UNIONTOWN, Ohio – About 1,000 volunteers turned out to search for a nearly nine-months pregnant woman Saturday, the third straight day searchers picked through rural areas and bodies of water in northeastern Ohio as a witness report surfaced about the night she disappeared.
Ned Davis, the father of 26-year-old Jessie Davis, begged volunteers to continue their efforts, spending much of the morning giving pep talks to groups of searchers.
"I thank them. I remind them to stay hydrated," he said in an interview. "And most importantly I tell them to bring my Jessie back."
Searching on Thursday and Friday of an area near Davis' home yielded nothing more than a marijuana patch.
About 17 square miles have been covered, and coordinators are sending searchers on Saturday to another four square miles of mostly farmland and wooded areas, said Cindy Wisdom, a spokeswoman for search organizer Texas EquuSearch.
Investigators have been mum on many details of their work, but they have released a short statement from Davis' 2-year-old-son, Blake, who may be their only eyewitness.
"Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in rug," the boy said.
Authorities have said they have no suspects, but have talked with Cutts and searched his home. They've also have questioned members of his family.
Bobby Cutts Jr., 30, is the father of Davis' son and a Canton police officer. He's said he had nothing to do with the disappearance of Davis, who was reported missing June 15 after her mother found the woman's bedroom in disarray, a pool of bleach on the floor and furniture overturned, and Blake home alone. Davis' family says he is also the father of the woman's unborn daughter, who is due July 3.
Davis' mother, Patricia Porter, was the last known person to speak to Davis on June 13 and said she's focused on finding her daughter.
"We are not stopping and whoever's done this, I hope they don't think that we're going home. No one's going home and we are not stopping until we find her and find who did this to her," she said, choking up.
Teams of volunteers are also looking in targeted areas around Cutts' home, while searchers are taking aerial photographs from helicopters and were preparing to search an unspecified body of water using sonar equipment, she said.
Authorities have said they're working around the clock on the case, trying to find the comforter and cell phone that vanished with Davis from her home in nearby Lake Township, and they're collecting information through a tip line.
An SUV-type vehicle was in Jessie Davis' driveway and garage between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. early June 16, a witness told authorities investigating the disappearance of the 26-year-old pregnant mother, a local Cleveland TV station reported Saturday.
The witness said he or she saw bright headlights from a "high-profile-type" of vehicle in Davis' Canton, Ohio, area home and heard loud music blaring from the vehicle when it left. It apparently backed into the driveway and into the garage, WOIO reported.
Investigators think the suspect knew Davis' neighbor, who lived in the other half of the duplex home, was gone on vacation, the station reported.
Cutts has fully cooperated with police and has not been named a suspect. He was at Champps Sports Bar in north Canton, the WOIO reported, until 12:30 a.m., but no alibi has been reported for the police officer after then.
Investigators are checking his cell phone records to prove or disprove statements he made to authorities.
When Porter was asked Friday by NBC's "Today" show if she considered Cutts a suspect, she replied: "Yes, he's a suspect."
"I still pray that it's not him," she said.
Authorities have talked with Cutts, a Canton police officer, and searched his home, but investigators have repeatedly said he is not a suspect. Cutts, 30, says he had nothing to do with Davis' disappearance.
Porter's attorney, Rick Pitinii, said later that her comments about Cutts were based more on her emotions than on any evidence in the case.
The pastor of the church Cutts attends has been praying with him every day and said Friday that Cutts, as a police officer, understands why the boyfriend of a missing woman would be under scrutiny.
"He understands what goes with the territory," said C.A. Richmond Sr., pastor at Logos Baptist Assembly. "Of course he is anxious for a resolution and disposition of the whole matter and he is confident they will find he had nothing to do with her disappearance."
On Friday, the Wayne County Sheriff's Department said an infant found on a doorstep in northeast Ohio does not belong to Davis, but to a woman who concealed her pregnancy from her family.
The baby was left outside a home near Wooster about 45 miles from where Davis lived.
Sheriff Thomas Maurer said another woman admitted leaving the newborn girl at the Wooster-area home. He said she gave birth while at a hotel in neighboring Richland County, and the case has been turned over to the Wayne County prosecutor's office.
The discovery of the baby Monday raised questions about whether the child belonged to Davis, and DNA tests were being conducted, though authorities had said they didn't believe the baby belonged to Davis.
The woman who discovered the baby is a nurse who has counseled pregnant teens. But Maurer said the investigation shows that her house was picked at random.
Sally Meadows, Cutts' aunt, told The (Canton) Repository that about five family members were questioned by investigators Friday. She and Cheressa Meadows, Cutts' cousin, said Cutts is being unfairly singled out.
"We hope she's OK," Cheressa Meadows told the newspaper, referring to Davis. "She's carrying our little cousin. But I don't feel he's done it."
Monique Conner, president of the Stark County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, also defended Cutts on Friday.
"Our first concern is the safe return of Jessie and our prayers are all going out to her. But what I'm asking for, I'm pleading with the media to stop making Mr. Cutts guilty," she told the newspaper.