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1,400 Volunteers Search For Missing Pregnant Ohio Woman

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UNIONTOWN, Ohio (AP) _ About 1,400 volunteers searched neighborhoods, farm fields and woods Thursday for a woman, nine months pregnant, who disappeared from her rural home last week.

``I think every single rock will be turned over on this search,'' said organizer Tim Miller, who runs the internationally active search team Texas EquuSearch.

Miller had expected about 200 volunteers Thursday and said he was a bit overwhelmed by the turnout. His team also brought in sonar equipment to check ponds and a remote-control airplane equipped with a camera to look for any sign of the missing woman, Jessie Davis, 26.

``They're going to help us find Jessie, hopefully, bring her back safe,'' said Davis' younger sister, Whitney Davis, who wore a T-shirt with her sister's picture and the word ``Missing'' in red letters.

Volunteers searched for about 4 1/2 hours before a storm halted their efforts. People divided into groups of about 100 and walked side-by-side in lines to comb the area around Jessie Davis' northeast Ohio home.

Davis, whose baby is due July 3, was last heard from in a phone call with her mother on June 13. Two days later, her mother checked on her home and found it in shambles, with the furniture overturned, a comforter missing and her 2-year-old grandson wandering around alone.

The little boy told investigators: ``Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in rug.''

``We're holding onto that hope that maybe she's still alive out there,'' Miller said Wednesday. ``That would be the greatest thing in the world, but realistically, we know after a period of time that that normally doesn't happen.''

Cadaver dogs were sent to areas where they picked up on some odors, but nothing had been found by mid-afternoon, Miller said. ``A lot of times they'll pick up on something that's not there,'' he said.

Miller started EquuSearch after his 16-year-old daughter, Laura, disappeared in Texas; she was found dead 17 months later. Funded through donations, the group offers search-and-rescue training and uses specialized search equipment to help recover human remains around the world and search for missing children. It has worked on hundreds of missing persons cases.

On Wednesday, for the second time in three days, investigators searched the home of the man who fathered Davis' 2-year-old son and unborn daughter, although authorities have repeatedly said Canton police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. is not a suspect.

Cutts, 30, told The (Canton) Repository he had nothing to do with Davis' disappearance, and that he has slept little and had no appetite since the 26-year-old woman vanished.

Sheriff's investigators and FBI agents carried out more than a dozen white cardboard boxes, a few brown bags and three large black plastic bags during a search that lasted more than three hours.

A legal order allowed investigators to obtain some of Davis' cell phone records, which are being reviewed, Stark County sheriff's Chief Deputy Rick Perez said at a news conference Wednesday.

Cutts, who also has two children with his wife, Kelly, said they are separated but have not filed for divorce and that his wife knew he had a relationship with Davis.

He said he last spoke with Davis at 8 p.m. on June 13, about 90 minutes before she last spoke with her mother.

Cutts' mother, Renee Horne, told the Repository that agents at her son's home were looking for Davis' cell phone and a quilt missing from Davis' home.

Horne said FBI agents questioned her son twice Wednesday, and read him his Miranda rights during the second interview. Investigators also took Cutts' two cell phones, Horne said.

Meanwhile, authorities said DNA tests would not be finished until next week on a newborn girl left on a porch in Wooster, about 45 miles away from Davis' home. Authorities have said they doubt that Davis gave birth to the infant, who was less than 24 hours old when she was found Monday, but they are conducting the tests to be sure.

On its Web site, the FBI lists the case as a kidnapping. But FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said the label is standard whenever foul play is a possibility, and the agency doesn't know if Davis was abducted or not.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Davis' whereabouts. EquuSearch added a $5,000 reward.

Thursday morning, scores volunteers gathered at a firehouse near a sign that read, ``Pray for Jessie,'' to help EquuSearch's efforts.

``My heart goes out to them,'' said Lisa Dillon, 47, who took a vacation day from her state job to aid in the search. ``I just want to help.''
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