14-Year-Old Reported Missing From Ex-NFL Player Father’s Religious Community

A former NFL player and his wife are not cooperating with authorities in the wake of allegations that their 14-year-old son was the victim of domestic abuse, Indiana state police said Friday.

Bryson Muir, 14, is now considered missing, according to a press release from the state police. He was last seen on June 16 leaving a relative’s home in Ohio with his mother, Kristen Muir. The car was pulled over a short time later in Garfield Heights, Ohio, but Bryson was not in the vehicle.

On June 18, according to the release, the Cass County Department of Child Services received a report that Bryson had been the victim of domestic battery at his home in Logansport. The home is owned by the Servant Leader’s Foundation, the nonprofit arm of a consulting organization. Police shared a photo of the boy with a black eye.

Fourteen-year-old Bryson Muir was last seen on June 16.
Fourteen-year-old Bryson Muir was last seen on June 16. Indiana State Police

The Muirs were initially cooperative with the investigation when authorities made a visit to their home. However, as of Friday, police said the Muirs have now “signaled an unwillingness to cooperate.” The couple backed out of a meeting with authorities, according to the press release.

Daniel Muir is a former defensive lineman with the Indianapolis Colts and has since become a pastor with the Tennessee-based ministry Straitway Truth, which describes itself as a “nation of Hebrew Israelites.” A 2020 Sports Illustrated investigation looked at the ties that various former NFL players have to the group, which some critics describe as a cult.

In a video posted to YouTube on Sunday, Pastor Charles Dowell, the head of Straitway, defended Muir, saying he is innocent until proven guilty and calling on his followers not to rush to judgment as the investigation is ongoing. In the video, camouflage gear is visible behind Dowell, as well as what appear to be firearms.

Cheryl Wright, the boy’s grandmother, told Fox affiliate WXIN that she was the one who initially tipped off authorities about the alleged abuse, saying that Bryson’s father beat him.

“His face was battered. When I got him, he had a black eye and busted lip,” Wright told the outlet. “His whole face was swollen. I can only imagine how many times he had been hit in the face for it to be like that.”

Wright alleged that Bryson was “brainwashed” into his parents’ lifestyle on a religious compound.

Police said the Muir family’s car and their Logansport property are owned by the Servant Leader’s Foundation. When a news crew visited the property, they saw a sign for Straitway Truth Ministries displayed on the grounds, WXIN reported. Straitway’s website says the group aims to collect money to establish church branches consisting of “a church, community garden, livestock and housing which are all used for the local community/church members.” The site lists 12 branches.

Daniel Muir can be seen preaching in videos on the group’s YouTube page, and he’s listed as a contact for Straitway’s Indiana branch. The group did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.