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Mysterious photo sent to family of Middletown man missing for 35 years

The family of Teddy Franks have gotten numerous tips throughout the years. They’ve never gotten one like this.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:52 PM EDT
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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WXIX) - The family of a Middletown man who has been missing for 35 years received a mysterious photo that they believe could be connected to the case.

Teddy Franks vanished during Labor Day weekend 1986.

Teddy’s sister Michelle Lowry said Teddy, 19 at the time, got into a fight with his then-wife on the day he disappeared and later showed up at his sister Renea’s home. He asked Renea to take him to a business on Jackson Lane in Middletown for cigarettes.

However, when they arrived there, Lowry says Teddy saw someone else pull up, and it caused him to panic.

“He didn’t even let her stop the car,” Lowry said. “He jumped out of the car, ran in back of the Citgo gas station, and that was the last time anybody ever seen him.”

Mysterious photo sent to family of Middletown man missing for 35 years
Mysterious photo sent to family of Middletown man missing for 35 years

Teddy’s loved ones have spent decades trying to find him and fear he is no longer alive.

“He’s never had a job since, never had his driver’s license renewed since,” Teddy’s sister Jodi Franks said. “He didn’t take his car.”

Numerous tips have come in through the years, but Teddy’s sisters said a recent photo that has come to their attention is the most mind-blowing one.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know if it was him or not even though it looked like the clothes similar to what he was wearing,” Lowry said.

A woman saw the picture shared on social media. She thought a person in the photo looked like Teddy, so she sent it to Lowry. The original poster said she found the photo in a Goodwill store in Washington state and was attempting to seek information about it.

“[In the photo] I see a person who is tied up... They’re laying face down in some water. I another man with his hands behind his back tied up, and his feet are tied, and it looks like he is screaming, and then there is a shadow of what I’m guessing is another man, and it looks like he is holding some kind of gun,” Lowry said when describing the photo.

Internet sleuths have studied the photo and have come up with theories. Some claim the snapshot is from a movie scene, while others believe it shows the work of a serial killer.

Jodi Franks sees the possible resemblance but said she does not think her brother is in the photo.

At this point, the sisters do not know if the image is related to Teddy’s case, and they do not know where Teddy is, but they said they do have a strong suspicion that someone took their brother’s life.

“They should go to jail. They should get the death penalty. They should rot in hell,” Jodi said.

A reverse Google image search shows the photo popping up on true crime forum sites.

Lowry said she forwarded the image to the Butler County detective working Teddy’s case. He has not spoken about the photos and their authenticity but confirmed they are actively investigating Teddy’s case.

Anyone with information on the photo or on Teddy’s case is asked to call the Butler County Sheriff’s Office at (513) 785-1000.

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