SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Danny Davis was a shy little boy who lived with his grandparents.
That’s why when he disappeared more than forty-years ago, his grandfather knew something was wrong.
“He wouldn’t just go with anyone,” Clarence Davis told police in 1981.
Danny Davis is one of five-boys who disappeared from 1979 to 1983. During those four-years, their families didn’t know what happened to their sons. It wasn’t until 1983 that they got an answer.
“(Danny) was the sweetest boy you could ever meet,” said his cousin Brenda Davis-Fellows.
“(He was) so generous, so sweet.”
And the four-year old boy touched so many hearts.
“He loved his grandpa,” she said.
It was 1981, and Danny lived with his grandparents near 3900 S. and 500 E. in Salt Lake County.
His cousin said wherever his grandfather went, Danny was close behind.
“Oh he’d like to tinker in the garage with his grandpa,” she said. “My grandpa gave him his own little set of tools and his little stuff to make stuff with, nuts, and bolts.”
Davis-Fellows was six years older than Danny, but she knew him well. They used to hang out with each other at their grandparents house.
“I would ride my bike from here to my grandma’s house on 5th West and to go see him and play with him,” she said.
Danny was often seen with his grandfather at the nearby Smiths King Foods grocery store on State Street.
“My grandpa absolutely adored him, and Danny loved him so much,” Davis-Fellows said. “It was like his little buddy. He took him out everywhere.”
And it’s at the grocery store where their lives changed forever. Danny left his grandfather’s side and headed to another part of the store.
“They seemed to think he was standing by the gum-ball machine at the center of the store, and that’s when he was taken,” Davis-Fellows said.
According to a 1981 police report, the grandfather, Clarence Davis, started searching for Danny down every aisle.
“It was very quiet,” he said in the police report. “No one was around.
He did come across employees, and 30 minutes later, he began to panic. Police were notified.
“I had that bad feeling,” he told police. “I was really worried. I knew something would happen, and I knew somebody had taken him. I knew he hadn’t left the store. This is something he won’t do.”
Davis-Fellows said Danny was such a timid boy. He would never go with anyone he didn’t know.
Police arrived 45 minutes after Danny disappeared. His grandfather continued to search outside as nightfall approached. Still, there was no sign of Danny. Word reached family members.
“Oh, I was so devastated,” the cousin said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The public soon learned that another boy was missing. A year earlier, 4-year-old Alonzo Daniels disappeared and had yet to be found.
“We are concerned about the length of time (Danny) has been gone,” the sheriff said in 1980.
The FBI joined in the search and a composite was drawn.
“We feel the suspect either lives or works in the area of the store,” said the sheriff.
Months and then years passed, and there’s was no sign of Danny Davis.
“Our family was never the same after that,” said Davis-Fellows. “It destroyed our family. I remember my grandpa died shortly after that. He wasn’t the same man he used to be.”
In 1989, law enforcement suspected there was a serial killer and a task force was formed.
Thursday on the Justice Files, two more victims disappear within a month of each other.