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Missing Richard R. Banyots
Banyots, circa 1985
Missing Since 11/03/1985
Classification Endangered Missing
Age 19 years old
Height and Weight 5'10 - 6'3, 175 - 185 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Blond hair, brown eyes. Banyots's nickname is Rich.
Details of Disappearance Banyots was last seen in Girard, Ohio on November 3, 1985. He made a phone call in his bedroom, then left his family's home suddenly and never returned. He has never been heard from again. His brother began looking for him at 3:00 a.m. when he had not returned home.
According to witnesses, Banyots went to a brothel in Youngstown, Ohio that evening after leaving Girard. He spent time with Michelle Miller in an upstairs room, and then downstairs he was confronted by Clarence "Vince" Coleman and Jerome Davis, both of whom worked as procurers for the brothel. Both were disguised in wigs and sunglasses.
The men pistol-whipped Banyots, robbed him and stuffed him in the trunk of his own car. Miller and another woman joined them as they drove to a secluded area on Route 837 along the Monongahela River in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Coleman shot Banyots to death there, and they dumped his body in the river, which was in flood stages at the time.
McDavis was charged with the aggravated robbery and kidnapping of Banyots in February 1987; the charges were later upgraded to murder. In June of that year, Coleman was charged with murder. Bloodstains found at the brothel matched Banyots's blood type, and after his arrest, Coleman provided police with a detailed account of the homicide.
Coleman's first trial ended in a mistrial, but he was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery, theft and conspiracy at his second trial. McDavis was tried separately and convicted of the same charges. Both men were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Miller was initially given immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony against the others, but the agreement was voided and she was charged with robbery, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and criminal homicide after she reneged and refused to testify at the coroner's inquest in July 1987. She pleaded no contest to the first three charges in a plea bargain; the murder charge was dropped. She was sentenced to 35 to 70 years in prison.
Although a .38 caliber handgun matching the description of the murder weapon was found in the river near the site of the shooting, Banyots's body has never been recovered. He was a UPS driver and part-time stockbroker at the time of his disappearance. Foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.
Investigating Agency / Department