The temperature was below freezing in Tyler, Texas when Mark Randall Davis left his home around 4:00 am on Monday, January 15, 2007. No one saw the 20-year-old leave the house, but from a note he left behind it was clear that he was depressed at the time. When his parents woke up and realized he was gone, they called the Tyler Police Department and reported him missing.

Mark’s parents told police that they believed he had been underdressed for the weather when he left the house; he was thought to be wearing only blue jeans, flip-flops or tennis shoes, and a maroon jacket. Worried that he could be in danger due to the extreme cold, police immediately launched a large-scale search for the missing man.

Officers went door-to-door in Mark’s quiet neighborhood, hoping to find someone who had seen the college student after he left his home that morning. Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Don Martin noted that Mark’s car was still parked in its usual spot, indicating he most likely left on foot. “If no one picked him up then he’s more than likely somewhere in the area.”

As hours passed without any sign of Mark, the search intensified. Police and volunteers combed through several wooded areas while a helicopter equipped with thermal imaging scanned the area from above. Some residents helped look through storage sheds and other outbuildings while others arrived to comfort his worried family. Everyone hoped that Mark would be found quickly, but as night started to fall their fears increased.

Reporters were told by Tyler Police Criminal Investigator Destry Walsworth that the fact that Mark still hadn’t been found made him feel bad. “With this weather, we need to find him right away, because the longer he stays out there, the worse things get.”

Mark had been to a few websites about suicide before he left his house on Monday morning, according to his computer history that police looked at. They were scared, but the fact that his body hadn’t been found gave them hope that he was still alive. Their main goal was still to find him as soon as possible. “He is still very much missing, and we want anyone who knows where he is to call the police.”

On Tuesday, investigators went around Tyler and the surrounding area handing out flyers about people who are missing. People in taxis and at the bus station were asked about Mark, but no information was found. He hadn’t been to any hospitals or morgues in the area, and there were no records of him being turned in. His family hoped that he had found safety somewhere, but they had no idea where he was. His father begged Mark with all his heart to get in touch with them. If Mark sees this, we want him to come back home, and we’ll help him with anything he needs help with.

Mark was on winter break from Texas A&M University, where he was majoring in chemical engineering, when he went missing. Mark moved from Tyler Junior College to Texas A&M and did very well in his classes at Tyler, where he earned a 3.7 grade point average. But he stopped going to class during the fall 2006 semester because he didn’t seem to be interested in learning. He seemed more distant, and his friends said he was acting like a totally different person.

Randy, Mark’s dad, said that his son had seemed to be having some problems in the months before he went missing. “He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for a living.” He was feeling down. He wasn’t interested in anything. It was hard to get him going.”

Mark wasn’t himself when he got home from school on December 13, 2006, for winter break. The family was supposed to go on a ski trip together, but Mark told his parents he didn’t want to go, even though he used to love skiing.

Though Mark’s parents were worried about him, they took him to a therapist to treat what they thought was depression. However, the therapy sessions didn’t help. “The specialist said he’d probably bounce back from it,” Randy said. We didn’t think there was a big deal going on. But Mark didn’t get better like the doctor thought he would. Instead, he seemed to get worse in mood.

It looked like everything was about to break that Monday morning. Mark got up early and left his parents a note before he left the house, but detectives didn’t think he necessarily meant to kill himself. Detective Gregg Roberts said, “It wasn’t a typical suicide note; it was more of a goodbye. It wasn’t clear what he really meant.” Did he want to kill himself, was he depressed, or did he want to go somewhere and never be seen again?”

Randy said that the family didn’t feel very hopeful after reading Mark’s note. “It said goodbye, and we thought we would never see him again.” We didn’t know what his real intentions were because of it. Mark made it clear in the note that he didn’t want to go home, but it didn’t say that he planned to kill himself. “His note makes it clear that he doesn’t care about how we feel. He just left. He was very nice to his mom, me, and the rest of his family. He said, “You can’t do anything about it, and you won’t find me.”

Mark had gone shopping the night before he disappeared, according to Detective Roberts. If Mark had meant to kill himself, he probably wouldn’t have done that. “I think he went to Walmart the night before to get some things, like clothes, a jacket, or a dog sled.” We didn’t really find any of that.” According to the police, this made them think that Mark might have just left his life in Tyler to start over somewhere else. They made it clear that they wouldn’t make him come home if they found him; they just wanted to make sure he was okay.

Before Mark got depressed, he was a normal college student who had a bright future ahead of him. Detective Roberts said, “He seems like a pretty fun-loving and active person.” He used to love water sports and skiing. He was a pretty fun guy. Even though he was depressed, he had never said he was thinking about suicide before he disappeared.

When asked about Mark, his parents said he seemed happy the night before he disappeared. At dinner at Olive Garden, the family ate together, and Mark seemed excited about what came next. It was his choice to switch his major from chemical engineering to Spanish, which he already spoke very well. He also said that he would like to go back to Mexico someday.

The family went shopping after dinner, and Mark bought a new jacket because he thought an ice storm was coming. At that point, there were no signs that something was wrong with him. He seemed excited about starting a new semester at college and exploring his new major. They were shocked when they found out he wasn’t there when they woke up the next morning.

As word got out that Mark had gone missing, several possible sightings of him were reported to police. They followed up on all of them and looked through surveillance footage from several places, but Mark was nowhere to be found.

Don Martin told reporters on Wednesday that Mark might not have been walking. “Last night, we found out that he might have taken a bike. If he did, he would have gone farther than if he had just walked.”

Someone called the police that night to say they saw a young man they thought was Mark riding a bike on County Road 173 in Flint, Texas. Mark’s home is in Tyler, so this was about five miles away. Detectives were hopeful that Mark was still alive after seeing him.

Two weeks after Mark was last seen, investigators had made little progress in determining his whereabouts. Hoping to bring in some new leads, his parents announced that they were offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Mark or to his metallic green and silver Expedition Specialized bicycle. Randy hoped that someone would call with proof that Mark was still alive. “Our personal lives came to a screeching halt. It’s just so hard to go on if we don’t know whether he’s alive.”

There were some reported sightings of Mark after the reward was announced; investigators followed up on each tip they received but were unable to develop any substantial leads and Mark’s whereabouts remained unknown. His parents believed that he might have headed for Mexico or another Latin American country, but Mark left all of his identification — including his passport — at home. If he left the country, he didn’t do so under his own name.

Years went by, and the investigation into Mark’s disappearance slowly went cold. Detectives still have no idea what happened to Mark; despite a number of extensive searches, no clues to his whereabouts have surfaced. The fact that neither his body nor his bike has been found gives them hope that Mark is alive somewhere, and they continue to hope that he will one day reach out to them to let them know he is okay.

As of April 2023, Mark’s fate remains a mystery. Investigators still aren’t sure if he left the country, killed himself, or is living off the radar somewhere in the United States. If he did commit suicide, they are at a loss as to where his body might be. Although there were many wooded areas in Tyler and Flint around the time that Mark vanished, much of the land has been cleared since then and a number of new subdivisions have been built. No trace of Mark or his bike has been found.

On a website they started to collect tips about the case, Mark’s parents left a note specifically for their missing son. “We love you, miss you, and hope that things are going well for you. Please give us a call just to say hi. Love, Mom and Dad.” If he is out there, he has yet to respond.

Mark Randall Davis was 20 years old when he went missing from Tyler, Texas in January 2007. He was depressed at the time he went missing and his intentions are unknown; detectives have no idea if he simply started a new life somewhere else or if he intended to kill himself. Mark has brown eyes and brown hair, and at the time of his disappearance, he was 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds. He was last seen riding a green and silver 26-inch Expedition Specialized mountain bike, which has never been found. If you have any information about Mark or his bike, please contact the Tyler Police Department at 903–531–3100 or the Texas Department of Public Safety at 800–346–3243.

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