Cold Case Spotlight

Family still searching for Louise Davis on 39th anniversary of her disappearance

Rachel Davis and her sister Evelyn “Louise” Davis grew up together in East Liverpool, Ohio. The two were incredibly close, according to Rachel, and Louise loved to treat Rachel with gifts like stuffed animals.

“She mothered me a lot. And she was protective,” Rachel told Dateline of her 17-year-old sister. “She was very outgoing. She liked to horseback ride, she loved animals -- she was just a very sweet person. And she loved her family and friends so much.”

Louise Davis Barb Davis

The extended Davis family was particularly close; Rachel and Louise lived just down the street from their cousin Barb Davis and her family.

Barb and Louise were six months apart in age, and did almost everything together. From going to school to hanging out, Barb told Dateline spending time with Louise was easy.

On June 21, 1979, Louise was sunbathing in her yard with her mother, Lou Davis. According to family, Robert Wooten, the husband of Louise’s friend Darla, came over to speak with Louise. Robert told Louise that his wife, who had been away on a trip, had returned and wanted to see Louise.

Louise, excited to see her friend Darla, quickly left for the Wooten’s house with Robert.

Louise’s mother told her daughter to be back by 10:00 p.m., cousin Barb told Dateline. But Louise never returned home.

The next day, Louise’s sister Rachel says she and their father, Lester Ray Davis, ran into Robert Wooten while running errands. They asked where Louise was, but, says Rachel, Robert said she had run away and not to wait for her to come back.

Worried, Rachel and her father contacted the Liverpool Township Police Department later that day to report Louise missing. Police tell Dateline they then began an investigation into Louise’s whereabouts.

“We were all worried. It was like going nuts -- especially her mom,” Barb told Dateline. “We went searching, and went everywhere you could think.”

According to Barb, Louise left her makeup, toothbrush and $500 in cash in her purse at home, so family felt confident Louise had not run away.

Four days later, on June 25, 1979, tragedy would strike the small town of East Liverpool, Ohio. Robert Wooten, the last person seen with Louise before she disappeared, murdered his sister-in-law Debbie Taylor and two of her children, Detective Sergeant Jared Kimemond with the Liverpool Township Police Department confirmed to Dateline. He later confessed to the crime and is serving a life sentence at the Belmont Correctional Institution on two counts of aggravated murder, and one count of murder.

When asked if he believed Louise’s disappearance was related to Robert, Sgt. Kimemond said he could not confirm that. Robert Wooten has not been named a suspect in Louise’s disappearance and denies having anything to do with the case.

“There is speculation that it could be [related], but as of having evidence of that? At this point, no. We do not have any,” Sgt. Kimemond said.

Sgt. Kimemond confirmed to Dateline that in the weeks following Robert’s confession to the murders, an anonymous letter was received by the Liverpool Township Police Department.

The anonymous note Barb Davis

The letter accused Robert of killing Louise, and told police where to find Louise’s clothes. Sergeant Kimemond confirmed they received the letter and that police did subsequently find Louise’s clothes. He would not comment as to the location where the clothes were found.

Louise’s parents will never learn the truth about what happened to their daughter. He mother Lou passed away in 1990, her father Lester in 1999.

Cousin Barb and sister Rachel will not stop searching for Louise. Each told Dateline, however, they do believe Louise is dead. They know in their hearts that if she were alive, Louise would have tried to contact them in some way.

“I just want to give her a decent burial,” Barb told Dateline. “I loved her, and I still love her.”

Evelyn “Louise” Davis would be 56 years old today. At the time of her disappearance, she was described as 5’2” tall with brown hair and a scar on her lower lip. If you know anything regarding Louise’s disappearance, please contact the Liverpool Township Police Department at (330) 385-5564.