Details of Disappearance
DeWayne was last seen in Owensboro, Kentucky on July 11, 1986. 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.
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 Bell family. He maintains his innocence and claims DeWayne and his father, who was also called David DeWayne Bell and went by David, were involved in Shannon's disappearance. 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 planned 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 accurate. 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.