The father of a 21-year-old Lawrence man who has been missing for more than a week said he still thinks his son will be found alive, and police today said they've found no evidence of foul play in the disappearance.
Police and family members have been searching for the man, Cecil Dawes Jr., since his disappearance Oct. 15 in North Lawrence.
Cecil Dawes Sr., Lawrence, said the family on Friday started distributing fliers containing his son's picture and the basic facts of the disappearance. The fliers ask local residents to phone police if they know anything about the incident.
The elder Dawes said the disappearance is puzzling because his son has never run away from home. When asked whether he had any hope that his son is OK, Dawes said: "Of course. We're not going to quit looking."
Chris Mulvenon, Lawrence police spokesman, said detectives have found no clues to indicate that the Dawes Jr. "did anything other than disappear on his own free will."
Mulvenon said there is no evidence of criminal activity in the case.
"He's an adult, and there's nothing criminal about him leaving if he wanted to," he said.
Mulvenon said officers have learned that Dawes Jr. was having financial problems and some other personal problems that may have led him to leave the area.
Dawes' father, however, disagreed with that theory. He said that his son "would have tried to work out (the problems) here."
The missing man, a former student at Haskell Indian Junior College and Kansas University, was last seen early Oct. 15. He is 5-feet-11 and weighs between 185 and 190 pounds.
The night Dawes disappeared, his unattended car was struck by a train while parked on the Union Pacific railroad tracks near North Third Street, just north of the old UP depot.
During an interview with a woman who was with Dawes that night, detectives learned that the missing man either parked or accidentally drove the car on the tracks, Mulvenon said. Mulvenon said the woman told police that Dawes told her to get out of the car and hide in some bushes near the scene.
The woman reported that after she did so, she heard a car drive up. She then heard a door close. After that, she said, she saw no trace of Dawes.
Since then, police have conducted two searches of the area. On Wednesday, a group of about 100 friends and Dawes family members searched in the area but found no new leads in the disappearance.