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Published: Thursday, 10/8/2009

Worried pair seek news of missing son

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Moore, Jr. Moore, Jr.
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

David and Toni Moore have a message for their son, David, Jr., who's been missing since August: We love you. We want to help. Please come home.

When the Old West End couple learned Tuesday night that police in Scottsdale, Ariz. had found their son's car, their hope was renewed that he's OK and still living in his adopted home of Scottsdale.

Still, the waiting is almost unbearable. Yesterday, Mr. Moore was wrestling with plans to board a plane to Arizona for the second time in as many weeks.

“I would love to be in Scottsdale the moment he was found,” Mr. Moore said. “As an adult, he has the choice. There are adults who decide they don't want to be found. That is his prerogative, though I still can't imagine him choosing that option.”

The search for David, 37, has turned into a national campaign with a page on the social networking site Facebook, and a Web site, finddavemoore.com, created by his cousin, Beth Johnson of Ann Arbor. The Facebook page has prompted old friends, former co-workers, and perfect strangers to offer help and support, prayers, and thoughts.

“The Facebook support has been just overwhelming. We've had so many people come forward,” Ms. Johnson said. “It's just been amazing and that's what you need — the more people who are aware and the more people who are hearing about him is just more eyes and ears out there.”

A 1991 Central Catholic High School graduate, David left Toledo to attend Ohio State University and later worked for a bank in Columbus. Five years ago, he told his parents he wanted to move to a warmer climate and headed for Scottsdale, where he was hired as a branch manager for Chase Bank.

Mrs. Moore said David had not returned to Toledo for a visit since his move, but had stayed in touch by phone and e-mail. Mr. Moore had visited him in Scottsdale as recently as this summer, which is when he learned David was unemployed.

“He told his Dad he wasn't working, but he wasn't worried about it,” Mrs. Moore recalled. “He said he was looking for jobs, said a headhunter was helping him. We didn't have any indication anything was wrong.”

Their son had moved out of his apartment at the end of May and told his father he was planning to move into a house he was going to rent. That never happened, and the Moores have since learned he left the bank — on good terms — in August, 2007.

It was in August of this year — after last speaking to David on Aug. 21 — when the Moores could no longer reach David by cell phone. In September, they contacted Scottsdale police and filed a missing-person report.

“He's a real quiet, peaceful soul, and he always has been from the day he arrived,” his mother said. “This has just been a heartache and a heartbreak for us. To realize he has been homeless just about killed his father and me.”

The Moores are no strangers to difficult times. In 1996, the elder Mr. Moore was abducted outside his Old West End home, robbed, and shot five times by his captors. The two men convicted in his attack also were found guilty in the death of Samar El-Okdi on Jan. 3, 1997.

Mr. Moore and other family members said they were encouraged this week by the discovery of David's Honda Accord, which police said had been in a parking garage at the Marriott Residence Inn in downtown Scottsdale for up to three weeks.

“The biggest thing is we know he's still in the area, and it just helps us, just gives us a renewed sense after not hearing any news for so long,” Ms. Johnson said. “We haven't found him yet, but we're feeling hopeful.”

Scottsdale Police Lt. Craig Chrzanowski, commander of the crimes against persons unit, said David was not staying at the Marriott but may have been living in or out of his car. There was clothing and other items inside.

Lieutenant Chrzanowski said police found a receipt from a nearby religious store that indicated David had purchased some holy cards from the shop in September. Employees of the shop told police they recalled seeing David there within the last 10 days. He declined to speculate on what that means.

“It doesn't mean he's alive or dead. It means we know he was seen 10 days ago at that store,” the lieutenant said.

Mr. Moore said that when he last spoke to David in August, he told his son he had been notified that David had missed some car payments. Mr. Moore made the payments for him.

“I said, ‘Obviously, Dave, financially you're not in good shape,” Mr. Moore recalled. “I think there's a deep pride that runs through him. I think the issue was one of embarrassment or severe depression. I don't know. I can't wrap my hands around it.”

He said his son had always been fiercely independent and didn't ask for money. He was also a fun person to be around even though he preferred to be alone.

“He's a character,” Mr. Moore said. “He's a good kid. He always has been, but he's always been reclusive. We don't know what causes that.”

Last month, Mr. Moore and his brother, Bob, traveled to Scottsdale where they visited homeless shelters and met with police but came home with no more clues about where David was. They may return soon.

“We feel somewhat helpless because we're not close to it. If we were, we would be out scouring the streets ourselves,” Mrs. Moore said, adding that police feel “finding him is very close. They think losing the car is probably going to cause him to become more visible, whether that means sleeping in the park or finding another place to sleep.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:jfeehan@theblade.comor 419-724-6129.



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