THE MISSING FILES: Family friend of Ira Briscoe who vanished in 2020 alleges he was 'lured and killed'
The Missing Files is a weekly special feature that looks into cases of missing people across America that have shattered communities and families. It delves into the known facts and the latest updates on these mysterious disappearances.
HOWELL COUNTY, MISSOURI: The last time anyone spoke to Ira Briscoe was December 17, 2020. More than two years have passed after Ira, from Howell County, mysteriously disappeared. Authorities have reportedly continued to investigate suspicious circumstances around his disappearance. Ira, who was 25 when he went missing, was not the only person who disappeared that day. His roommate, Limon Landon Little, was also seen for the last time on the same day.
Investigators said they used various techniques to try and find the two men, including search warrants, investigative subpoenas and over 100 interviews. Howell County, Oregon County, Douglas County, West Plains and parts of Arkansas have been searched in an effort to look for them.
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Christi Nichols-Clarke, who is close with Ira's mother Marilyn, opened up about the case during a conversation with MEAWW. She handles a Facebook page, Ira Lee Briscoe “Bring Ira Home”, dedicated to finding Ira. "My children went to school at Glenwood Elementary School with Ira. When I found out he was missing I couldn’t believe how many people in our small county were not aware of it. It was heartbreaking," Christi said. "Marilyn and I have become outspoken advocates for Ira and the many other missing people in our community."
Speaking of Ira, Christi said, "As a child, Ira was sweet but had a mischievous and funny side. He had a strong personality. He was extremely helpful to anyone who needed it and was known to offer his home to anyone who needed a safe place stay -- a trait he learned from his mother who he loved dearly. He had a beautiful smile and was extremely close with his father and big sister. Family meant a lot to Ira and he never let a day pass without contacting his mom or dad."
Mysterious circumstances around Ira's disappearance
Ira was last seen near his home in rural Howell County, near the Lanton area. He was reported missing by his parents on December 23, 2020. "During the last conversation with his mother, Ira confided that he was worried about some people who he had previously been friends with. One of these men had previously attacked him and broken his jaw. Video of this attack was sent to his mother after Ira went missing. Months before his disappearance, someone burned Ira's truck to the ground," Christi recalled.
On being asked what she suspected may have happened to Ira, she said," There are a lot of rumors, that’s part of small town life. Both Ira and his roommate Limon went missing without a trace on the same day, and I think they were lured to a location by the young man who attcked Ira. I feel like he killed Ira and Limon and disposed of them in multiple locations in Howell County Missouri and Arkansas."
Christi said that days after Ira went missing, someone took his car to a junkyard and spray-painted it. She said that the people, whose identities she did not disclose, claimed the car was given to them. "We believe that they are involved," Christi said. The car was later discovered by detectives.
Who is the man Christi suspects may have hurt Ira?
"Ira was dating a girl on and off who was attached to the man who had attacked Ira previously, and who we suspect may have killed him," Christi said. "We know the girl knows something."
It was reported that a day before Ira went missing, two people exchanged gunfire inside a house in nearby Koshkonong. Investigators said that both the men involved in the fight knew Ira, and that there could be connection. "Yes, we think Ira's disappearance and the fight between the two men have a connection," Christi said. "We think there are definitely three men and one woman involved."
"Ira's mom is convinced that the shooting incident had something to do with Ira," Christi added. "I’m originally from a big city and have traveled, and I can honestly say that this small town is a scary place to live. People disappear and are murdered often and you never see it in the news. It’s not right."
A chilling tip
Christi alleged that Ira's home was burglarized between the last day he was heard from and the day he was reported missing. "We know for a fact that SD cards were removed from the game cameras surrounding his property," she claimed.
"We were recently given a tip that a phone call had been made from the man we suspect hurt Ira, where he admitted he had something to do with Ira going missing. Although police said they are looking into it, we are not convinced," said Christi.
"We believe the guy who broke Ira's jaw and his girlfriend had something to do with luring him, but multiple people commited the actual crime and disposed of him," Christi said. "We have been told that he was dismembered and put into totes which were duct taped and put separately into caves and ponds in the area."
In July 2021, police said that several people believed to be assosiated with the case were behind bars. The sheriff’s office said arrests and charges were due to unrelated crimes, however, they have been used to move the investigation ahead.
'Law enforcement has gone weeks without answering phone calls'
Christi recalled how Marilyn tried to organize searched many times in the beginning. "Many people showed up during the first search, but the police called it off stating that if there was any type of evidence, people would ruin it," claimed Christi. "The last time Ira's mom tried to search, she called and asked the police if she could do it. However, they showed up with only two officers."
"They have gone weeks and months without answering Marilyn's phone calls, only to finally answer or call and tell her that they are following leads and will get back to her soon."
Last year, the sheriff’s office said, according to KY3, "The gravity of this case has been prioritized above other significant cases and the man hours accumulated during this investigative process is expansive. Lastly, the Howell County Sheriff’s Office will continue to remain vigilant in gaining the necessary closure for all those involved."
'Marilyn has been in dumpsters looking for Ira's body'
On being asked if searches are being arranged by locals, Christi said, "Ira's mother and a few friends have searched in places no parent should ever be forced to. She has followed leads that the police would not. She has been in dumpsters looking for her son's body, she has been in caves and and in sink holes. She has personally taken leads to the police department many times, but to no avail."
"Unfortunately, there has been a very small community response. We had a candlelight community vigil for Ira the first year he was gone. We specifically chose to have the visual less than 50 yards from the Howell County Sheriff‘s department. We invited the sheriff to speak at the vigil but he did not show up. There was never once a missing persons poster put up by the police department."
On December 17, 2022, exactly two years after Ira disappeared, a balloon release and remembrance ceremony was arranged. "The Howell County Sheriff‘s department was asked to speak at that as well but they did not show up," she said.
"I would like to tell law enforcement that please remember that this person is someone’s son, brother and friend. His family deserves answers. Please do your job," Christi concluded, adding, "If Ira could hear us we would tell him we will not give up, and we will not stop looking."