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The Ghosts of War: The Tragic Tale of Brian Harris and the Search for Closure

The convoluted tale of Brian Harris, a 38-year-old military veteran, has been plagued by a series of mysterious events that have left his family desperately searching for answers. Last summer, Harris’ mental health issues reached a breaking point, resulting in his family taking him to a hospital in southern Arizona for a psychiatric evaluation.

Despite his request to be placed in a treatment center, Harris was discharged and sent back to his home in Prescott Valley. His family noticed a marked improvement in his behavior, but Harris suddenly disappeared after purchasing an assortment of outdoor supplies. The Harris family has been unable to locate Brian or any clues to his whereabouts for almost a year.

Harris’ family believes his struggles with mental health began after he completed two combat tours in Iraq, where he was exposed to trauma that led to depression and suicidal ideation. Unfortunately, Harris is not alone in his struggles; almost 16% of service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have screened positively for symptoms of PTSD, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Despite periodic moments of stability and efforts to leave behind his traumatic memories, Harris’ mental health continued to decline, and he would fall into dark holes of depression. His last stint at a VA facility in southern Arizona ended with a one-week supply of medication and a follow-up appointment scheduled at the facility in Prescott.

The Harris family made sure to keep a close eye on him, but he vanished after suggesting a camping trip. After a few days of not hearing from Brian, his mother received a call from a VA staff member who informed her that Brian had missed an appointment, leading to his family reporting him missing to local police.

Prescott Valley police conducted interviews with Brian’s neighbors, searched his phone records, and reached out to other agencies, but all efforts to locate him were futile. In October 2021, Brian’s 1983 Chevrolet Suburban was found abandoned on a dirt road near Needles, California, by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, with no signs of foul play or Brian himself.

Although the Harris family has been communicating with organizations specializing in locating missing people and providing DNA samples to investigators, the mystery surrounding Brian’s disappearance remains unsolved. The randomness of the items found in his car has left his family wondering if he left them as clues, and whether he took his own life, got lost, or simply doesn’t want to be found.

“I cry myself to sleep a lot,” Peggy, Brian’s mother, told 12 News, expressing the family’s desperate need to find a resolution and escape the feeling of being left in the dark.