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 June 7, 2004
Gary Davidson
Public Information Officer

REMAINS OF MISSING DELTONA BOY FOUND IN CASSADAGA WOODS

An intensive, three-year search for clues in the mysterious disappearance of a 10-year-old Deltona boy has come to an end in a wooded area of Cassadaga. Volusia County Sheriff’s investigators found human skeletal remains in the woods off of Cassadaga Road that have been positively identified as Joshua Bryant. Joshua and his 77-year-old grandmother, Lillian Martin, vanished without a trace from their Deltona home on May 12, 2001. Investigators haven’t located Martin, now presumed dead, and are resuming their search today in the case that has now been officially classified as a homicide.

Along with the knowledge that much more work remains to be done, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said the discovery has been met with a mixture of sadness and relief that the family’s agony at not knowing what happened has ended. The family was informed of the discovery of Joshua’s remains Monday morning. Now the focus of the investigation turns to piecing together Joshua’s death and finding his grandmother. “This has been a very difficult time for everyone involved,” said Sheriff Johnson. “But we said from the start that we wouldn’t rest until this case was solved. We’re a lot closer to knowing what happened, and we hope and pray that will help bring some closure and a ray of solace to Josh’s family.”

The remains were recovered Friday. By Monday morning, the Sheriff’s Office’s suspicions were confirmed by medical experts who compared the remains to Joshua’s dental records. Investigators have yet another suspicion they are working to substantiate – that accused triple murderer Douglas McClymont,   formerly of DeLand, may have been responsible for Joshua’s death. Last month, McClymont went on a multi-state crime spree that left a Lake Helen man and a North Carolina couple dead. McClymont’s violent crime spree ended with his death when he turned his gun on himself just as authorities in Cherokee, North Carolina were closing in on him. During the crime spree, McClymont had bragged about committing other murders in Volusia County.

              

McClymont's name had surfaced in the investigation into the double disappearance after deputies learned that he had performed electrical work on the home that Joshua and Martin shared with Joshua's sister, Joanne Miller, her husband John and the couple's young son. However, investigators found nothing at the time linking McClymont to the disappearances. The case agents working the disappearances decided to take another look at McClymont after last month's murder spree attributed to him.

Back on May 12, 2001, the day that Joshua and his grandmother disappeared, a resident on Cassadaga Road reported a man carrying a roll of electrical tape, walking with a young boy out of the woods and into the resident’s backyard. The resident didn't recognize the man and, after being shown a picture of Joshua, wasn't able to say for sure whether it was the same boy she saw walking out of the woods. Still, the Sheriff's Office mounted an extensive search of the area from the ground and air that same day, but didn't find anything. Investigators recently showed the woman a picture of McClymont, and she positively identified him as the man she saw walking with the boy on the day of Joshua's disappearance. That led investigators to renew their search in the woods around Cassadaga Road, and ultimately to Friday’s discovery.

Also in the past few weeks, investigators have learned of other suspicious behavior on the part of McClymont. For instance, days after the disappearance, McClymont is reported to have remodeled the interior of a van he was driving, using his own money even though the van didn't belong to him. "We may never know for sure, but as it looks right now, we have a pretty good circumstantial cases that points to McClymont," said Sheriff Johnson. "If anyone has any information or heard McClymont comment about the disappearances, we'd like them to come forward so we can put the remaining pieces of this puzzle together and put this case to rest." Investigators are asking anyone who had contact with McClymont, saw him in the vicinity of 2379 Otis Ave. or 1046 W. Seagate Drive in Deltona around the time of the disappearances or are aware of any contacts McClymont may have had with the Millers is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (386) 736-5999.

Meanwhile, Captain Dave Hudson, head of Investigative Services for the Sheriff's Office, took time out Monday to thank the community along the hundreds of people from around the country who have reported tips, suspected sightings and other tidbits of information. "The public and the news media have been tremendously helpful and supportive in our efforts to solve this case," said Captain Hudson. "This has touched the whole community as well as our entire investigative team. The public has been right there with us from the very first day."

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