ABOVE: Brian Klecha. Photo via Facebook.
LAKELAND, Fla. | Authorities, advocates and the family of Brian Klecha are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the closure of the Polk County man’s missing persons case.
Klecha, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former Walt Disney World employee believed to be openly gay, was last seen on Dec. 27, 2017 at the age of 35. According to authorities, he was completing a banking transaction at a MidFlorida Credit Union in Auburndale.
The Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement (FDLE) began investigating Klecha’s disappearance due to the case’s multi-jurisdictional nature. He had ties to Hillsborough, Orange and Polk counties and agents believe he did not leave or go missing on his own. They further note he may have been the victim of domestic or drug abuse.
“Brian was an amazingly kind person,” Klecha’s mother Kathy tells Watermark. “Brian worked at Disney as a bus driver and also worked as an Uber driver for extra money. Brian liked to read science fiction and about airplanes.”
He is further described by family members as a white male with short, blonde hair. They note he has green eyes, a deep cleft chin and stands six feet tall.
His mother says Klecha moved to a shared Lakeland residence with multiple roommates Dec. 15, 2017, just 12 days before he was last seen at the credit union. She explains that he was withdrawing $200 from his bank account that he’d just received for Christmas.
FDLE and the Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center first sought the public’s help in locating Klecha in 2018. “In March, a third-party using Klecha’s car was involved in a traffic accident in the Tampa area,” FDLE released Aug. 16, 2018. “Police could not locate Klecha at the time and he has not had any contact with friends or family. There is concern for his well-being.”
On Dec. 26, 2019, FDLE renewed their call for public assistance. “A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading to the identification and arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in the Brian Edward Klecha missing persons case,” FDLE released. “FDLE agents continue to search for the 35-year-old who was last seen on December 27, 2017. The reward is being offered by the family of Brian Klecha, Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay and FDLE.”
The department now advises Klecha’s vehicle was found abandoned on State Rd. 618 in Tampa on Feb. 11, 2018. Investigators believe it had been involved in a car accident a few days prior.
“After two years, we continue to work leads in this case, but we need more information,” FDLE Tampa Bay Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell said. “Someone knows what happened to Brian or where he is now, and we won’t stop until we know.”
Public assertions by social media accounts dedicated to locating her son and maintained by Klecha’s mother seemingly implicate his previous roommates in the disappearance. As the case is currently active, FDLE advised Watermark, authorities are unable to comment.
“Brian has not been found and charges have not been filed,” Klecha’s mother says. She also adds that “Brian would not abandon his vehicle and he would call family if something was wrong.”
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Brian Klecha is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 800-873-TIPS (8477). Tips can remain anonymous and can also be reported at CrimeStoppersTB.com or by using the P3 Tips Mobile application.