Editor's note: For the latest developments on this story, check the Stow Sentry Web site at www.stowsentry.com.
by Nancy Whitaker
and Jeffrey Zupancic
North Canton -- The search for a missing Stark County woman who works in Hudson was set to resume at 8 a.m. June 22 as the Stow Sentry went to press.
On June 20, the FBI classified the case of Jessie Marie Davis, 26, of Lake Township, missing since last week, as a kidnapping. She is nine months pregnant.
The search effort, which began June 21 at the Greentown Fire Station in Stark County with approximately 1,400 to 2,000 volunteers, was called off due to rain about 3 p.m. that day.
The volunteer search effort was spearheaded by Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer group that assists in finding missing persons.
According to EquuSearch founder Tim Miller, the turnout was the second largest of the 704 searches his company has done. The sheer volume of searchers forced the search to be delayed from its 8:30a.m. start for almost four hours.
"It's overwhelming and almost out of control," said Miller of the crowd. "But we're going to make this happen. Every single rock will be turned over in this search."
Miller's team brought in sonar equipment to check all nearby ponds and a remote-control airplane equipped with a camera to look for signs of the missing woman.
Also, the FBI has offered a $10,000 reward and EquuSearch has offered a $5,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of Davis, who works at Allstate Insurance in Hudson, or information that would lead to who may be responsible for her disappearance.
"There are certainly indications foul play is involved," said C. Frank Figliuzzi, special agent in charge with the FB. "If someone out there knows something, the right time to say so is now."
According to Figliuzzi, the FBI will continue to work as a team with the Stark County Sheriff's Office in providing technical resources and additional investigations.
Stark County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rick Perez announced June 20 that Wayne County Sheriff Thomas Maurer obtained a DNA sample (mouth swab) from a newborn baby girl left June 18 in a basket on a porch at a home in a rural area near Wooster in Wayne County.
The sample will be compared to DNA from Davis to determine if the newborn is Davis' daughter, but test results may not be ready for two weeks, Perez said.
Perez said June 20 that some cell phone records for Davis have been obtained and the department is still waiting on others to be provided. Perez didn't know how long it would take to analyze the records.
Investigators last week continued to say they have "no suspects," but the home of Canton police officer Bobby Cutts Jr., located in the Laurel Ridge allotment in Plain Township, was searched again June 20, the second time in three nights, according to the Associated Press.
Reports from local and national media say Cutts has been read his rights, but that is standard procedure when police enter a house.
Cutts is the father of Davis' 2-year-old son, Blake, who was found alone June 15 in the Davis residence by his grandmother, Patricia Porter, who was concerned when she hadn't heard from Davis.
The Stark County Department of Jobs and Family Services gave custody of Blake to Porter on June 15 after Davis was found to be missing.
Investigators continue to talk with Cutts and are studying geographic locations before beginning another search for Davis, Perez said at the news conference.
Davis was last seen on video shopping on June 13 at the Acme store in North Canton.
As of June 20, about 500 tips regarding Davis have been received on the sheriff's office Tip Line at 330-430-3818, Perez said.
Editor's note: Whitaker and Zupancic are reporters for The Review in Alliance.