Archive for Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Police release name of Oread fall victim

Lawrence emergency workers put up a tent on a second-floor deck at The Oread hotel, where they were investigating a death Tuesday morning. Emergency dispatchers said the death appeared to be from a fall.

Lawrence emergency workers put up a tent on a second-floor deck at The Oread hotel, where they were investigating a death Tuesday morning. Emergency dispatchers said the death appeared to be from a fall.

June 9, 2010, 2:24 p.m. Updated June 9, 2010, 6:32 p.m.


Lawrence police on Wednesday identified 25-year-old Brandon Michael Sims as the man whose body was found Tuesday after an apparent fall at The Oread, 1200 Ave.

The electrician who found Sims said many questions surround the circumstances of the death, which remains under investigation by police.

“He was a good kid. He had a good attitude. He never gave any indication that he would ever want to do any harm to himself,” said Jon Reed, a Lawrence resident who works for Quality Electric, a subcontractor working on The Oread, a multi-level building that includes a hotel, condominiums and other businesses.

According to Reed and a police report, Sims was an employee of Front Row Audio in Lawrence. Reed said for eight months he worked alongside Sims, who helped run audio cable into the upper-level condominiums for items such as speakers, security cameras and alarms in condominiums at The Oread.

Reed, 36, said he had started work Tuesday morning at The Oread and walked to the hotel’s seventh floor. He was assessing the area when he looked down and saw the body on a second-floor balcony.

“He was already there when we got there to work,” Reed said.

Lawrence police are still investigating the case and would not release further details Wednesday. A woman who answered the phone at Douglas County Coroner Erik Mitchell’s office Wednesday said the ongoing investigation meant officials could not release any information.

Reed believed Sims was not working when the incident occurred because others had seen him go home after work Monday. He said Sims often returned to the hotel to socialize after work.

Reed said he was unsure how the fall could have occurred.

Sims has a Missouri driver’s license. His address on the police report was the College Motel, 1703 W. Sixth St., but Reed said he believed Sims had recently been staying with friends.

“He was a good, hard-working kid who showed up to work every day and was pretty happy for the most part,” Reed said.

The police report for the death investigation indicates officers are looking into events as far back as Monday evening.

Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman, on Tuesday said officers were conducting a thorough investigation of the victim’s background and activities leading up to the event.

“These types of investigations proceed at a methodical pace and subsequent information may be released as the facts become known,” Sarna said Tuesday.

The Oread officials on Wednesday said hotel management and employees were “continuing to work with the police department during the investigation.”

“Our family at The Olivia Collection and The Oread hotel would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Brandon Sims,” said Nancy Longhurst, general manager of The Olivia Collection, a management company that owns The Oread.


BobtheBuilder 8 years ago

I sincerely wish the family the very best. Sorry to hear about your loss.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

Jonathan: for the love of God! please set this to preapprove comments!
that last thread was terrible!

please Jonathan, be humane.

it is very sad to see those who opposed the building of this hotel trying to take political advantage of this death. shameful.

sometimes humor helps us cope with death, but maybe it shouldn't be posted for a death like this one,and maybe not on a public forum.

“He was a good kid. He always had a good attitude,” Reed said.

RIP, a man like this had family and friends who will grieve hard.

---God grant peace comfort and support for his family and friends.

death comes in a second. we don't get the time to prepare.

if this was a suicide, it was preventable!

kjbraton 8 years ago

if it was suicide no it was not preventable. he showed no signs of being depressed. He went to work everyday, did housework and helped the neighbor move out. He was not the type of kid that would think about killing himself. He was a little homesick and he did miss his mother a lot. He was a Mommas boy and he loved her dearly. I think it was a drunken accident. I do not think it was suicide but we are still awaiting autopsy reports.

cowboy 8 years ago

condolences to the family , how tragic when a young one passes.

One would think there is a video security system when you have open balconies.

jayhawkologist 8 years ago

Does this incident have anything to do with the lightning strike I heard that morning that I am willing to bet was in the area of the Oread Hotel on the morning that this guy died? I live quite close to the football stadium, and I would bet money that the strike I heard came from that direction...

kjbraton 8 years ago

R.I.P. Homie We miss you a lot.

weeslicket 8 years ago

this is a sad thing. my best wishes to his family and friends, and to brandon.

lesfrogs 8 years ago

I have an interesting story that I might as well divulge. I live next door to the hotel in an apartment with 11 windows. Two of them face the front of the hotel. The night/morning that this happened, I was awakened by a monstrous crack of thunder around 6:30-7am. I stayed in bed for about 5 minutes after I woke up, and then realizing I had to go to the bathroom, went pee. I looked out my bathroom window at the hotel, and saw nothing unusual. Just as I was finishing up and about to leave the bathroom, I saw an ambulance with its lights on (and sirens off) approaching the hotel. "interesting", I thought. I shrugged my shoulders and returned to bed. I then slept for another 3 hours. While asleep, I had a strange dream that I was in a white van with a heavyset black man. We parked the van at the top of a cliff and I got out. The man looked unconscious. I was a bit worried about him. All of the sudden, his door (passenger side) flung open and he fell out, tumbling down the cliff. I watched as his body was tossed to and fro down the steep cliff, eventually falling to its death. I rushed inside a house nearby and told everyone (including Dr. Dre (dreams can be random)) about the emergency. I then woke up. I walked to class and saw news teams outside of the Oread and still made no connection. As I walked back to my house from class later that day, I recounted my dream to my girlfriend (as we were walking by the Oread). She agreed that a man falling to his death was a strange and seemingly random element to my dream. I still didn't make the connection. Then, finally, when I got home, I saw the news. My hair stood on end! I don't know what to make of this strange phenomena I have experienced. Certainly it says something about the unexplained nature of reality that we are all subject to. It has left me with a few quesitons:

Does anyone know this Brandon Sims? Was he black?
Was the powerful thunder clap I heard in any way related to Brandon's death? What are the chances that I would have a dream (the only time I've ever dreamed this in 26 years) about a man falling to his death around the same time a man fell to his death two buildings down from my apartment (unbeknownst to me at the time)?

Kelly Johnson 8 years ago

You have some imaginative dreams!

I think everyone has had thoughts of someone falling/jumping off this building since before construction even began. Seeing it every day as you do, being awakened abruptly by loud thunder that startled you, and then seeing the ambulance in your half-asleep state probably brought on your dream and it doesn't have any more meaning than just a coincidence of jumbled subconscious thought processes.

That being said...I never completely discount unexplainable things!

lesfrogs 8 years ago

It is what it is. I do feel for those close to this man. I hope that everyone can heal. The past few days have left me nearly obsessed with the matter. I'm fascinated by the coincidence of my dream and this tragedy. I want to understand, but don't think I ever will. Anyways...

matthewjherbert 8 years ago

lesfrogs- I think I're suggesting that Dr.Dre had something to do with this?

lesfrogs 8 years ago

(sigh). I am only reporting what I experienced. I am suggesting nothing.

mom_of_three 8 years ago

no matter what lesfrogs dreamed, one does have to wonder if the storm had anything to do with it. but that is why they are investigating...

verity 8 years ago

I live a few blocks east of the hotel. These posts just caused me to remember that I saw lightning maybe around 7:15-30 that morning that seemed like it came into my bedroom. Really a bit scarey. Then there was a loud thunder crash immediately after and I wondered if anything had been hit. Forgot about it until now.

kjbraton 8 years ago

yes brandon was a real good friend and room mate. no he was not black and that dream you had was really weird. Brandon was a real good person with a big heart he would help anyone in time of need as me and my husband did him. he would give you the shirt off his back. We miss him dearly and still dont wanna believe that he is gone. It may sound weird but i was talking to the sky today saying why brandon why so young. He flew up to heaven on the wings of angels. I cant imagine what he must of been thinking as he was falling that high. i know he missed his mother very much and was really homesick. We Will meet eachother again oneday. We love you Brandon Micheal Sims and may you rest in peace.

errita 8 years ago

kjbraton-I'm sorry for your loss. Sounds like Brandon was a good guy.

kjbraton 8 years ago

Thank you so much that means alot. yes he was a wonderful guy and friend. He will be dearly missed.

Paul R Getto 8 years ago

RIP, young man. Perhaps this story will be a lesson to LJW and they will either monitor comments before they can be posted or simply shut down any story that involves a mysterious death until facts come out. Condolences to all his friends and the family.

flux 8 years ago

Sounds like Brandon was just having a little fun and had some bad luck.....RIP

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

kjbraton (anonymous) replies …

if it was suicide no it was not preventable. he showed no signs of being depressed. He went to work everyday, did housework and helped the neighbor move out. He was not the type of kid that would think about killing himself. He was a little homesick and he did miss his mother a lot. He was a Mommas boy and he loved her dearly. I think it was a drunken accident. I do not think it was suicide but we are still awaiting autopsy reports.

---I was just trying to respectfully cover other possibilities.
I also made that comment more for the living in hopes of preventing future suicides.
sadly a few people do suicide with no outwards signs for roommates, friends, family to catch. you are right though, usually there's actions or words.
I'm glad this thread seems to be much better than the last one!

lesfrogs 8 years ago

I hope the account of my strange dream did not upset anyone. I thought it was quite peculiar, and posted it out of my own selfish desire to express and reflect upon the sometimes strange nature of reality.

I keep thinking about it, though. Not only was my dream a strange coincidence, but also the titanic thunder that struck right around the time it is presumed that Brandon died. Seeing that he was working with electrical wiring in the hotel, and presumably had access to the higher floors of the building, perhaps his body was hurled off the building by virtue of The Oread getting struck by lighting. There are, after all, 4 huge cell phone towers (the big, smokestack/cigarette looking structures) and a number of flag poles at the top of the roof where Brandon would have been located.

For those mourning, I apologize for my scientific and inquisitive approach to this loss. If the lighting indeed played a role in his death, this might rule out suicide.

lesfrogs 8 years ago

Furthermore, if it were not for the powerful dream I had, I would not have invested so much time looking into this. By chance, I am located in a prime location to be a peripheral witness to this event. We do not understand the nature of death, or what happens to the personality that once inhabited a deceased body. Forgive me for suggesting this, but:

Maybe Brandon, at the moment of death, was afraid that this accident would be understood as a suicide. Possibly the force of this concern sent out ripples on the subconscious or collective conscious plane and I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time (asleep in my bed) to receive the transmission with the purpose of helping extinguish the possibility of suicide for his friends and family.

My heart goes out to those grieving and am sorry if I have in any way insulted anyone.

ModSquadGal 8 years ago

A friend of ours knew Brandon as well - so sad and appears to be a tragic accident. I hope his family and friends can find some peace in the good memories of him.

jharlow 8 years ago

Brandon was a good kid who always made you laugh. Great personality, and very outgoing. He worked for me just last summer here in Springfield, MO, and he and his mom lived just down the street from me. I am just in shock about his death. I really do not think he would have harmed himself, but was the victim of a tragic accident. Brandon, I'll miss you buddy!

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