SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) On the night of January 14, 2007, the parents of Mark Randall Davis woke to find their son missing.
His bike was gone from the family’s house in the 1200 block of Luann Lane in Tyler. He left his wallet, cell phone and money, along with a note for his family.
13 years later, their message to their son lingers on.
“If Mark sees this, we’re asking mark to come back home, and we’ll help him with whatever endeavors he wants to do,” Davis’ father said in 2007.
At the time of his disappearance, Davis was a student at Texas A&M University, where he studied chemical engineering.
He would switch his major to Spanish shortly before he went missing.
During the fall semester of 2006, Davis stopped going to most of his classes.
“I remember at one point being at the house conducting interviews with the parents. And I remember he had apparently been depressed just before he left.”Gregg Roberts, Tyler Police Detective
Detective Roberts, who helped in the case, says before he vanished, Davis has become withdrawn and uncertain of his future. Davis had become a different person than he once was.
“He’s a pretty fun loving, athletic individual,” Detective Roberts says. “He loved water sports and skiing, a pretty fun-loving guy at one point.”
Concerned, his parents took him to a therapist who said he would “get over it.”
During Christmas break in 2006, Davis went to stay with his parents in Tyler.
Despite the therapy, his parents reported he was “visibly depressed” after Christmas.
The night before he would go back to school for the spring semester, he vanished.
“It was cold,” Detective Roberts says. “Sgt. Waslworth had called a number of us out because this individual was missing.”
Detective Roberts was among the first called to help in the search for Davis.
“We had DPS air aspects up, and the helicopter up,” Detective Roberts recalls. “We’d be searching, they’d see a structure and we’d go and clear that.”
In the first 24 hours, detectives examined a “goodbye note” Davis left, hoping it would provide them with clues as to where Davis was.
In the note, Davis told his parents he was leaving and that it was no one’s fault. He also said they would never see him again and that he loved them.
“It was not a typical suicide note, but more of a goodbye,” Detective Roberts says. “So, it was left open to what his true meaning was. Was he suicidal, was he depressed or was he planning on going somewhere and never be found again?”
“I believe he had gone to Walmart the night before to get some items. some items of clothing, a jacket or a toboggan,” says Detective Roberts. “And we never really found any of that.”
Police, family and community members spent weeks searching the woods just south of his house.
“At the time it was very undeveloped,” Detective Roberts says. “I don’t think (toll) 49 had been put though and we didn’t have the Cumberland Villages there.”
However, two days after his disappearance came a possible break in the case.
“We had received tips at the time that someone matching his description was riding a bike,” says Detective Roberts.
On January 17, 2007, around 8:15 a.m., someone reported seeing Davis riding his bike along County Road 173 in Flint, just four miles from his home.
“It’s hard to say, it’s cold during that time of year,” says Detective Roberts. “Many people are wearing a lot of clothing.”
The tips and searches would come up empty, leaving his parents and authorities to wonder…Where is Mark Randall Davis?
His parents, at the time, believed he went back to College Station to work as a Spanish tutor for a cook, or perhaps he ran away to Mexico, since he showed a passion for the culture.
Whatever the outcome, his parents still send their love in hopes he may one day see it and feel it.
“We love you, miss you and hope that things are going well for you,” a message from his parents on their website states. “Please give us a call to just say ‘hi.’ Love, Mom and Dad.”
If you have any information regarding Davis’ case, please contact the Tyler-Smith County Crimestoppers at 903-597-2833 or the Texas Department of Public Safety at 1-800-346-3243.