A Local Tragedy, Community Grieves

The children are in music class and I thought about quickly publishing a “Mom Who Gives Back” article or perhaps answering a couple of questions for my Mom-to-Mom advice column. Instead, I find myself thinking about the 17-year-old boy Bryan Glenn from my neighborhood high school who was found dead in the woods yesterday exactly a week after going missing. The details are still coming in, but regardless of the WHY or HOW it is a tragic loss.

You can’t go two feet in my neighborhood without seeing missing person posters for the young man who suddenly disappeared. His car was left abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby park and investigators had decided he was another runaway. Police did a search of the woods, but never found him. The community and the Glenn family never gave up though. They knew he did not runaway.

After several vigils and an incredible amount of work getting the word out in the community and online, the Glenn family and friends decided to conduct their own search of the woods near where his car was found. And heartbreakingly they found him. His body was located about ¾ of a mile beyond the tree line.

I wish this story had ended better. My heart hurts for this boy’s parents. My own son is only four years younger than Bryan. He will attend the same high school and play on the same football team. He will probably share many of the same teachers. This is a tragedy with many questions, which perhaps will be answered, but perhaps not.

No one may truly understand the events that led to his death. The one lesson I do carry with me is about the perseverance and strength of this community and of his family. They did not just accept what authorities were telling them. They knew something had happened and pushed beyond the statistics about troubled teens and runaways. They kept looking, as I would have kept looking.

A parent never gives up. Never.

I send my prayers and thoughts to the Glenn family. I do not know them personally, but I do know they are grieving in ways unimaginable.

Please feel free to join the discussion on the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.

To read more about the ongoing story, please read The Fairfax Patch.


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.




  1. Mercedes Dash says:

    Great blog- I can’t imagine what they are going through. My youngest son went to Woodson last year and played football there but did not know Bryan. He is away at college but was devastated when I told him that they had found his body. His first question was why? I told him that we might never find out why these things happen- In the same conversation I told him that I loved him and to be safe. My heart grieves for the Glenn family-