Spanish Fork police Tuesday were trying to unravel the mystery of what may have led Bryson Drew, by all accounts a gentle and loving father, to kill his toddler son and then himself.
Police Lt. Matthew R. Johnson said investigators initially have found no evidence of mental illness or depression for Drew, 21, who was found dead in the basement of his home Sunday night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The body of Drew’s 2-year-old son, Chanse, was located in an upstairs bedroom.
Johnson said police were awaiting results of autopsies and forensic tests by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office for official determinations for causes of death, but it appeared the child had died from “blunt force trauma.” It could be six to eight weeks before the Medical Examiner’s Office releases its findings, Johnson said.
Meanwhile, the child’s mother, 20-year-old Breanne Christensen, and other family members are convinced some information — possibly shedding light on what led up to the tragedy — is being withheld from them. Chanse’s grandfather, Brian Christensen, specifically points to possible letters Drew had written in recent days and weeks to Drew’s family.
“I don’t know if something just snapped,” Christensen told KUTV 2 News in a report aired Tuesday morning. “If something happened in a moment of rage, that’s something we would like to know, and we believe that’s addressed in the letters that are being withheld.”
However, Johnson said Tuesday that after questioning Drew’s father, Delbert Drew, detectives do not believe the so-called letters exist.
“Our investigators…had a conversation with Bryson Drew’s father this morning. They questioned him in regards to the allegations of the ‘letters.’ He advised that they do not have any letters,” Johnson said.
Johnson said rumors of the purported existence of the letters apparently came from “misquoted” reports based on comments Delbert Drew left on a local television news site, and misinformation Drew had heard from a relative.
“He had received information from his daughter that [police] had additional letters in addition to the suicide note. The police department does not have any ‘letters,’” Johnson stressed. “His daughter was under this assumption due to several pieces of paper being collected at the scene that [were labeled as evidence with] the word ‘family’ written on a blank sheet of paper.”
Calls Tuesday to Delbert Drew’s Spanish Fork residence seeking comment were not returned.
Breanne Christensen told KUTV that she had never seen a violent side to Bryson Drew, and she did not know of him having a problem with drugs or any other substances. He was a loving father to their son, she added.
However, a family friend, Cami Bird, recalled that when she dropped off Chanse after a trip to a park last week, Bryson seemed stressed. “I was just more worried that he was going to be OK… . I was worried about Bryson.”
Alerted by a 911 call from a family member who lived in the same home at 826 S. Fox Hill Drive (580 East), Spanish Fork police found the bodies about 9 p.m. Sunday.
While a suicide note was also found, Johnson said it was brief and consisted of little more than a division of Drew’s belongings among family members.
Drew, who shared custody of Chanse with Christensen, did not have a criminal record; his last court case involved a child support lien case that was closed on April 10, once payments were satisfied.
Friends have set up the Chanse Drew Benefit Fund at Wells Fargo Bank to help pay for funeral costs.
Michael McFall contributed to this report.