As a Marine charged with desertion and wanted in connection with the murder of his mother’s boyfriend continues to elude authorities, a group of more than 1,050 followers have established a Facebook page in support of him.
“We Support Justice for Michael Brown,” has a string of supportive comments, some of which question the official version of events but most of which want to see the 22-year-old Marine continue his run or at least to avoid a tragic ending.
“Anyone who supports Michael Brown and believes he is innocent and wants to wish him well in this chaos here is a place to do that,” the group’s description reads. Not sure if he’ll “see it but ...Marine you did well now keep up the safe travels well be praying for you.”
The 6-foot, 145 pound male has been added to the FBI’s wanted list, with a $10,000 reward from the U.S. Marshals Service for information leading to the Marine’s location and arrest.
Cpl. Michael Alexander Brown failed to report for duty on Oct. 24 at 8th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Capt. Robert Vachon, 2nd Marine Logistics Group spokesman, previously told Marine Corps Times.
Official accounts of what has led to the manhunt for Brown allege that he killed his mother’s boyfriend and fled the area, only to return a few days later.
But supporters on the group page have defended Brown and question official versions.
Some don’t believe that Brown committed the murder.
“Not sure if he’s innocent but would bet the house there’s more to the story than is apparent,” a member of the private group posted. “Just hoping he’ll be able to tell his story.”
Some have called for local supporters to rally at the county courthouse to show their support for Brown. Others have recommended putting up yellow lightbulbs or yellow ribbons on their houses, some have called for a fundraising campaign to establish a legal fund for Brown.
The 22-year-old combat engineer initially was listed under unauthorized absence, but days later, after being listed as a suspect in a murder case, was classified as a military deserter.
Shortly after his failure to report for duty, Brown was reported staying in a recreational vehicle at Elliott’s Landing campground near Lake Marion in Clarendon County, South Carolina.
Authorities in Franklin County, Virginia, the location of Brown’s home of record in Roanoke, Virginia, told media that he had been seen in the area just prior to and shortly after the death of his mother’s boyfriend, Rodney Wilfred Brown, 54, on Nov. 9.
Brown’s mother told police that her son shot her boyfriend and then fled.
Police released information that they believed Brown returned to South Carolina following the death, where he left a black Lincoln Town Car he’d been towing behind the RV.
But, on Nov. 13, someone reported to authorities that Brown was tapping on the window of his grandmother’s house. Police responded and put area schools on lockdown, issuing warnings to the community.
U.S. Marshals and local police found the RV in the Roanoke area, authorities demolished the vehicle in a search for explosives. Brown is a combat engineer. That job specialty often receives explosives training.
Both Brown’s mother and grandmother and an attorney hired to represent him have pleaded for the Marine to turn himself into authorities.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.