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Published: Friday, 6/22/2007

Sheriff: Baby found on doorstep is not missing Ohio woman's


UNIONTOWN, Ohio A baby found on a doorstep in northeast Ohio does not belong to a missing pregnant woman, the Wayne County Sheriff s Department said.

The baby was left outside a home about 45 miles from where Jessie Davis lived.

Davis, 26, was reported missing one week ago today after her mother found the young woman s bedroom in disarray, the furniture overturned and Davis young son home alone.

Sheriff Thomas Maurer said a woman admitted leaving the newborn at the home. He said she concealed her pregnancy from her family and gave birth while at a hotel in neighboring Richland County.

This incident is not related to the ongoing investigation by the Stark County Sheriff s Office in the disappearance of Jessie Davis, Maurer said in a news release.

The discovery of the baby Monday raised questions about whether the child belonged to Davis, and DNA tests were being conducted.

Davis is expecting a baby girl July 3. Volunteers searched the area around her home near Uniontown for the second day today, looking for clues to her disappearance.

Her 2-year-old son, who may be the only witness to his mother s disappearance, told investigators: Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy s in rug.

Authorities earlier had said they didn t believe that the baby girl found in Wayne County belonged to Davis. The woman who discovered the baby is a nurse who has counseled pregnant teens.

Maurer said the investigation shows that the residence where the baby was left was picked at random and that the woman acted alone. The case has been turned over to the Wayne County prosecutor s office.

Davis mother, Patricia Porter, was the last person to speak to Davis on June 13 and says she is focused on finding her daughter.

We are not stopping and whoever s done this, I hope they don t think that we re going home. No one s going home and we are not stopping until we find her and find who did this to her, she said, choking up.

When Porter was asked today by NBC s Today show if she considered the father of Davis 2-year-old son and unborn baby a suspect, she replied: Yes, he s a suspect.

I still pray that it s not him, she said. That doesn t mean that I don t think he s a suspect, as well.

Authorities have talked with and searched the home of Canton police officer Bobby Cutts Jr., the father of Davis son, although investigators have repeatedly said he is not a suspect.

Cutts, 30, says he had nothing to do with Davis disappearance. The woman s family says he is the father of both 2-year-old Blake and of Davis unborn baby.

About 250 volunteers searched for Davis today, far fewer than the 1,800 who turned up Thursday to scour backyards, vacant fields and a Christmas tree farm.

Groups of 80 to 100 volunteers covered about 12 square miles Thursday and the goal today was to cover the same amount of territory, said Tim Miller, director of Texas EquuSearch, an internationally active search group that organized the volunteer effort.

The search will resume Saturday if Davis isn t found today.

Search dogs hit on one area of freshly dug dirt Thursday more than a mile from Davis home in nearby Lake Township, but it turned out to be a marijuana plot, Stark County sheriff s Capt. Gary Shankle said.

It s very frustrating, but we just can t leave any stone unturned, he said.

Miller said all hits by dogs and anything unusual that volunteers find will be turned over to the sheriff s department.

When we have Jessie everybody will know, he said.

Davis family is not participating in the search. Davis father had searched with volunteers on Thursday.

It s too stressful every time a dog comes across something, her sister Whitney said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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