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Search continues for missing men
Family holds out hope for safe return
1 David Wood Mug

Foul play has not been ruled out in the disappearance of two Dawson County men who were last seen Jan. 2.

It's been nearly a week since Mason Cox and David Wood, both 20, seemingly vanished after a night of fishing from a dock in the area of Fredericks Cove on Lake Lanier off Ga. 400.

"At this point, we don't suspect foul play. There's nothing other than that they got up to go fishing and at that point they haven't been seen since," said Dawson County's Sheriff's Maj. Tony Wooten. "We've got nothing to show that any foul play was involved."

According to their parents, the young men said they were headed out to go fishing about 3:30 a.m. Jan. 2 and would return later to spend the day with the families.

"They went night fishing that morning and were supposed to come back and hang out with us for the day after New Year's," said Ethelyn Geiger, David Wood's mother. "They didn't come back. We haven't seen them since. We don't know where they are."

The sheriff's office launched a full-scale search for the men after they were reported missing by their parents.

"We reached out yesterday to the GBI for their assistance," Wooten said Tuesday. "We're continuing to follow all leads in the case. [Today] we're getting on a boat with DNR and going over the lake again where they were out fishing."

The men left various items of importance at Cox's house, a notion that baffles loved ones.

"My son left his cell phone, his wallet, the shirt he was wearing that night - it's all in his room," said Leanne Cox, Mason's mother. "His car is here. He's just gone."

While Cox left his phone, Wood apparently took his, according to his mother.

"We think they may have been picked up by a friend," Leanne Cox said. "They didn't take their cars. Both of their cars are here.

"We don't know what happened. It's like they just disappeared into thin air."

Wooten said a neighbor provided video footage of a vehicle pulling up to one of the homes and then leaving the night the men reportedly went missing.

"We've sent the video off to be enhanced," he said. "We have a potential description of the vehicle, but we're not releasing that information at this time."

According to the parents, the boys grew up on the lake, so it wasn't unusual for them to go fishing late at night.

Wooten said evidence has determined the men, who live two houses apart in the Fredericks Cove neighborhood, had been fishing from a neighbor's dock.

"The boys were initially reported to have gone fishing, but both of their poles are currently at their homes," Wooten said.

Both mothers have said that they are holding out hope their sons are just out of touch.

"These are strong kids. They are smart. Something stupid has just happened," Cox said. "Everybody is here for you.

"Nothing is going to happen. If anything is wrong, don't worry, we're here to support you. We're here."

Added Geiger: "David, Mason, if you can hear this, please call somebody. We're very worried about you. We just want to find our boys."

Staff writer Michele Hester contributed to this report.