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Search continues for Sistersville man

By Staff | May 18, 2011

“I hope he’s just out partying somewhere,” remarked Louise Francis. Though it’s not a statement one would expect to hear from a mother, it’s a hope she clings to as law enforcement officers, friends, family members and volunteers continue the search for her son.

Earnest Edward Francis, age 32, of McKinley Street, Sistersville has been missing since May 4. He was last seen at 9 p.m. at New Martinsville’s Howard Jeffers (Hydro) Drive. “He left my house around 3 p.m. to take his kids to an appointment,” Louise explained. “After the appointment, he told his (estranged) wife he was going to get gas and go to his work place.” According to reports, Earnest was seen on the station’s surveillance video pumping gas.

Earnest placed a call from his cellular telephone at 5:36 p.m. “That was the last out-going call he made from his phone,” his mother said.

“We didn’t worry about him at first,” his mother explained. “His work had been slow and we figured his boss had found something for him to do.”

She added, “And, it wasn’t unusual for him to work through the night, especially if he was working on a vehicle or a piece of equipment. But he always found a way to get in touch with me so I’d know he was all right. Even when he was angry, he always checked in.” – A fact that spurred Louise into action when she had not heard form her son for more than a day.

“Friday, I called his boss, Larry. He said he has not seen him but he had tried repeatedly to reach him,” Louise said. “His dad couldn’t take it anymore, so he went looking for him.”

Earnest’s dad found his car parking at the dam around 2 p.m. on Friday. “It was locked and his keys, billfold, belt, cell phone and a piece of his necklace were found under the seat,” Louise said.

The keys to the car were not there.

Louise said her son’s mindset on the day of his disappearance was not peculiar. “He was intent on going to work that day. Money was tight. I’m sure there were little things on his mind, but he was in a good frame of mind.”

Separated from his wife, Earnest had been staying with his mother. His children, ages 5, 6, 8 and 10, spent time with him there as well. This stability set him at ease, according to his mother. “He wasn’t worried about the kids.”

Since her son went missing, Lousie Francis has been checking his Facebook page periodically in search of clues, posting updates on the case and reaching out to his friends. She has posted fliers, placed telephone calls to news stations and sent emails to politicians in the hope that someone, somewhere has information to share. “I don’t know what the politicians can do for me,” she admitted. “But I know they have resources available to them that I do not have. They can get the information out.”

Earnest’s sister, Louisa Myers, has made a personal plea to anyone with information regarding for brother’s whereabouts. “If he’s being held against his will, please drop him off in a public place,” she stated.

With no news, the Francis family holds on to the hope Earnest is still out there somewhere. “I just want him home,” Louise said.

New Martinsville Police Sgt. Dave Byers, who also is with Tyler County Search and Rescue, said the photo of Francis is from his Facebook page and he may be heavier now.

Earnest was reportedly wearing a black top, green flannel shirt, black jeans, sandals and glasses. He is 5-foot, 10- inches tall, weighs 190 pounds with red hair and blue eyes. He has three piercings in his left ear and multiple tattoos.

Byers said there is no reason at present to suspect foul play. “All we want to do is make sure he is OK,” he said. He noted that motorized and foot searches have been conducted by NMPD, New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department and Tyler County Search and Rescue.

Anyone having any information on Francis is asked to call NMPD at 304-455-9100.