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Family of Five Disappears, Home in Shambles

April 3, 1986

PLACENTIA, Calif. (AP) _ A computer expert, his wife and three children disappeared after a trip to the desert, leaving their home in disarray and puzzling relatives and authorities, police said Wednesday.

A teletype reporting the Braun family of Placentia missing was sent to law enforcement agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, but Placentia police Lt. Ken Rowley said foul play was not suspected.

Floyd Braun, 41, his wife Linda, 42, and their three children, ranging in age from 3 months to 14 years, were last heard from Saturday. There had been no further contact with them as of Wednesday evening, Rowley said.

The Brauns missed a string of weekend engagements, including an Easter reunion with relatives, police Detective John Armstrong said.

″I have never known him (Floyd) to go out there (in the desert), number one, and number two, he is a very organized person who schedules everything out to the nth degree,″ said Jim Braun, his brother.

The Brauns’ house in Placentia, 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, was usually tidy but was left a shambles, Jim Braun said. Pictures were knocked off walls, furniture moved and rarely used silverware and goblets taken out of a cabinet.

″If there was a madness involved there, it looks like there was a method to it,″ he said.

Police have ruled out burglary, noting that all windows and doors were locked and valuables were not taken.

Braun, a computer consultant, called his mother-in-law Saturday and said he had taken the family to the desert near Palm Springs, 120 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, and had gotten lost, police said.

He told his mother-in-law he was no longer lost and that the family would be home in time for his wife to babysit a relative’s children.

But the Brauns, including Scott, 3 months, Michelle, 10, and Eric, 14, failed to return home or to call again. They were presumed to be in a blue 1983 Mercury Marquis, police said.

Relatives said the sudden trip was unusual for the family. In addition to the Easter get-together, they missed church appointments Friday and Sunday, when Braun was to complete his conversion from Lutheranism to Catholicism, said Jim Braun.

Floyd and Linda, a lifelong Catholic, had their marriage re-blessed by a priest the week before their disappearance, Jim Braun said.

Braun, a successful computer consultant, had worked on a project for Rockwell International for the last three months, his brother said. Braun missed work Friday, police said.

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