Investigators using DNA to solve ‘bizarre’ missing man case from 1986

Teddy Franks vanished in Middletown
Investigators digging deeper into 1986 disappearance of Middletown man
Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 11:25 PM EDT
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - More than 30 years after a Middletown man mysteriously vanished, a new agency is digging deeper into his disappearance.

Theodore “Teddy” Franks has been missing since 1986. He would now be 53.

“I find myself looking at people all the time thinking, ‘Could that be him? Is that him?’ But it’s always never him," Michelle Lowry, Franks’s sister, said.

Lowry said Franks vanished from Middletown in 1986 after getting in a fight with his wife.

Franks ended up at their sister Renea Hester’s place. Hester says she gave Franks a ride to a gas station on Roosevelt for cigarettes, and they have not seen their brother since.

“Renea said she didn’t even get the car in park, and he jumped out of the car and ran, and that was the last time anybody ever seen him," Lowry said.

To this day, Lowry says they believe that Franks was afraid of something or someone.

“It was bizarre," Lowry said. "He didn’t act like that any other time about any other thing, so he had to have been scared of something.”

A private investigator looked into the case for several years, using technology to try to find answers, but those answers never came.

“They were investing in some kind of water camera or something that they could put in the water, and it could search like the bottom of rivers and stuff," Lowry said. “It’s very, very hurtful, you know, just not knowing, and to think that somebody knows where he is and what happened to him, and they’re not saying.”

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the case.

Investigators said they have been compiling DNA from family members and sending it out for testing to see if it matches with any ‘John Does.’

“There is a part of me that does hope he’s somewhere out there still... But I mean, I wanna believe it, but in my heart, I don’t believe it," Lowry said. "I don’t. I don’t think he’s alive.”

Franks left behind more than his sisters. Lowry said he also has two daughters who were both too young to really know him at the time he disappeared.

“He was shy. He was just a good guy. He was a good brother,” Lowry said. "He was a good son, and I’m sure he would’ve been a good dad had he had the chance to do so.”

Lowry said at this point, she is not seeking vengeance, and instead just wants to know where her brother is so he can return home.

Some reports indicate that Franks disappeared in May 1986 around Memorial Day, but Lowry says he vanished in September of that year, around Labor Day.

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