David DeWayne Bell

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Above Images: David, circa 1986

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: July 11, 1986 from Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: December 18, 1967
  • Age: 18 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'8, 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, brown eyes. David is addressed by his middle name, DeWayne. He has a burn scar and a tattoo of his initials, DB, on his right arm. His hair was shoulder-length at the time of his disappearance.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A t-shirt, jeans and sneakers.
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    Details of Disappearance

    DeWayne was last seen in Owensboro, Kentucky on July 11, 1986. He was reported missing that same day; his friends and family became alarmed when they found his blue bicycle abandoned (either in an alley near his family's home in the 500 block of east 20th Street in Owensboro, or at the home itself; accounts differ). DeWayne's loved ones say he was very attached to his bicycle and took good care of it, and would not have left it unattended. He was not reported missing for a week.

    DeWayne has never been heard from again. Foul play is suspected in his case. Investigators think he may have had knowledge of the disappearance of Shannon Green, who disappeared from Owensboro a few days before he did, and was possibly killed so he could not go to the police. They knew each other, and were together at a mutual friend's home the day before Shannon disappeared. After Shannon's disappearance someone identifying himself as "Dwayne" called her mother and told her that he and Shannon were eloping. The call is now thought to be a hoax, possibly made to mislead the investigation.

    Authorities have long suspected that John Reneer was involved in Shannon's case. He is convicted murderer and sex offender and a former friend of the DeWayne family. He maintains his innocence and has identified DeWayne and his father, David DeWayne, as being involved in Shannon's case. Reneer claims DeWayne confessed to strangling Shannon in 1986 and implicated his father. Reneer stated he tape-recorded the confession and turned it over to police. The tape was apparently documented in police files but never saved, and records of it were not found until the fall of 2005. Reneer stated he wanted to kill DeWayne and David after hearing the confession, but never got a chance to do so. He has passed a lie detector test about his role in Shannon and DeWayne's disappearance.

    David, who moved to Arizona shortly after his son's disappearance, maintains his innocence in Shannon's case and stated that he did not believe DeWayne was involved in it either. He theorized that Reneer caused Shannon's disappearance and DeWayne found out about it and was murdered to ensure his silence. Investigators still believe Reneer was complicit in Shannon's disappearance, whether or not the supposed confession is true. Authorities also stated David gave inconsistent accounts of the events leading up to DeWayne's disappearance, but he has not been charged in that case or Shannon's.

    DeWayne and Shannon's disappearances may also be related to the abduction of a 23-year-old woman disappeared from Owensboro on June 17, 1986. Her body was found near a boat ramp on October 2 of that year. However, no connections have been proven and the cases remain unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Owensboro Police Department
    270-687-8888

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    Source Information
    David DeWayne Bell -- Missing Since July 1986
    14 WFIE
    NewsLibrary
    The Herald-Leader
    The Doe Network
    The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
    NamUs

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    Updated 7 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated September 5, 2010; distinguishing characteristics updated.

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