UNSOLVED: Man disappears in 2013; never seen, heard from again

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —  Detectives say it is as if David Cottle walked out of his house one day and just vanished leaving everything behind and his family puzzled.

David Cottle Jr. is Christy Bradley’s brother.

“Just a a good ole boy, local boy,” Christy Bradley said.

He is a father.

“He has two daughters,” Bradley said.

He is a drummer.

“Very musically talented,” Bradley said. “He was my big brother. He was always giving me mess.”

He is a man who had a lot of things going for him.

“Just real involved with his family, the church, loved the water,” Bradley said.

Sometime around 2012, Bradley said things took a turn for the worse.

“It all began with pain pills,” Bradley said. “He had gotten injured and went to the doctor and was put on pills for the pain.”

Bradley said Cottle lost his job, his house, and his marriage and moved in with his aunt on Cotswald Court in Murrayville.

“He lost everything,” Bradley said. “He would do anything to get pain pills.”

In March 2013, Bradley remembers having a conversation with Cottle at one of his lowest points.

“He was very distraught,” Bradley said. “He couldn’t hardly talk to me without crying. He was just.. He seemed like he was broken.”

That would be the last conversation they would ever have.

“The last time that David was seen was on March 9, 2013,” Cottle said.

Detective Justin Varella with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said Cottle’s aunt reported him missing after he never came home.

“She was leaving the house to go out and David was actually at the house and then when she returned home at about 6:00 that night, David was gone,” Varella said.

Varella said he left almost everything behind, all but two things.

“So he kept a journal,” Varella said. “The journal was missing along with a lime green back pack.”

Varella said Cottle did not have a cell phone. He also said Cottle did not make a single bank transaction and they have no evidence to suggest foul play.

“I don’t think anybody hurt David,” Bradley said. “I really don’t think that. I just don’t think he would go somewhere and not have any contact with his family.”

Varella said even if cottle voluntarily left something does not add up.

“It’s very odd that he wouldn’t have contacted anyone or he didn’t leave a note saying that he was leaving,” Varella said.

Varella said, in the beginning, detectives got a couple of tips from the public.

“Someone called in and reported that they actually saw David walking I believe in the area of the railroad tracks Wallace, North Carolina,” Varella said.

Deputies searched the area with the help of Duplin County authorities.

“But no one ever found him and it was never confirmed that it was actually David Cottle that was seen,” Varella said.

“There was an address that we were given,” Varella said. “We actually went and checked that address. The individuals there didn’t seem like they knew who he was or had not seen him.”

The tips eventually ran out.

“It just doesn’t make any sense how someone can just walk off and never be seen or heard from again,” Bradley said.

“Is there any possibility in your mind still that he could be alive somewhere?”
“yeah,” Bradley said. “Sometimes I think that. He could be. He joked about going to Miami or getting in the music scene and playing his drums and living off the grid.”

“At this point, we don’t know if David is alive,” Varella said.

“I feel like someone, somewhere knows something,” Bradley said.

They need something that could lead them to an answer or to closure. Something is better than nothing.

“I Feel like maybe someone did help and maybe their afraid to come forward,” Bradley said. “I don’t think that they would be in any trouble. We just wish we knew something. Where did you see him? Did you drop him off somewhere? Anything. It’s better than what we have now.”

It could be the something that keeps David Cottle’s disappearance unsolved.

If you have any information, please contact the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. You can reach Detective Justin Varella at 910-798-4270 or the Detective Division at 910-798-4260.

Varella said you can e-mail a tip or use Text-a-Tip as well.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Unsolved

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