Metro-East News

Missing O'Fallon man found dead in Arkansas River

Brennen Willis’ final moments in Little Rock, Ark.

The body of Brennen Willis of O'Fallon, who went missing Saturday night in Little Rock, Arkansas, was found Monday in the Arkansas River, police said.
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The body of Brennen Willis of O'Fallon, who went missing Saturday night in Little Rock, Arkansas, was found Monday in the Arkansas River, police said.

The body of an O'Fallon man who went missing Saturday night in Little Rock, Arkansas, was found Monday in the Arkansas River, police said.

Little Rock police spokesman Steve Moore told Arkansas Online that authorities received a call at about 1:15 p.m. Monday from someone who saw the body floating in the river from a hotel window.

Police identified Brennen Willis, 28, of O'Fallon, from an ID card he had on him. Willis had not been in the water long enough where his body was distorted. There were no signs of obvious trauma on his body, Moore said.

Willis, who was known as Bryn, was last seen Saturday night when he left the hotel he and his family were staying at for a wedding to go for a jog. He was staying at the Courtyard Hotel downtown, and he left to go for a jog at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He posted a SnapChat story about an hour later from the Robinson Center Auditorium, less than a mile from where his body was found.

He has worked for the O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Department on and off since 2009.

His family posted on a Facebook page dedicated to searching for him after his death was confirmed by police.

"Thank you all for your prayers, love and support over the last two days. It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Bryn has been found but has passed on from this life.

At this time, we do not know the specific details of our beloved Bryn’s passing, but the authorities have assured us that they will let us and the public know when that information becomes available. Out of respect for the family, we ask that no one speculates on the details surrounding this tragedy. However, if you saw anything suspicious late Saturday night, we’re asking you to call the Little Rock Police Department.

We would like to say thank you to all of the volunteers, the Little Rock Community and the Little Rock Police and Fire Departments for their efforts in helping us locate Bryn. We are blessed to have been shown such love in a city that was not our own. We would also like to thank everyone that has shown support from Bryn’s hometown community in southern Illinois and St. Louis. To everyone that has donated, volunteered or supported us in the last 48 hours, we are overwhelmed by your love and generosity.

We originally started the Bring Bryn Home GoFundMe page to help fund expenses for search. In a matter of hours we more than doubled our goal. If you would like to contribute to the Bring Bryn Home fund, we will be leaving the page open for a few more days and all funds will be used to transport Bryn back to his hometown in Illinois and for funeral arrangements. Any remaining funds will be donated to a charity of the family's choosing."

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