Chosen by Sarah, this Select It Sunday case is Earnest Edward Francis, a West Virginia construction worker who disappeared from Sistersville on May 4, 2011. He was 32 at the time, and studying criminal justice at Colorado Tech University (online, I presume). After his disappearance they found the car he was driving parked at a dam with all his stuff inside.
For unclear reasons, Earnest’s family thinks he was diabetic or pre-diabetic. This could be significant: not only can diabetes be fatal if not treated, but problems with blood sugar can lead to people become confused and wandering off. I’m not diabetic but I do occasionally have problems with hypoglycemia (caused in part by genetics and in part by my crappy diet). There was one incident where I realized I was having an episode and needed to eat ASAP, and tried to heat up some food in the microwave, but I completely forgot how to make the microwave work and the buttons made no sense to me at all.
It’s possible an episode like that could explain Earnest’s disappearance, but it wouldn’t really explain how he’s stayed missing this long. There hasn’t been a lot of press on this case. When it comes to missing persons, especially adult ones, males tend to get far less coverage than females.
His family has a Facebook page for him.
THANK YOU!!! For remembering Earnest! Everyday is hard on us, around the 4th of every month is harder, May 4th of every year is harder still (it never gets any easier 😦 ), this month has been the most devastating so far, being 5 yrs since he disappeared!!! You remembering him publicly is truly heart felt! Thanks again for your concern!
Earnest’s mom, B. Louise Francis
While I don’t live right in his town, I do drive by there (both sides of the river) frequently. I often find myself thinking about him as I do. I don’t want to hurt any family members by the statements I will make, and I hope I don’t, but as an objective Charley reader and resident of the region, I have a few thoughts.
I don’t know Earnest at all, and I don’t think I ever did meet him. So I have no personal connection here. My thoughts are based on the geography and generalities of the area.
im not sure of the dam at which his car was found, and that’s important. From my experience, the parking areas for the dams are on the Ohio side of the river (yet jurisdiction of the river goes to WV) and I was thinking from the entry that his car was found at Willow Island? If so that’s pretty far from Sistersville, in the grand scheme of things. Either dam was still a bit of a drive from where he was last seen. Also (and I’m sorry to his family for saying so), most bodies that go into the river are found at one of the dams. He hasn’t been found and that is fairly strong evidence that he didn’t go into the river.
I too believe the potential diabetic situation is relevant. I’ve fortunately never experienced life-threatening sugar levels, but I’ve seen it in another person, and they do appear drunk or “stoned” in that state. Sadly, if he wandered away form his car in a severe diabetic state, he wouldn’t have to go far to become hidden. Just climbing a half mile (honestly, a quarter mile or less) uphill from a parking spot on either side of the river could have led him to an old mine entry, collapsed mine shaft, etc.
These hills here have so many nooks and crannies in such a small overall area that they are a searcher’s nightmare. I know, because as a kid I fell part way into a collapsed mine shaft up in the woods and if I hadn’t had friends with me I might not have gotten out.
One thing I’ve seen online in relation to missing persons from WV is the automatic assumption that drugs were involved. Yes, WV has a drug problem, but that doesn’t mean every person here has one. The quick rush to judgement about drugs here is frustrating. Earnest is missing, and his family needs to find him, don’t make assumptions…instead, look at him as you would any missing person in any town across the country.
I don’t know if any searches are still done periodically for Earmest, but if so I’d like to help, so if any family members want to let me know of a date please do so.
TB – 1st, let me thank you for your concern, that means so much to us! 2nd, you’ve got the wrong dam in mind. He disappeared from the New Martinsville, WV Hydro (dam) (North of Sistersville n Paden City). 3rd, you are right, it’s been ruled out and his body was not in the Oh river. 4th, concerning the possibility of diabetes, he had some sign, n one of the signs was falling asleep (passing out) while driving. And 5th, concerning the drugs, it’s very likely he was involved with drugs. that’s an awful, heart-breaking thing for a mom to say about her child, especially one that’s missing. BUT, what good would it do to lie about it or hide it. We thought it got out of it when he separated, but stories we’ve heard since are contrary to what we thought. Again, I want to thank you for your concern, and speaking out for him, and us. BLESS U!