Have you seen me: TV6 Investigates looks into disappearance of David McAllister
BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - The Quad Cities Missing Persons Network said at least 25 people have gone Missing the Quad Cities Area since the 1970s, and they’re still missing to this day.
One of them is David McAllister, who was reported missing nearly four years ago. Police say that his phone last pinged at Vanderveer Park around noon on May 11, 2017.
David was 22 at the time of his disappearance, and his family and friends are desperate for answers.
‘He loved people’
McAllister’s family and friends describe him in three words: compassionate, independent and adventurous.
“He loved people,” his mother, Marilyn McAllister, said. “He loved the environment. He wanted to see the world.”
McAllister was someone that Kristina Williams came to count on after working with him at a Davenport deli.
“[He] was the type of person that you could call any time of the day, night, doesn’t matter,” she said.
Williams said McAllister was always outside. They used to walk around Junge Park--his favorite place--and just talk.
“We had a lot of conversations about his mom, his brothers, his dad, his family,” she said.
For McAllister, however, feeling deeply came with a downside, his family and friends said.
“[He was] a nice guy who struggled with depression but loved everybody wanted to be loved by everybody acceptance super open to people,” Scott Petri, a longtime friend and travel companion, said.
Petri said McAllister wrestled with his feelings, using substances to numb the pain.
Marilyn McAllister said they often talked about his struggles.
“David was one of my best friends,” she said. “He told me everything, more than I wanted to know. We used to sit on the front porch and talk for hours and hours.”
Marilyn McAllister said David entered treatment for substance use in 2015, afterward setting out to travel the country. From Kansas to Colorado, McAllister mainly traveled by hitchhiking.
“There was a lot of walking, but just, you know, hanging out in different ways,” said Petri, who met up with David in Arizona. “We talked about a lot of stuff, hung out, obviously partied a little bit, and learned about the new locations, meeting people.”
Petri said McAllister’s substance use caught up with him and left him feeling vulnerable. So, in December 2016, McAllister decided to go home and make changes.
“I think he was realizing the path he was on was not a good one,” said Jeff McAllister, McAllister’s father. “He was cleaning up. He had a job; he seemed to be going in a very good direction when he went missing.”
Around 4 a.m. on May 11, 2017, Marilyn McAllister woke up to a text from McAllister saying he would not be going to work that day and needed some space.
“I called him and talked to him,” Jeff McAllister said. “I guess he was trying to clear his head, is what he said, and I remember asking him if he’d be home that evening and he said he would.”
McAllister had left early in the morning, bringing only a phone, his backpack and a bible.
“By mid-afternoon, he wasn’t answering his phone. His phone was going directly to voicemail, and it was off,” Jeff McAllister said. “That was unlike him.”
McAllister’s phone last pinged at Vanderveer park, but friends and family say that a known substance dealer was with him that day and dropped him off at a pizza shop near Junge Park.
Where he went afterward is unknown.
“That’s what concerns me,” Marilyn McAllister said. “I know he would never leave without telling me goodbye. There’s no way he would have just walked away.”
Where did he go?
Petri said he saw McAllister just days before his disappearance, appearing to be in an “altered state. "
“I was coming home from work and he was walking down the street, shoes off. He had a limp, like a very weird limp,” Petri said.
A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that 40 to 60 percent of people who get treatment for substance abuse relapse within their first year. However, the study says that relapse does not mean failure in a person’s recovery; it is time and effort that make success.
It is not completely clear if McAllister relapsed in the days before his disappearance, but his family said he put in an effort to recover.
“Yes, he could’ve had a setback, yes, he could’ve made mistakes,” Marilyn McAllister said. “But he was working really hard on getting his life together and making sure he was going in the right direction.”
“I feel like Bettendorf detectives failed,” Williams said. “I feel like they just looked at David and said, ‘Oh, another troubled kid. Another addict.’ That wasn’t him.”
McAllister’s friends and family feel strongly that someone out there has more information that will lead to him, no matter what they find.
“I believe there is somebody out there somewhere that knows what happened, and for whatever reason they are afraid to come forward,” Jeff McAllister said. “Maybe they had something to do with it; maybe they didn’t.”
“I need to find him,” Marilyn McAllister said, “I wonder if he’s cold. I wonder if he’s hungry. I just need to find him.”
Jeff McAllister added, “Some days are really bad, and you have a hard time concentrating on anything else. I can’t say there’s been a day that I don’t think about it or think about him.”
TV6 reached out to Bettendorf Police for comment on McAllister’s case, and they provided a written response:
“Our hearts go out to David’s family. David was last seen in the area of 35th St. and Harrison St. (Welcome Way) in Davenport by an acquaintance. He was reported missing by his mother approximately two weeks after she last had contact with him.
“We have investigated all leads known to us and will continue to investigate all leads as we receive them. If anyone has any information about the disappearance of David McAllister, please call Det. Sgt. Brian Crouch at the Bettendorf Police Department at (563) 344-4035.”
You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 309-762-9500.
If you know someone in the Quad Cities Area that has gone missing, please email TV6 investigates at the email: KWQC-TV6investigates@gray.tv
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