
Brenner’s next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 13 in Box Elder County, Utah.
Watch our interview with Candice Cooley in the video player above.