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The Reluctant Witness

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In March, after being nominated by John Wiley Price and unanimously approved by Dallas County commissioners, Davis was appointed to a three-member commission in charge of overseeing labor matters at the 2,000-member Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

Sergeant Brenda Nichols of the Dallas Police Department missing persons squad says Sharon Davis' disappearance is one of the most difficult and heavily investigated cases in her files. "The whole case is curious," she says. "We've had a lot of people ask us if he [Ron Davis] is a suspect. This is a missing persons case. There are no suspects at this time. We don't have any criminal evidence, although we fear foul play has occurred. Right now, Mr. Davis is a witness. An uncooperative witness."

The 54-year-old Davis declined multiple requests for an interview but provided a brief letter and, just before press time, some written comments. He says he has been helpful to police, "and I do not believe that the DPD is taking the position that I have been uncooperative."

Declining the interview, he wrote, "It is obvious that your article will be one-sided, biased, full of conjecture, speculation and designed to entertain the public at my family's expense." He went on to accuse the Dallas Observer of having "an unhealthy history and fascination with African-American men and will do anything to create a negative story about them."

In contrast, Davis' two college-aged children, as well as other relatives, friends and neighbors, say they are grateful for publicity and concerned that the Dallas media have shown little interest in the disappearance until now. The story they tell is of a shy, selfless woman breaking free of a marriage to a difficult, controlling man, a sad mystery set against a backdrop of marital strife. Some talked of how Sharon Davis gave them warnings and revealed her fears during her last days in the couple's home, while others described chilling threats that they reported to police after Sharon was gone.

They have their theories, as does Ron Davis. His most recent casts his wife in unflattering terms. "The most logical explanation for her not contacting our children is that she is not taking her daily medication," he wrote in a letter to the Observer.

Sergeant Nichols says Davis' suggestion doesn't jibe with what she and two case investigators know to be Sharon Davis' medical history. They say there is no evidence of daily medication use, and none reported by anyone when they began their investigation last year.

Sharon had been going to a psychological counselor, several relatives say, but the only psychiatric pills anyone can recall was a doctor's prescription for an anti-anxiety drug some years ago.

Davis' theory also doesn't sit well with his youngest daughter, Autumn, a 19-year-old UTA student who is still living in her father's home. "He's trying to portray her to be a nut or something, and it's not working for me. I don't know if other people are buying it," the daughter says.

In searching for hard evidence leading either to Sharon Davis or a crime, Nichols says, police have hit only brick walls from the time Ron Davis, at what his son and daughter say was their urging, called in the missing persons report about 24 hours after she was last seen.

Autumn, who police say was the last known person to see Sharon Davis, says her mother drove her in her 1998 Mercury minivan to a DART bus stop in the Redbird area about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13. The daughter, who was heading to a summer job downtown, says she watched as her mother, who was dressed in a light-green nightgown and jogging pants, her hair in curlers, drove off. It was less than two miles back to the Davis house, where presumably Sharon would have returned to get ready for work.

She had a training session to attend that morning at Stemmons Elementary, in the Dallas Independent School District, where she had taught third grade the previous year and was slated to begin teaching sixth grade when classes resumed in the fall. But she never made it to the school.

Five days after she disappeared, Dallas police found Sharon's minivan in the parking lot of Bally Total Fitness near the Southwest Center Mall, about a mile from the Davis home. It contained no discernible fingerprints, and a window was broken, suggesting the possibility of foul play and of someone's attempts to cover their tracks, police say. Bally employees told investigators they first noticed the van about midnight on the day Sharon disappeared. Records at the gym, where Sharon was a member, showed she had not been there since the first week of June, about a week before she vanished, investigators say.

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Thomas Korosec
Contact: Thomas Korosec

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