Police identify skull as missing Memphis man

The skull, as it was found earlier this week.
The skull, as it was found earlier this week.
Rufus Branch
Rufus Branch

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Police say a human skull found in the front yard of a home on old Raleigh-LaGrange Road belongs to a missing Memphis man.

Late Wednesday afternoon, a police department spokesperson said the skull is Rufus Branch, a 69-year-old man, suffering from dementia, who walked away from a nearby apartment complex on June 6.

"The lieutenant from homicide department came over today and gave us the news," said Rufus' daughter, Caroline Branch.

The announcement put an end to days of wondering, and worrying, about Rufus' fate.

"There's no body," said Branch's niece, Beverly Bolden. "There's just a skull. That's the hurtful part."

Loved ones said Branch was a strong man, a brick layer who worked in all kinds of weather until he suffered a stroke a year ago.  They hoped he could survive the Memphis heat if he was lost and confused.

Relatives say after they posted missing persons signs all around the area, they received many calls from people who said they had spotted Branch

Wednesday, they wondered wonder if any of those leads were true.

"This is my opinion on it. I think its foul play, because the whole story don't add up," Durelle Branch said.

Investigators are now searching for the rest of Branch's remains, hoping to give his relatives the answers they're so desperately seeking.

"My dad is gone, but still that's not going to stop me from answers that I need - that I deserve," Caroline Branch said.

If you have information that could aid the police investigation into Branch's death, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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