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Marilyn's husband of thirty years, John L. Brinson, said he last saw her on the night of July 16, 2002 at their home in the 2000 block of northeast Russell Road Northland, Kansas. She went to bed as usual. When he woke up the next morning she was gone, and he assumed she went to work, but Marilyn's wedding ring was left behind on the dresser and then her boss called to ask why she had not arrived.
Police located Marilyn's car, a green four-door 1995 Ford Taurus, in the middle of 24th Street near Topping Avenue. It had been burned and a large amount of her blood was found inside the vehicle, spattered around and in pools on the dashboard and the passenger seat and floorboards. More of Marilyn's blood was found in the parking lot of her apartment complex. There was so much blood that she could not have survived.
On August 14, less than a month after Marilyn's disappearance, John was charged with her murder. A photograph of him is posted below this case summary. Police found his handprint in Marilyn's blood in the trunk of her car. They believe he injured her, possibly by shooting her, and she bled to death. He may have then disposed of her body in or near the Missouri River. The couple's adult sons said Marilyn and John were arguing the night before her disappearance, and John himself stated that shortly before his wife went missing, he had learned that she was having an affair. He maintains his innocence in her case. He was tried in June 2005, but in the middle of the proceedings the judge declared a mistrial. John was retried in October 2006 and was convicted. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Marilyn worked at a Texaco Star Mart station at U.S. 169 and northeast 68th Street in Northland at the time of her disappearance. Her husband was a heavy machinery operator. They have four children together. Foul play is suspected in Marilyn's case due to the circumstances involved.