This month, Jayne Davis would have turned 47. But instead of celebrating, her parents, John and Judy Winship, will make a call to Washington County Sheriff Otto Hanak. They call every year to see if any new leads have developed in the disappearance of their daughter. Jayne Davis disappeared April 30th of 1993 after telling her mother she would be traveling from her apartment in Houston to Brenham to pick up her 2 year old son from his grandmother. She has not been seen or heard from since.
The story of what transpired before and after her disappearance is both tragic and sad. Jayne lived in Brenham for only about 6 months in the early 1990’s but her parents resided in Austin County. She and her boyfriend, Steven Davis, moved to an apartment in Houston and she gave birth to a son in 1991. Shortly after their son, Johnny Clay Davis was born, Jayne and Steven Davis separated. On Halloween night, 1991, he returned to her apartment and raped her at gunpoint. Steven Davis was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections. He entered prison in March of 1993.
Through all of this, Jayne and her son had maintained a relationship with Steven’s mother, Amy Davis in Brenham. At that time, Amy Davis ran a small business on Peabody Street and the now 2 year old Johnny was with her visiting. Jayne’s mother had given her a check for $200 to take to Brenham, because Jayne did not have a car and may need the money to get her and her son back to Houston. That check was never cashed. It’s uncertain how she traveled to Brenham, although Sheriff Hanak speculates that it was Steven’s brother, John Allen Davis, who drove her to Brenham. John Allen Davis denies this and says he didn’t speak with nor give a ride to Jayne on that day.
During Steven Davis’s incarceration, Sheriff Hanak, then a Texas Ranger, went to question him at the prison. Hanak says that Steven told him he didn’t know anything about Jayne’s disappearance, and that all he was interested in doing was getting released and moving to Honduras, where his mother Amy now lived. Steven Davis was released from prison in October of 2002 and only a few weeks later, on November 17, he was hit head-on by a gravel truck in Honduras while riding a motorcycle and killed.
In the years following her disappearance, Jayne’s son was raised by his grandmother, Amy Davis. Jayne’s parents felt that they did not have the financial ability to fight for his custody in court. He is now 24 years old. In 2009, he was asked to give a DNA sample to help identify his mother’s remains, if they were ever located. At that time he told the investigator that his mother abandoned him and when asked if he wanted a photograph of her, he said no.
Sheriff Hanak says he has long speculated that Jayne was murdered and her body buried on Amy Davis’s property on Doe Run Creek Lane near Old Washington. But without solid evidence, he never requested a search warrant. In 1997, he did ask Amy Davis for permission to search the property, and she agreed. But before Hanak could put together a search team, the property was transferred to the control of Steven and John Allen Davis.
The Davis family has always maintained that Jayne ran off with a boyfriend, leaving them to raise her son, and that they had nothing to do with her disappearance. No evidence of Jayne’s life has surfaced since April 30th, 1993. Hanak believes there is someone out there with information that could solve this cold case. At the time of her disappearance, Jayne Elizabeth Winship Davis was 24 years old with Brown hair, Hazel eyes, 5’ 6” and 130 lbs. She had a scar on the bridge of her nose and a birthmark on her hip and the calf of her leg. Anyone with information about this case and wants to remain anonymous can call Washington County Crime Stoppers at 979-836-TIPS, or the Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS, or the Missing Persons Clearinghouse at 800-346-3243. You can also contact either the Brenham Police Department or the Washington County Sheriff’s Office by calling dispatch at 337-7272.