While the remains found in Douglas County earlier this week are believed to be those of an Ozark County man, law enforcement in two counties is continuing to ask for the public’s health in locating two other men. All three men have connections to Ozark County.
The Ozark County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help in locating a Gainesville man who has been missing for more than a month.
The Ozark County Times reports 51-year-old Travis Lee Brown was last seen Nov. 30 walking on State Highway 5 north of Gainesville.
Photo: Travis Lee Brown
Cpl. Curtis Dobbs, a deputy with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department, says, “Through investigation, we determined that the last contact with Travis was about 6 p.m. that evening. We are uncertain as to the direction of travel. He has some ties to the West Plains area. He has some ties to the Branson area. And he has some ties to Florida.”
Ozark County Sheriff’s call logs show Brown’s father, Ralph Brown, reported his son missing Dec. 15.
Brown is described as being 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. There is an active warrant for Brown’s arrest for a probation violation.
Brown isn’t the only man with Ozark County ties who has gone missing in the past 18 months.
The Taney County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation for 46-year-old John Edward Cole of the Big Creek area west of Theodosia in Taney County. The Ozark County Sheriff’s Department is also actively in the investigation due to Cole’s ties in that area.
Photo: John Cole
Cole’s wife, Angela, reported her husband missing in May. He was known to walk far distances and be out of contact with his family for lengths of time, Angela Cole told the Times late last year, but she says he has never been out of contact for this long.
The Coles live in Taney County just past the Ozark County line.
Dobbs said no credible new information has turned up in Cole’s case.
“We suspect something may have happened to him,” says Dobbs. “He walked a lot and had some health issues.”
According to Angela Cole, her husband is a severe diabetic and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
He was last seen May 22 walking on County Road 644 (Stehle Road) wearing a light gray shirt, blue jeans, black lace-up boots, a wallet with a chain and a ball cap. He is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 163 pounds with blue eyes and brownish gray hair. The tip of his left thumb is missing.
The remains found this week are believed to be those of Willis Rex Davidson of Isabella who was last seen Halloween night in 2018.
Photo: Rex Davidson
According to a report from KYTV, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was notified Monday night by a man who had found the remains on his farm located on State Highway 5 about 2 miles south of Ava. Sheriff Chris DeGase says it appears the remains had been there for a long time. The farmer did not report any damage to gates or fencing, so DeGase says they believe the person walked into the area.
While the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation into Davidson’s disappearance and the identification of the remains, Ozark County officers are also involved because Davidson has a large network of friends and family in that area.
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed in an earlier Facebook post asked residents to come forward with any information they may have in Davidson’s disappearance. Reed told the Times then that several people had been interviewed, and deputies suspect foul play may have been involved.
Anyone with information about Brown or Cole should call the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department at 417-679-4633. Information about Cole may also be reported to the Taney County Sheriff at 417-546-7250.