Bucks County

‘Foul Play' Suspected as 2 Men Missing for Months in Bucks County

A Sellersville man and his co-worker vanished more than two months ago after getting off work. Neither has been in touch with their families, but video surveillance has led Bucks County officials to believe one of the missing men is a person of interest in the other's disappearance.

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Two co-workers vanished from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, more than two months ago and local authorities believe foul play is behind their disappearances, authorities said Wednesday.

A nationwide search is underway for Matthew Branning and Michael Allen Stark, who worked together at a business in Silverdale, Pennsylvania, county District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said.

Branning has not been seen since Oct. 15 and Stark has only been seen once since that day -- at a pawn shop in Michigan in mid-November.

"I don't believe in coincidence. So candidly, we suspect foul play," Weintraub told reporters. "Nobody quit the job. They just stopped appearing. It's like they ceased to exist."

Video surveillance on the day they disappeared, along with cell phone and toll road data, has given law enforcement officials a glimpse at what Branning and Stark may have been up to in the hours after they were last seen.

Both left work Oct. 15, and about 4 p.m. that afternoon, surveillance video showed Branning in his 2002 Lexus stopping at an ATM in Sellersville, near his home, Weintraub said. Another person could be seen in the backseat of Branning's car, but the person could not be identified through the video. No one was in the front seat.

Cell phone data then showed Branning's car in central New Jersey about an hour late, then ending up in Cape May, New Jersey.

At about 9:30 p.m. that night, Branning's cell phone was used at a Wawa in Cape May and Stark, his co-worker, could be seen on surveillance video making a purchase at that convenience store, Weintraub said. Branning was not seen.

The last known location of Branning's car was recorded later that evening through toll road data: The car was heading north and then west on the Atlantic City Expressway.

"Since that date, unfortunately, there has been no activity on Branning's cell phone, in his bank account, or any contact with his family," Weintraub said. "Every attempt that we and others have made to locate his vehicle has turned up nothing."

Matthew Branning, left, and Michael Allen Stark have been missing since Oct. 15, 2021.

Stark, however, has been seen one time since on surveillance video at a pawn shop in Michigan, Weintraub said.

The 47-year-old from Royersford, Pennsylvania, pawned a bike on Nov. 13 at Garden City Pawn in Garden City, Michigan, he said.

Since then, Stark has not been seen.

Branning, 50, worked at the business in Silverdale, Bucks County, for the last nine years. It is unknown how long Stark worked there.

Weintraub said both men have been entered into nationwide missing persons databases and authorities describe Stark is a person of interest in Branning's disappearance.

He did not identify a motive for the disappearances.

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