Eric Lee Franks

Franks, circa 2011; Franks's Chevrolet Malibu

  • Missing Since 03/21/2011
  • Missing From Saginaw, Michigan
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 38 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'0 - 6'1, 175 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Bronze or tan four-door 2001 Chevrolet Malibu with the Ohio license plate number EMH4902 (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Black hair, brown eyes. Franks's left toe has been partially amputated and has no nail. His ears are pierced. He wears a full set of dentures. Franks's hair was chin-length at the time of his disappearance.

Details of Disappearance

Franks checked into the Miller Motel in Saginaw, Michigan sometime in late 2010. His former girlfriend, Kendra Firmingham, who was the mother of his teenage daughter, lived in Saginaw.

He checked out of the motel on March 21, 2011, having stayed about five months. Firmingham said he drove north on Dixie Highway. He has never been heard from again. His family reported him missing in November.

Firmingham stated that Franks wanted to go to California, so she had helped him clean out his motel room. However, only Firmingham was seen cleaning out the room; Franks wasn't there.

His phone was used many times in the weeks after he was last seen, making calls to auto repair shops, to a surgeon, to salvage yards, to a car dealer, and to a dentist's office. The dentist had never treated Franks, but had traeted Firmingham; this was the only call the phone made to a number definitely related to her. Nevertheless, police don't believe Franks was using his phone when it was making those class.

His vehicle, a bronze or tan four-door 2001 Chevrolet Malibu with the Ohio license plate number EMH4902, went missing him; a photo of it is posted with this case summary. It was registered to his mother, but she let her son use it.

The Chevrolet was not recovered until September 2020, nine and a half years after he disappeared. It had been hidden in the garage of Gerald Rutledge, an elderly and incapacitated Saginaw man. There was a spot of blood on the driver's seat, not very large, and DNA testing showed it Franks's blood.

Firmingham had been Rutledge's caregiver at the time of Franks's disappearance; she later moved to Florida, where she died of cancer in 2016. In 2020 Rutledge died, and that summer Franks's car was put up for sale along with other items from his estate. A man in Clare, Michigan purchased it and the police recovered it from that person.

Investigators believe Franks may be deceased. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Michigan State Police 989-495-5555

Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 25, 2022; two pictures added, details of disappearance updated.