Scholarship Named for Former Valley Athlete Who Died in Police Custody

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Almost three months after a stand out student and athlete died in police custody in Missouri, police still won’t release details. Thursday, friends and family honored the 20-year-old the best way they knew how.

On May 31st, 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson was arrested on the Lake of the Ozarks, suspected of boating while intoxicated. He was put onto a police boat, but didn’t make it to shore alive.

Thursday night, the former Valley High School football star was honored as folks donated to a scholarship in his name. Ellingson’s father, Craig Ellingson, chokes back tears when he talks about his son.

“It’s almost like a dream,“ Mr. Ellingson says, “You know he was gone away for college so I was used to having him gone. But now that he’s not coming back, it’s tough, so…”

Craig Ellingson’s heart is filled with a combination of pain and pride. Pain that his son is gone, and police refuse to answer questions about what happened. Missouri State Highway Patrol is not releasing any information about what happened until their investigation is complete.

What we do know is Ellingson was arrested, handcuffed and a life jacket was placed on him. Police say they’re still investigating whether the life jacket was put on properly, or just slipped over Ellinson’s handcuffed arms. Police say Ellingson either fell out of the boat or jumped.

While Craig Ellingson is still coming terms with that, his heart is filled with pride, seeing so many people donating thousands of dollars to the scholarship named for his son Thursday night at the Valley High School Dial Bowl.

“(Winners will be) Picked by the coaches who they think should get it who best exemplifies Brandon’s meaning and what he meant to the valley team.”

The scholarship is for $3,030.30. Brandon’s jersey number was 30. While his father says he can’t talk about the case, he does say it’s hard to find closure until the Missouri State Highway Patrol releases the results of the department’s investigation. And there is no timeline in place for that to happen. The Highway Patrol will only say the investigation is ongoing.

If you would like to contribute to the Brandon Ellingson Memorial Scholarship, please make checks payable to “Student Scholarship Fund” and please note on the check that it is for the Brandon Ellingson Memorial Scholarship.
c/o Cindy Todd
4928 Cherrywood Place
West Des Moines IA 50265

2 comments

  • Right Wing Patriot

    Three months and no answers? Give me a break. This is a cover up being built pure and simple.

  • keepitreal

    This young man’s untimely death rocked the Valley Family. He played in my Youth Football League and was one of, if not the classiest players to ever play the game. He was tough, talented, had a nose for the ball, and best of all, was a very gracious young man towards adults. He thanked me for helping found the WDM Youth League on several occasions and took me aside one day outside the Valley Stadium one afternoon to inform me that “he was going to the Dome and would do everything he could to bring a State Football Championship back to Valley High. Brandon, you were a Champion years before you ever went to the Dome. I think of you often young man and I will never forget you.

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