Parents with young children know how rare it is to have time to themselves. For Brittany and Tyler Davis –- parents of a 20-month-old son –- these occasions only happen three times a year: Brittany’s birthday, Tyler’s birthday, and their anniversary.
This year for Brittany’s birthday on February 24, she and her husband Tyler, 29, planned a night at a hotel near Easton Town Center, an indoor and outdoor shopping complex in Columbus, Ohio. They live about 90 minutes southwest in Wilmington, Ohio, and the trip was Brittany’s first time hanging out in the state’s capital.
“On February 23rd, me and my husband and our son drove to my in-laws and dropped our son with them,” Brittany told Dateline. “Then we continued on to the Hilton hotel, which is right in front of the shopping center, and checked in probably around 5:00 p.m.”
Brittany said a close friend, who lives in Columbus, came by the hotel to hang out with them. A few hours later, around 8:30 p.m., the three of them left the hotel to walk around the shopping center.
“We got some dinner and went out for the evening,” Brittany said. “We walked around the town center to get the lay of the land, because we were going to go shopping the next day and had a couple’s massage planned.”
Brittany told Dateline nothing was out of ordinary that evening. But by the time they had walked around the sprawling shopping complex –- which includes no fewer than 235 retail stores, 40 restaurants and 750 residential units, according to its website –- it was around 3:00 a.m. and everyone was exhausted. They took an Uber back to the hotel. Brittany said that’s when the night began to change.
“When we were getting out of the Uber, Tyler seemed so confused and frustrated,” Brittany told Dateline. “He said he was going to go for a walk.”
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Brittany said she offered to go with him, but her phone was dying so their friend went with Tyler, instead, while Brittany went to the hotel room to charge her phone. She went back outside a couple of minutes later, she said, but couldn’t find her husband or their friend.
“I was kind of confused, like, ‘What’s going on?’” she said. “Then Tyler called me around 3:30 a.m. and said he would be right back [to the hotel].”
A few minutes later, the couple’s friend returned to the hotel. Tyler was not with him.
“He said Tyler would be right back, too. But I kept trying to call Tyler and he wouldn’t answer,” Brittany said. Brittany added that their friend had seen Tyler on the walk, but she was unclear why, or at what point, they had separated.
Around 4:10 a.m., about one hour after Tyler had left for the walk, Brittany’s phone rang. It was Tyler.
“He called and said, ‘I see the hotel. I’m walking through the woods. I’ll be right there.’” Brittany said. “He sounded so confused. And he is not an outdoorsy person at all. There could be two trees right beside each other and he would call that ‘woods.’”
Seconds later, Brittany’s phone rang again. It was Tyler.
“I answered it and there was an open line for about four seconds. Then the phone hung up,” Brittany said. “I called him back and his phone was off. And it’s been off ever since.”
Brittany told Dateline it was nearing 4:30 a.m. at this point. Their friend, who Brittany says lives just 10 minutes from the hotel, decided to go home. Brittany told Dateline she “didn’t have a good feeling” about her husband’s safety and began calling friends to ask for advice on what to do. According to Brittany, her friends reassured her that nothing was wrong and Tyler was probably going to walk through the door at any moment. But as the sun began to rise, Brittany grew more concerned.
“I called an old roommate who lives in Columbus. At 8:00 a.m., he came and we drove around Easton. Maybe Tyler fell asleep on a bench? We didn’t know what had happened,” Brittany said.
Brittany said she then called her in-laws, Tyler’s parents, to tell them what was going on. Around 10:30 a.m., she called the Columbus Police Department to report her husband missing.
“After I spoke to the police, my father-in-law arrived,” Brittany said. “He searched every single area on foot, by himself. He stayed there until it was dark.”
Brittany drove to her in-laws’ house to take care of her and Tyler’s son. She says she returned to Easton Town Center that evening to continue searching for her husband. Authorities searched, too, she said. But nobody found any trace of the missing father.
The Columbus Police Department did not reply to Dateline’s request for comment by Monday evening, but Brittany said authorities have conducted multiple searches and are currently reviewing security footage.
“They have a lot of missing people in that area, but I only have one husband,” Brittany said. “There are so many different things that could have happened, but there is no lead directing us anywhere. He would not just leave.”
Tyler Davis is described as being 5’10” tall and weighing 170 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue and green flannel shirt with blue jeans and black and white Nike shoes. Tyler has a birthmark on his right arm. If you have any information on the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s disappearance, please call the Columbus Police Department at 614-645-4545.
Bianca Hillier covers missing person and homicide cases for NBC News.