Maryland

Pennsylvania man charged with murder after Maryland photographer disappears

Joseph Shymanski, from Calvert County, was reported missing on Labor Day

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A Maryland photographer who has disappeared is believed to be dead, and authorities have charged a Pennsylvania man in his murder.

Joseph Anthony Shymanski, 51, of Huntingtown, was reported missing on Sept. 4, the Calvert County Sheriff's Office said.

While investigating, detectives determined there was foul play and linked Shymanski to a man in Reedsville, Pennsylvania, the sheriff's office said.

After several search warrants, authorities arrested 47-year-old Brandon R. Holbrook and charged him with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Authorities said Thursday afternoon that human remains were found in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, that they believe are linked to Shymanski's murder. The remains have not yet been formally identified, the sheriff's office said.

Shymanski sold his photos at Eastern Market in Washington, D.C.

His friends told News4 that in addition to being a photographer, he was a teacher, musician and a gentle soul who saw the good in everyone.

“He loved bringing joy to people. He got to make a living bringing joy to people and he just thought he was the luckiest guy on the planet," Shymanski's friend Mike Goecke said.

Mike and Robyn Goecke said they knew Shymanski well. Mike grew up with him in Michigan and they were roommates in college.

“He saw so much good in everybody and saw the positive beyond what anybody else would see and always wore rose … we just, we joked he always had rose colored glasses on, always," Robyn Goecke said.

The Goeckes said they were glad to hear that someone had been charged in Shymanski's death.

“We had a bunch of folks over last night and it was just a great opportunity to share stories and cry and comfort each other because there's no other way to deal with this. It does not make sense," Mike Goecke said.

Holbrook has been held in Pennsylvania pending extradition to Maryland, the sheriff's office said.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about the case to email Wayne.Wells@calvertcountymd.gov.

Stay with News4 for updates to this developing story.

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