Friday, January 27, 2023

Police confirm missing 20-year-old man subject of Virginia Beach Walmart death investigation


VIRGINIA BEACH — Police have confirmed that a missing 20-year-old man is the person who died at a Virginia Beach Walmart on Tuesday.

Virginia Beach Police Department officers were called to the 657 Phoenix Drive store at 2:33 p.m. after it was reported that someone shot themselves at the location, Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce wrote in an email.

When police arrived, they found Michael Bratton dead at the location.

The Office of the Chief’s Medical Examiner could not confirm the cause or matter of Bratton’s death as of 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Pierce said that police do not suspect foul play in connection with his death.

The search for Bratton began after his mother, a Michigan woman named Misty Michelle, filed a missing persons report for her son with the VBPD.

She also took to Facebook asking for people to share his picture and the details of his case.

In a Facebook post that’s been shared more than 235,000 times since it was first published Monday night, Michelle wrote that her son had been missing from Virginia Beach since Jan. 3, a day before a blizzard covered Hampton Roads with eight to 12 inches of snow, making some roads impassable and travel dangerous.

She added that those closest to Bratton hadn’t heard from him, that he hadn’t posted to social media and that when she called his phone it went straight to voicemail.

She also wrote that Bratton didn’t take any clothes or his band equipment with him before he disappeared.

“This is not like my son at all,” she wrote.

Editor’s note: As a policy, Southside Daily does not typically report on self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Because Tuesday’s incident happened in a public place, and readers were asking for information, we believe this report was necessary.

Send news tips to adrienne.m@wydaily.com.

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