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Brandon goes to Richardson County, Nebraska

Richardson County, Nebraska, is one of the poorer counties of the state, located in the extreme southeast corner of the state, about 80 miles southeast of Lincoln, on the Missouri River across from the state of Missouri. The county seat is Falls City, a town of approximately 4,800 people. Falls City had been the site of a mass murder in 1985 when a religious fanatic living in a commune, named Michael Ryan murdered a number of people including a young boy named James Thimm, whom he allegedly skinned alive. After a lengthy jury trial in 1987, he received capitol punishment, and the case is still in the court system. State vs. Ryan 233 Neb.74, 444 NW2d 610 (1989), 248 Neb.405, 534 NW2d 766 (1995); 249 Neb.218, 543 NW 2d 128 (1996); 257 Neb. 635 601 (1999). The costs of the murder trial to this small county were staggering and virtually bankrupted the county. Memories of that experience were still vivid in the eyes of the law enforcement officials of Richardson County, Nebraska in 1993.

In the late fall of 1993, Brandon violated her probation and a warrant for her arrest was issued. Fearing that she would ultimately end up in prison, Brandon, posing as a male named Brandon Teena, developed a friendship with an unwed young mother named Lisa Lambert. Lisa lived with her baby in a dilapidated old farmhouse on the edge of Humboldt, Nebraska in Richardson County. In November 1993, Brandon moved to Richardson County and began living with her new girlfriend, who assumed that Brandon was in fact a male.

After Brandon commenced living with Lisa in the Falls City area, she began associating with a number of her friends, most of whom did not work on a regular basis. Two of these were a couple of local ex-convicts, John Lotter and Marvin Nissen. Lotter had just been released from prison a short time before meeting Brandon. Nissen was also a small time convict, also in his early twenties, who was married and had children but apparently no job.

Brandon immediately took a liking to Lana Tisdale, an attractive seventeen-year-old woman, and a former girl friend of Lotter. There were indications that Brandon and Lana had sexual contact although the exact nature of same remains a mystery. Lotter didn't seem to be upset about his new male friend dating his old girlfriend. This group of friends partied regularly, did not work, and basically got into trouble. Lotter and Nissen took Brandon in as another male friend. It did not dawn on any of these people that the boy they knew as Brandon Teena was, in fact, a girl named Teena Brandon.