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Ware, who made her statement to the police two weeks after Sharon disappeared, continued, "She stated that [Ron] had said to her that something might happen to her, and that their children would get over it because people get over the loss of a parent. Sharon called me a couple of days later and asked again if I would check on her every day, that [Ron] had called her a sneaky bitch."
The Observer provided Davis a copy of Ware's statement. He did not comment on its content but instead wrote back with a multi-part question. The first was, "If the Ware family truly thought the allegations were credible, why didn't any one of them or all of them advise her to temporarily leave?"
Davis' question, which not so subtly shifts the burden of replies from him to Ware, has an answer, Ware says. She says McDaniel advised her sister not to leave the house because she was seeking sole possession of it in the divorce.
Rather than leave, Sharon seems to have sounded an alarm to nearly everyone to whom she was close. In her sworn letter, Ware says she learned her sister had made phone calls or statements to other relatives in the span of several days.
Sandra Brewer says Sharon gave her a warning that Saturday, four days before she vanished. "We were at a block party talking at about 10 o'clock. She said, 'Sandra, if the [house] alarm goes off, call the police. If you love me, I want you to call 911...She also told me, 'If anything happens to me, you tell it.'"
Mary Jordan says she went with Sharon that Sunday evening to "Letters to the Lord," a praise dance show at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters downtown. That night, Jordan says, Sharon claimed that Ron had threatened her in the most graphic terms and told her she was crazy. She said she'd found a journal on her husband's desk detailing "what time she would come, what time she would leave, little things she would do through the day."
"I told her, 'Sharon, you need to go to the police and tell them he's threatening you.'"
This is the subject of the second part of Davis' written question to the Observer: "Why didn't someone at least file a report with the police?"
Jordan, who says she gave a detailed statement to the police after Sharon disappeared, says Sharon did not demonstrate to her that she was taking the threats very seriously. When the two women returned from their show downtown, she says, Sharon invited her into the house and offered her beans and some tea. Jordan says she was a little surprised at Sharon's nonchalance, given what she'd just heard.
"Ron was in the house, and he said, 'Is that Mary's voice I hear? Mary, how are you doing?'" Jordan says. "Sharon had told me all these things, and I really didn't want to shake his hand. I thought, 'How could he be saying these things to her and act like everything was so fine?'"
Eugene Ware, Sharon's father, who lives in Hampton, Virginia, says Sharon called him that week and said Ron had threatened her. He says his daughter asked that he call and check up on her every day.
Robert Ware, Sharon's brother, says his sister called him at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, just before she left with her friend for the praise dance show. Ware says Sharon indicated to him that she was afraid of Ron and felt threatened. But Ware, a lawyer, says he didn't take her seriously and chalked her words up to nervousness about the divorce. "People get divorced and they go their separate ways all the time," he says. "Hindsight is 20-20."
Autumn Davis says she didn't hear any threats, but her mother told her she was afraid of her father and didn't want to be left alone with him in the house after the divorce was filed. "She didn't want me to go anywhere," Autumn says. "She wanted me to be at the house with her."
Autumn says she agreed and promised to stay close until the divorce went forward and Ron, presumably, would be made to leave. Her mother, she says, "would always tell us he would threaten her, and I'd believe her."
In a brief conversation on one of the four occasions when the Observer asked him for an interview, he said he had hired a private detective. And in a letter, he says he is asking the public "to please consider us in their prayers and look for someone demonstrating the following episodic characteristics: (A) Wearing a hooded top, sweater or coat to shield her head and neck regardless of how hot the daytime temperature may be. (B) Clutching her purse very tightly to her chest as if someone is trying to take it from her."
No one else interviewed for this story says they ever saw Sharon Davis act that way in her life.