The Reluctant Witness

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Autumn says her father has told her so many different things over the past 13 months about what might have happened--Sharon took off, left for Lake Tahoe, ran into drug dealers she knew or other dangerous people, or wandered off in a psychotic haze--she has lost faith that any of them is true. "I think he knows exactly what's going on," she says.

Ronnie says he has all but given up hope that his mother is alive. "What I think it is--like, I said, I think she's dead, unfortunately, and he's still hiding something."

Neighbors say they are frustrated, too, with silence from African-American community leaders and the apparent dead end hit by police.

Earlier this year, with the months ticking by and no sign of Sharon Davis, police thought they were going to get some national media help in their search. A producer from Unsolved Mysteries, the popular reality TV show, came to Dallas and began filming a segment, which was scheduled to be aired this spring.

"They were extremely interested," says Sergeant Nichols, who thought that exposure of Sharon's disappearance on national television could only help. "Unfortunately, they aren't ever going to air the show." Sally Howell, a producer for the show, says, "For various reasons, we came up against numerous roadblocks."

Among them was a long, accusatory letter from Ron Davis, who declined to go on camera, and the fact that police are positing no theories about what could have happened. Sharon's disappearance was just too hot for an entertainment show to handle.

Says Howell, "We're not 60 Minutes."

The last thing Sharon Davis is known to have told the world is that she wanted to slip the bonds of her marriage to Ron Davis.

The mechanics of that began on Thursday, June 14, the first day after she went missing, when constables attempted to serve papers summoning Ron Davis to court for divorce proceedings.

The constables went up the walk to the tan-brick, white-trimmed Davis house four times that month, records show. They reported they couldn't locate him, although they noted one time a red Jeep was in the drive. They tried nine more times in July, reporting in the court record that a surveillance camera had been installed at the front door.

On July 28, a man who identified himself as Ron's brother Henry answered the door and told the servers Davis did not want the papers. In September, the constables reported trying to serve Davis four more times, to no avail.

Autumn Davis says her father told her he didn't want to be served and not to let the constables in.

Today, without service of her divorce petition, Sharon Davis' big leap hangs in limbo. It is an open case on which nothing has been done.

Ozzie Brewer, who can see the Davis house clearly from his own home, says he noticed his neighbor peeking out the windows last summer as the constables did their work. Sometimes Davis would crack open the door after they'd left, as if checking whether the coast was clear.

"He was in there," Brewer says. "He just wouldn't come out."

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Thomas Korosec
Contact: Thomas Korosec

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