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SYCAMORE – DeKalb County Presiding Judge Kurt Klein on Wednesday directed county coroner Dennis Miller to issue a presumptive death certificate for Bradley Olsen, more than five months after the Olsen family first requested it.
Olsen disappeared in the early hours of Jan. 20, 2007. He was last seen outside a DeKalb bar, trying to get a ride home to Maple Park. In October 2009, his family asked the county to issue a presumptive death certificate so his 9-year-old daughter can collect his Social Security benefits.
State law requires a person be missing for seven years before being presumed dead, but Klein said he was approving the certificate based on his own research and on grand jury testimony. The request was granted four days before Bradley’s 30th birthday, his mother noted, saying it had made the week “doubly hard” for the family.
Though the court process has been continued four times over five months, it was over in a matter of minutes Wednesday. Olsen’s mother, Susan Olsen, carried a manila folder with photographs of Bradley and his daughter clipped to the front. One was the last photograph taken of them together, she said tearfully; in it, Bradley is wearing the same jacket he was last seen in before he disappeared.
“This was the hardest thing I’ve had to do outside of initially filing the missing person report,” she said as she wiped her eyes. “All of these people come and help you search, and you search and search and search, and never do you think you’re going to be in a situation like this. In the beginning, you have a lot of hope something will be found.”
Susan Olsen wore a tag pinned to her jacket with Bradley’s photo and description, and the word “MISSING” in red letters along the top. She stressed that the issuance of the certificate does not affect the DeKalb Police Department’s investigation into the case or her work on her own and with missing persons organizations to find Bradley.
“You think about [requesting the death certificate] and make the request because it’s the best thing to do for his daughter, but to actually hear the judge say the words is a different, terrible feeling,” she said.
There was some relief that the family could at least begin trying to secure Bradley’s benefits for his daughter, Susan Olsen said, noting that she felt the court process had been unnecessarily long. She has been sharing updates with other families across the country with missing loved ones, she said, in the hopes she can help someone else through the process.
Police search continues
Police continue to search for any information regarding the disappearance of Bradley Olsen.
At the time of his disappearance, he was 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 175 pounds. He has blue eyes and brown hair.
He has a tattoo of a palm tree on his left ankle and a tattoo of a sun on his back.
He was last seen leaving a bar in the 1000 block of West Lincoln Highway in DeKalb in the early morning hours of Jan. 20, 2007.
He was wearing a brown leather jacket, a black shirt, jeans and boots.
DeKalb Police Department: 815-748-8400
Crime Stoppers: 815-895-3272