Details of Disappearance
Alvin disappeared from Toledo, Ohio on on July 27, 2017. He spent most of the day at the Lost Peninsula Marina with this oldest son, Jeremy Darrow, where both of them had boat docks close to each other. Sometime after 3:30 p.m. he drove alone to his home in the 300 block of Majestic Road, about fifteen minutes away, to get boat supplies. He planned to come right back to the marina once he'd picked up the supplies.
He did arrive home safely sometime between 4:00 and 4:30, and a neighbor saw him pull into his driveway and stopped and talked to him. He told her he had to hurry back to the marina. The neighbor decided to leave when she saw Alvin's youngest son, Tim Darrow, approaching, because Alvin and Tim frequently had screaming arguments. A photo of Tim is posted with this case summary.
A friend of Alvin's, Rocky Conley, was supposed to come after that evening. Alvin was buying a truck from him, and Conley needed to pick up the rest of the money he was owed. Starting at 5:00, Conley repeatedly called Alvin's phone to ask if it was okay to come over, but he never got an answer. He decided to come over anyway.
When he arrived, the house was unlocked, with all of Alvin's belongings inside it. His truck was parked in the driveway with the keys locked inside, and his dog was running around loose. There was no sign of Alvin and he has never been heard from again.
Conley first tried calling Tim to ask if he'd seen his father, but Tim didn't answer. He tried calling Jeremy, and Jeremy said he hadn't seen Alvin since he'd left the marina, so Conley drove out to the marina to speak to Jeremy and find out what was going on. When he arrived, Jeremy was visibly upset and said he'd just called Tim and asked what happened to Alvin.
Jeremy stated Tim had told him that four men on motorcycles had showed up at the house with a gun or guns, and that they were "upset with Alvin" and accused him of stealing one of their motorcycles. At first he said the men had thrown Alvin into a van and driven off with him, then he claimed Alvin had gotten onto a motorcycle and driven away.
After Jeremy pointed out that Conley knew all of Alvin's motorcycles were still at the house, Tim changed his story again and claimed when the four bikers arrived he and Alvin had run away in different directions and didn't he know what happened to Alvin after that.
At 7:05 p.m., Conley called 911 and retold part of the story Tim had told Jeremy, but acted like he had seen it himself and that it had just happened. He claimed that while passing a residence on Dean Street (it was diagonally across from Alvin's residence, Alvin was in the process of buying it, and Tim lived there), he saw about four men jump out of a vehicle with guns and run up to the house. He said he thought the men were coming there to steal something, perhaps a motorcycle. He did not mention Alvin's name, or the fact that anyone was missing, during the call.
Conley said the reason he lied to the 911 dispatcher was because Tim and Jeremy hadn't called the police, and because he was so alarmed by what he saw at Alvin's residence and by the story he'd heard. He thought something terrible must have happened, but he also thought the police would not take it seriously if he tried to report Alvin missing because he was a healthy adult and had been seen alive and well only a few hours earlier, so he lied because he thought it would be more likely to get a quick response from the police.
After he made this call, Conley stayed by the house for about four hours and waited for the police, but they never arrived. He called 911 again just before midnight and told the truth this time. He said Alvin and Tim had been arguing earlier in the day, and that Alvin's phone was turned off and Rocky couldn't get in contact with him, and said that he was worried and wanted the police to check on Alvin's welfare. He provided both Alvin and Tim's addresses and said he hoped Alvin wasn't dead.
Nineteen hours after Conley called 911 for the first time, Alvin's other son Jeremy called the police to officially report his father missing.
Tim told his brother that Alvin had put a stolen motorcycle inside his, Tim's garage. Tim said that had wanted the stolen property removed, and that he and Alvin were arguing about it when the four men with guns arrived. Tim had made a sixteen-second video of his encounter with Alvin; it was time-stamped 4:25 p.m.
Neither man appeared to be injured in the video and there was no confrontation; in fact, Tim was laughing. He said, "Here's your bike," and Alvin was pacing the and didn't speak at all, but just lifted his hands to his head and then held them out to the side, as if he was confused or frustrated. The video clip ended just as Alvin appeared to be about to grab the motorcycle by the handlebars.
The stolen motorcycle was a white and silver Harley-Davidson with a custom turbo engine and other custom features; the owner, Thomas Wiley, had spent about sixty thousand dollars customizing it. It was found in Tim's garage after his disappearance, and Tim couldn't provide a consistent story as to how it got there.
The motorcycle, along with cash, several guns, ammunition and some electronics, had been stolen from a home in rural Lucas County, Ohio in a burglary on July 25, two days before Alvin went missing. No one was ever arrested in the burglary and the motorcycle is the only item that was ever recovered. It's unclear how it ended up on Alvin's property; although he was a motorcycle enthusiast, he did not know the people it had been stolen from.
After the motorcycle was found and towed to the impound lot, Wiley went went collect it. He noted some damage: the handlebars were bent, the paint was scratched and one mirror was broken off. It was otherwise functional. Wiley's brother drove the motorcycle home, and when Wiley was getting ready to wash it he noticed a blood on the fuel tank and the side of the engine. He called the police, who came over and processed the motorcycle for evidence.
The blood turned out to be Alvin's. There was only a small amount of it, not enough to indicate a serious injury or death. Police also found Alvin's blood on a piece of plexiglass in Tim's garage, but there's no indication as to when the blood was left there.
Tim told police he never saw his father bleeding on the day of his disappearance and that their argument had been only verbal. He was unable to account for the blood on the motorcycle. However, when he was interviewed a few years later by journalist from the Toledo Blade, his story had changed. He said their argument about the stolen motorcycle turned physical as he was trying to push the bike out of his garage. Tim punched Alvin, Alvin punched the bike, both of them were bleeding, and the bike wound up getting damaged. He said when he left, Alvin was trying to push the motorcycle back into the garage.
Tim also told the reporter that the encounter with the bikers with guns had happened the day before Alvin's disappearance, not the day of. He said Alvin had met with the men to buy the stolen motorcycle from them, and that the men chased them and shot at them. He stated his father was involved with "dirty people".
Tim told the reporter that after he and Alvin parted ways on the day of his disappearance, he went to his girlfriend's house and didn't return home until the next day. He later changed his story and said he had come back to the house to install an air conditioner before he spent the night with his girlfriend. He said the inconsistencies in his stories about his father's disappearance could be explained because he suffers from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to Conley, Alvin had texted him a photo of the motorcycle at 4:15 p.m. on the day of his disappearance, just ten minutes before Tim made the video, and asked him to take a look at it while he was over collecting the money for the truck. According to Alvin, Tim had gotten the motorcycle, and Alvin thought Conley might want to purchase it. He never mentioned the the motorcycle was stolen, and Conley didn't learn that it was until after Alvin was reported missing.
Although Alvin has an extensive criminal record, mostly for violent offenses and drug offenses, but also for breaking and entering, theft, possession of stolen property and other crimes. He had been on drugs, in and out of jail, and in conflict with his family for most of his life. However, after his father died in 2012, Alvin had turned his life around, improved his relationships with his relatives, and stopped getting into trouble with the law.
Because he had changed his ways, neither police nor his family believe he would have stolen the motorcycle and put it in his son's garage. There is also no evidence that Tim stole the motorcycle, and investigators don't know how it came to be in Tim's garage. They do have a suspect in the burglary in which the motorcycle was taken, someone who wasn't a member of the Darrow family, and that person is now deceased.
Alvin was not close to his sons for most of his life, in large part because he spent so much of their childhoods in prison. After he turned his life around, his relationship with Jeremy improved. However, his relationship with Tim remained poor; their loved ones stated Tim resented his father and they fought constantly.
Tim is the more aggressive of the two brothers and repeatedly got into trouble with the law, including some arrests for violent offenses, while Jeremy has no criminal record. Family members and friends said he physically abused Alvin, sometimes for no apparent reason, and they often saw Alvin with injuries he said Tim had inflicted.
Alvin's neighbor sometimes saw marks on Alvin's neck consistent with choking and believed Tim was doing it to him. She sometimes called the police to intervene in the domestic violence incidents, but Tim would always flee the scene before authorities arrived. Alvin told his friend Conley that his disputes with Tim were becoming so violent he was afraid for his life.
Alvin's family believes foul play must have been involved in his disappearance, as it's extremely uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. The police also think he was the victim of a homicide. It's unclear whether the burglary and the motorcycle has any connection to his case. His case remains unsolved.