20180524_local_CBS_cold_case

Brandi Wells (Courtesy photo)

A surveillance video and hope are all Brandi Wells' family has left to hold on to after she vanished 12 years ago from Graham Central Station in Longview.

The recently enrolled Trinity Valley Community College student was working on getting her degree in education after putting it on hold a few years before while trying to start a family.

Brandi was newly divorced and living in Tyler with her mother.

"She had been doing everything to get her degree in teaching," said Michelle Cole, Brandi's godmother.

She had applied for a job at Walmart and was eager to start classes, but long wanted to make new friends.

"She had been away for a while, so she didn't have any real connections besides family, so she had gone to this club to meet new people — no one in particular — just to meet new people that she could hang out with on the weekends," Cole said.

On Aug. 2, 2006, Brandi decided to go to Graham Central Station alone, despite a warning from her godmother.

"I tried to discourage her from going, I certainly told her if she was going, not to go alone. Brandi still made the decision to go alone, which should have been OK," Cole said.

It was when Brandi didn't come home that her family knew it was nothing close to OK.

"I rushed to the phone, picked it up and (the caller) said Brandi didn't come home, and I said, ‘What do you mean Brandi didn't come home’?" Cole said.

The surveillance video from the bar showed her arriving at 10:36 p.m. and leaving at 12:30 a.m.

Weeks were spent searching for Brandi. Her car was found later in the week, but it had no clues that would lead police in the direction Brandi went.

"I searched myself for Brandi all day and all night, and it was just horrible,” Cole said. “Nothing has ever come out of that so that just backed up what I was already thinking."

While there is no evidence and no clear answer about what happened to her, Cole has her own theory.

"At this very moment I'm afraid that she is in the sex trade industry and I am afraid she is right under our nose,” she said. “I feel like (Brandi) is right here and I don't even feel like they took her away far. I think she is still right here, and it's just so very frustrating to think that and not know where to go to find her. It's just crushing, absolutely crushing."

There have not been any new leads in years, but the Longview Police Department is hopeful that someone, somewhere knows something and comes forward to help bring Brandi home.

Anyone with information on the Brandi Wells case is asked to call the Longview Police Department at 903-237-1199.

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