Medra Justis of Clemmons, N.C., is Marsha Ellen Brantley’s aunt. The family has raised $5,000 to aid in the search for information on Brantley.
“Our family recently held a reunion and everyone was aware of Marsha’s disappearance,” Justis said.
Brantley disappeared sometime during the early part of June 2009, according to investigators at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and TBI. However, she was not reported missing until the fall of that year. Her husband, Donnie Brantley, told the TBI his wife had left him and they were planning a divorce, according to information from TBI.
Justis and other family members have traveled to Cleveland during recent months, placing posters offering a reward for information on the case.
“At our last Rader Family Reunion in July, we had 75 or 80 aunts, uncles and cousins in attendance. I gave an update on Marsha’s situation and also told them of the need to step up the investigation. I asked them if they would be willing to help out in offering a reward for information in Marsha’s disappearance,” Justis explained.
“The interest was overwhelming. Marsha’s entire family is concerned about her disappearance and since she has no parents or siblings to fight for her, we are willing to do whatever is necessary to try and find her.”
The family reunion was held in Greenville, where most of the Rader family resides.
Brantley was a former employee of Lee University, and a writer. She was an advocate for pet rescue as well.
The idea to attempt to raise reward funding came from Medra’s husband, Frank.
The Justises and niece Jana Wills of Greenville spearheaded the reward fund’s collection.
“Jana and I gave family members a form to fill out consisting of their personal information and the amount they were willing to contribute to the reward fund. When we collected the forms and totaled them, we had a total of $5,000,” Medra said.
“Hopefully the governor (Bill Haslam) will match that.”
State Rep. Kevin Brooks got on the bandwagon recently when family and friends of Brantley met at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office prior to a poster blitz in Cleveland and Kingston, Ga., reportedly Donnie Brantley’s hometown, according to Medra.
Brooks said, “It hit home when I saw the poster.”
Brooks was entering a local restaurant and saw his former Lee alumni and co-worker’s family had been working to find answers to her disappearance.
Brooks has petitioned the governor’s office for specific reward money.
According to the investigation, “Brantley was known to enjoy camping and frequently spent time in a family owned camper in Townsend. Investigators have not found the camper and are seeking information about it as well. Investigators indicated the camper was a large, pull-behind style.”
Brantley is described as being a white female, weighing approximately 125 pound and being 5 feet 8 inches tall. She has light brown hair and blue eyes.
Anyone who may be able to provide information regarding Marsha Ellen Brantley is asked to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office at 728-7336, or the Bradley County Hotline at 728-7311.
“Someone knows something and we hope this will help investigators get good information regarding Marsha’s whereabouts,” Medra said.