‘You had a good dad’ — family mourns missing man found dead in KC

Brandon Herring was busy picking up toys, clothes, diapers and other necessities in anticipation of the birth of his son when he disappeared in November. His body was found Saturday in Kansas City.
Brandon Herring was busy picking up toys, clothes, diapers and other necessities in anticipation of the birth of his son when he disappeared in November. His body was found Saturday in Kansas City.

Brandon Herring had no problem showing how excited he was about the pending birth of his son.

Herring, 21, of Raytown, had already decided to name the boy King Joseph, a biblical reference. He also filled a room in his mother’s house with a collection of toys, a car seat, diapers, tennis shoes, clothes and an abundance of other supplies.

He especially loved one shirt that had “Daddy’s Little Boy” written across the chest. Herring brought something new for the baby almost every day, said his mother, Rhonda Herring.

“That baby was good until he’s at least 3 years old,” she said.

But Brandon Herring, a carpenter, mechanic and an aspiring singer, went missing Nov. 22, two months before his son was due.

Police and relatives spent the last two months searching for Herring, who told his mother earlier that day that he was looking to buy a new car. He never returned home or returned his mother’s repeated phone calls. Herring missed Thanksgiving dinner.

His whereabouts remained a mystery until Saturday, when the father and another relative of missing woman Jessica Runions discovered Herring’s decomposing body in a creek bed near East 67th Terrace and Lewis Avenue in Kansas City.

John Michael Runions said he and others were out searching for his daughter, who went missing in September, and discovered Herring’s body. It was roughly 12 feet from the road, face up in the creek bed covered with debris.

“That was the best relief that I could have asked for,” Rhonda Herring said. “I prayed that they find his body, because I knew my son was already with God on Nov. 23.

“You know, God gives you signs if you pay attention, and I paid attention.”

The cause of death has not been determined, but police said they are investigating the discovery as a homicide, said Sgt. Kari D. Thompson, a police spokeswoman.

Investigators are trying to determine how long the body had been there. There were several identifying marks on his body.

Rhonda Herring said that her son was fatally shot.

“Brandon was a big, lovable teddy bear,” she said. “He was a fun, loving person. He would take baths and change clothes two or three times a day, that was his personality; he thought of himself as vain and handsome.”

Herring said she had emotionally prepared herself that her son’s body would eventually be located. She took refuge in her faith along with the comfort and support of her family and friends.

Family and relatives spent weeks searching for Brandon Herring, who had spent time with friends at the Park Meadows apartments at 79th Street and Sycamore Avenue in Kansas City.

“For the last two months, I waited,” Rhonda Herring said. “We stayed prayed up. I believed; I have faith. I have no control, so all I could do is pray and wait.”

Brandon Herring graduated from Raytown South High School in 2013, where he played football and enjoyed singing. He has an older sister.

Working various jobs after graduation, Brandon Herring went into a music studio and made several recordings. He loved carpentry, installing roofs and repairing electronics, his mother said.

Rhonda Herring said she last spoke to her son Nov. 21, one day before he was reported missing.

“I told him that I loved him, and he said, ‘I love you, too,’ ” Herring said. “That was the main part, that’s why I can stay strong. We always tell each other that we love each other.”

King Joseph Herring was born a month ago. Herring will one day tell her grandson how much his father loved him.

“I will say to him, ‘You had a good dad, he was a loving daddy with a big heart,’ ” she said.

Memorial services will be 3 p.m. Saturday at the Watkins Heritage Memorial Chapel at 4000 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.

Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar