Thirteen-year-old Bradley Blake Hanson embarked on a seemingly ordinary morning on November 10, 1995, leaving his residence in Phoenix. His intention was to attend school as usual. Little did his mother know that classes at Centennial Middle School had been canceled in observance of Veteran’s Day, causing Bradley to make alternative plans. Instead of heading to school, Bradley set off on his mountain bike towards the Ahwatukee Custom Estates, specifically the 3200 block of East Piro Street, to spend the day with his friend and classmate, Jeremy Bach.
As the day progressed, Bradley’s mother realized that school had indeed been canceled and attempted to reach out to him, hoping to learn of his whereabouts. She paged Bradley throughout the afternoon, but he never responded, and he wasn’t home when she returned in the evening. Concerned, she contacted the police to report her son as missing. Authorities soon discovered that Jeremy Bach was the last person to have seen Bradley and questioned him about the situation. Jeremy shared an intriguing account, claiming that he and Bradley had been playing with firearms when Bradley accidentally fired a shot, resulting in a bullet hole in the wall. According to Jeremy, upon realizing the consequences of his actions, Bradley became panicked and hastily left on his mountain bike.
The police found this explanation satisfactory and consequently classified Bradley as a runaway. However, two months later, sanitation workers collecting garbage at the Bach residence noticed bloodstains on the top and sides of the family’s trash can. Alarmed by their discovery, the workers contacted the authorities, leading to a search of the trash can. Inside, they uncovered two inches of blood and body fluids pooled at the bottom, as well as bloodstains in the Bach family’s kitchen.
Subsequently, the authorities questioned Jeremy once again, and he altered his story. Now he claimed that he accidentally shot Bradley in the chest and concealed his body in the trash can, which was later destined for the Butterfield Station Landfill. Jeremy provided inconsistent versions of how this tragic accident occurred, causing the authorities to doubt his credibility. They suspected that Jeremy had shot Bradley following a dispute over a girl they both had dated. They highlighted Jeremy’s failure to assist Bradley after the shooting and his assertion that Bradley took over an hour to die. The authorities invested two months and $100,000 in searching the Butterfield Station Landfill, but tragically, Bradley’s remains were never recovered.
In February 1996, when Jeremy was just fourteen, he faced charges for Bradley’s murder, making him the youngest individual in Arizona to be tried as an adult. Eventually, in January 1998, Jeremy was convicted of second-degree murder and received a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison. He was released on parole in 2018.
When it came to light that the murder weapon belonged to Jeremy’s stepfather, Bradley’s family filed a lawsuit against the stepfather, alleging improper storage. There were also strong speculations that the Bach family had assisted in disposing of Bradley’s body and covering up the crime. The case was ultimately settled out of court, but the details of the settlement remain undisclosed.
Sadly, to this day, Bradley remains missing, and his status is still that of a missing person. Authorities believe he is deceased and that his body rests in the Butterfield Station Landfill, with little hope of recovery. Although Jeremy was convicted and served 20 years in prison for the murder, he was released at the age of 36, granting him the freedom to live out the remainder of his life—a precious opportunity denied to Bradley at such a young age.
If, by some chance, Bradley is still alive, he would be turning 40 this November. He was last described as standing between 4’8″ and 4’11”, weighing 60-75 pounds. His attire consisted of a black collared shirt, a white t-shirt, black jeans, green paisley-patterned boxer shorts, black sneakers with red laces, and an Armitron watch. Bradley had dyed black hair and blue eyes. It remains unclear whether his mountain bike was ever recovered.