The Obit For David Bell

David Bell's family still struggling

Amanda Casanova,
Friday, July 10, 2009

More than a week has passed since his family found out that David Bell’s remains were found. His sister, Lela Bell, said the discovery brings some closure.

“Everyone is shocked and kind of struggling,” she said. “I’ve been waiting to hear what happened to David. We got to the point where we just wanted to know, and you’re hoping for the best, but then you find out he’s dead.”

The skeletal remains of the former baseball standout were found last week on an Eastland County property. Three women were fishing in a tank on the property just southeast of Cisco when one of the women walked around the tank to an area where the water had receded and spotted a skull, said county Justice of the Peace D.J. Walker.

“I was shocked but also happy to know that his remains were found,” Lela said. “I don’t know if happy is the right choice of word, but I was relieved to know what happened. It’s been difficult because now I have a whole new set of emotions and questions to ask.”

The day after Christmas 2007, the 27-year-old left his sister’s Allen home for Dallas. It was the last time Lela saw her brother.

“In the beginning, it was very difficult,” she said. “There are a lot of answers I wanted to know, like is he alive or dead? Has he moved to China? Has he been murdered? All that stuff that goes through your mind is very difficult. There was not a day that I did not think about him or where he was.”

According to media reports, pastor Blain Craig of the Oak Creek Baptist Church in Midlothian spoke with Bell the afternoon he went missing.

Craig called police because Bell appeared “confused and disoriented.” Police arrived and called Lela and Wesley to pick up Bell, who left before they could arrive.

Bell was last seen walking in downtown Cisco, 47 miles east of Abilene, without his car keys or cell phone. He unsuccessfully tried to call a family member from a convenience store, the reports said.

His car was found five miles east of Cisco along Highway 6.

Bell’s remains, uncovered 18 months after he went missing, were sent to Tarrant County, where a medical examiner said there were no signs of foul play.

“I don’t know what happened,” Lela said. “I could make up all kinds of stories that might have happened. There are so many different ways to take it. I just have to have faith. Maybe in time it will be revealed, but I’m at peace with what happened.”

A football and baseball star, Bell played baseball at Texas Southern University in Houston from 1999 to 2002, shining as catcher and earning all-conference honors in the Southwest Athletic Conference his junior year.

“I watched him play his whole life,” Lela said. “I even remember the first time I saw him play.”

Bell graduated from TSU and moved to San Clemente, Calif., after he was transferred by his wireless phone employer.

While living in Southern California, Bell’s best friend was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq.

Four months later, the Beaumont native came home.

“It was nice to have him around,” Lela said. “It was great to be back together, all three of us. We have a younger brother, too.”

Lela said Bell will be missed, and although family and friends are trying to move on, they also want to remember him.

“He was a very funny guy,” she said. “Everyone always loved his laugh. He was very friendly. Everything came from his heart. He was very genuine. In general, he loved people and loved life and being around people.”

A memorial service will be held July 31, Bell’s birthday, in Beaumont. Another service will be held in Dallas to lay Bell’s remains.