UPDATE : Law enforcement broke from the command center stationed in Fuqua Park around 8 p.m. Monday as the prayer vigil began. McKinney said his deputies will hold the same posts through Monday night into Tuesday A fresh search will begin at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.
DUNCAN – Law enforcement agencies and the family of a missing boy continue search efforts for eight year old Damion Alexander Davidson, who was reported missing the morning of June 12.
He is described as a 4 foot tall, 50 pound white male with brown hair and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a red shirt. Search efforts turned up the child’s pajama pants near the creek south of Bois D’Arc Sunday evening. The child is autistic and non-verbal.
Around 7:45 a.m. Sunday, Duncan Communications Center received a call from Damion’s mother reporting him missing from 1418 N. 7th Street. Damion’s mother said when she woke up Sunday morning, he was gone. Police documents indicate Damion had used two bean bag chairs, stacked them by the front door, unlocked the dead bolt and left the residence.
Duncan police responded to the scene and set up a perimeter around the area in an effort to locate the child. After this, DPD posted a description of the child with a photo to Facebook and sent a mass Blackboard message out to the community.
Reports indicate he was last seen at 6:47 a.m. Sunday at Dollar General on 5th and Elder and again at 7:27 a.m. at the Chisholm Corner located at 10th and Beech Ave. Since then, two Duncan Power employees reported at 9 a.m. the same day they had seen a boy playing in water puddles north of 10th and Beech, but this sighting remains unconfirmed at this time.
Damion’s Great Aunt, Kathy Davidson, who now lives in Del City, came to Duncan the last two days to join her family, law enforcement and the community in the search efforts.
“They’re holding up OK,” Kathy said of the family. “Of course, each hour that goes by, we’re still praying ... Now with the rain coming down, it’s put a damper on our spirits.”
Police reported Damion is fascinated by water and storms, which could have led to him leaving the residence, but Kathy believes and hopes Damion wouldn’t actually get into any water.
“We don’t think he’d actually go in the water but he likes to go to the edge and play, maybe pat it or whatever, but he knows he can’t swim so he won’t go into the water, or at least we don’t think he would,” she said.
Kathy said Damion’s mother and father are clinging to their strength and faith.
“She keeps saying, ‘We’re going to bring Damion home,’ and we keep reassuring her because we feel like we will,” Kathy said. “We feel like he’s hiding somewhere.”
While Kathy believes Damion could be hiding somewhere, she said it’s hard to say because he is such an active child.
“He moves around a lot, so that’s what we’re hoping he’s doing ... moving around maybe trying to find his way back home,” she said. “Of course, with all the rain, he might be moving from spot to spot and we’re just missing him.”
Everywhere she goes, Kathy keeps praying she will find Damion in “his little red shirt.”
“We’ve searched and we’ve searched,” she said. “All down the bed creeks, every dumpster, every garbage can. This morning when I was coming in on my truck, you know, I looked. Every place I could go, I look and see if I can see him in his little red shirt.”
Kathy said the family is trying to keep calm for Damion’s younger brother, Darius, who also has autism.
“I don’t know if he really realizes what is going on,” Kathy said. “I’m sure he does because yesterday he was quite active, you know. We had toys out, he was playing with them, but I’m not real familiar with autisc children so I don’t know exactly how they respond to something like this, but I’m sure Darius does realize something is wrong. We’re trying to keep it as calm and peaceful there for him as well as the mother and father.”
Law enforcement forces joined in the task include Duncan Fire Department, Stephens County Emergency Management Cert Team, Stephens County Sheriff’s Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oak Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Stephens County District Attorney’s Office, Office of Juvenile Affairs, Comanche Police Department, Lighthorse Police, Empire Fire Department and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
Since the report of Damion missing, agencies have organized a ground search coordinated by grids. The search began in the immediate area and have gone down to the Claridy Creek area, documents indicate. Choppers and drones have kept eyes on the ground from the skies and dive teams have searched water from Beech Ave. to Main Street Duncan.
The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office assisted DPD during the search. SCS Wayne McKinney said his office assisted with a helicopter and extra deputies were called to watch creek crossings to see if anything surfaced.
“That was to no avail,” he said. “They did found the young’s man pajama bottoms and confirmed that they were his. I have deputies at every bridge within city limits from Bois D’Arc to highway 53. They were out there all night. We have a bunch of deputies put there right now. We’re rotating them so they can get some rest.”
The search continued through the night and only stopped when rainfall prevented them from continuing,
“We’re still actively searching,” said McKinney. “There are multiple agencies working together. We’re continuing the search and we’re not giving up.”
Emergency Management Director Gary Ball said 16 from his department also joined the search.
“We walked down the alleys and into houses,” he said. “We knocked on doors and didn’t go into people’s yards unless we asked. (Monday) we had 15 more go out. They’re searching from Seminole south on Cow Creek.”
While the search continued over night, Kathy said she did anything she could to fill her time and stay positive.
“Prayed. Cried,” she said, tearing up. “Phone calls, Facebook, anything you can imagine. Got up and went to work and tried to work, stay positive, keep my mind busy, and of course when I get here I’m dealing with the family and phone calls too. Staying busy. Staying hot on the trail. I’m not going to give up. You know, we can’t give up. We have to find him. He’s so precious, you know. He’s an autistic child, he can’t talk, so it’s hard for him to communicate. If you call out to him, he’ll respond to ‘Damion Alexander’ or ‘Damion.’”
Kathy said she isn’t sure if this is the first time Damion has left on his own or not, but identified his favorite places to go.
“(His mother) wouldn’t go very far with them. He liked to go to the Dollar General store, that was his favorite place to go. Simmons Center Park, he loved to go there,” Kathy said. “Having two autistic children, apparently they’re very hard to handle so she stays home with them all the time. She takes care of them, she doesn’t pawn them off on baby sitters. She is a wonderful mother, she takes care of them, you know. The father works, he takes care of his family. This is just a very tragic accident that has happened.
“I’ve told them, don’t blame yourself. This is not your fault. It happens. A child, you know you think at 2 o’clock in the morning they would be asleep.”
Since reports of his missing, the community has united behind the family. Sunday evening, community members hosted a candlelight vigil and others have helped in search efforts.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so overwhelming. I’ve never seen so much love and support,” Kathy said. “You know, I lived in this community and I knew there was love and support but this is just – I’ve never seen this ever in a community as much. We don’t know how to thank everybody. I thought about if I ever moved away from Oklahoma City or Del City, I would not come back here, but I’ve changed my mind because of this very reason right here: For all the people and all the support, all the endless hours the police department has put out, the fire department has put out, the people in the community, how many miles they’ve searched, how dirty and muddy – we just can’t thank them enough. And if it was their children, we’d be right out there look for theirs, too.”
Damion attends Mark Twain Elementary School and police think he may have headed in this direction. Police also say Damion is familiar with the areas at which he has been sighted, so they have continually looked through these locations.
DPD said if community members would like to help, leave the water searches with trained professionals and instead walk the block and check neighborhoods, look in out buildings, parked cars, under porches and decks.
A most recent update from DPD Lt. John Byers indicates K-9 teams are meeting and putting together a strategy before they deploy sometime today.
If anyone has any information on Damion’s whereabouts, contact DPD at 580-255-2112.
Christian Betancourt contributed to this story.