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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Third local man sought in local homicide

  • Police still seeking third suspect.
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  • After two years of hoping for justice, David Branscum of Arkansas was relieved to hear that his brother’s homicide in Shawnee has been solved and that charges have been filed in the case.
     
    “That just made my whole year,” he said about receiving the call from local authorities.
     
    An anonymous tip and further investigation by Shawnee police detectives led to authorities identifying three suspects in the murder of Alan Wade Branscum, 54.
     
    Alan Branscum, an Arkansas native who was living homeless in Shawnee, was found dead under the Beard Street Bridge in the 800 block of South Beard on the morning of Aug. 6, 2011.
     
    Since late last week, police have arrested two of the three suspects now charged in the case, but were still looking Monday night for Anthony Neal Wood, 21. Police have been circulating wanted posters in the search for Wood on the first-degree murder arrest warrant.
     
    The case filed in Pottawatomie County District Court shows Wood, along with Leland Dale Blanchard Jr., 19, of Shawnee, and Keenan Allen Thorpe, 23, of McLoud, are all three charged in the homicide.
    Blanchard and Thorpe are being held without bond in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center.
     
    The three defendants are accused of unlawfully, and with malice aforethought, striking Branscum multiple times in the head, face and body, the charge shows. The state medical examiner ruled Branscum died of blunt force trauma.
     
    The case was unsolved until recently. On the two-year anniversary of Branscum’s death earlier this month, police were pursuing a new lead based on a tip, which developed into police piecing together more pieces of the puzzle after talking with several people.
     
    According to the warrant, a witness reported he allegedly saw three suspects beating on a man. The suspects were allegedly at the river to drink alcohol when they first encountered Branscum sleeping under the bridge, the affidavit shows.
     
    The witness later heard loud screaming and cursing as some type of altercation was occurring.
     
    David Branscum said family members are relieved the case is solved and he expects they’ll all be remembering Alan when they gather for a family reunion this Labor Day weekend.
     
    “We’re all relieved — it’s hit home for all of us here,” he said. “It tickles me that they are caught.”
     
    And while David Branscum said they had about given up hope over the past two years, he appreciates all those who have worked to make sure his brother’s killers are brought to justice.
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    “I want to thank Detective Ethan Rieves and the whole police force for getting it solved,” David Branscum said.
     

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