Missing Polk County man may not be alive, search underway for 2 men he was last seen with: Grady Judd

It has been two weeks since a 21-year-old man went missing in Polk County, though Sheriff Grady Judd said he may or may not be alive.

Ethan Fussell, 21, went missing on May 7 after his girlfriend dropped him off at a North Lakeland home on Driggers Road. Shelly Croft, a volunteer with the non-profit search group We Are The Essentials, said the girlfriend last had contact with him at 11:20 p.m. over Snapchat when he told her goodnight. 


"The story at this time is Ethan walked away on his own free will, saying he was 'dipping out' and it just doesn't make a lot of sense," said Croft.

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Croft said Fussell didn't have a working cell phone, nor a car. She and other volunteers searched the area within a three-to-five-mile radius, but they turned up empty.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Fussell was last seen with two associates, 25-year-old Talon Page and 21-year-old Adonai Rivera. Judd said both have fled the area.


Pictured: Talon Page and Adonai Rivera.

"We hope he's alive, but we're investigating as if he's not," said Judd. "We don't know where they are, but obviously, we're suspicious." 

Warrants are out for Page and Rivera's arrests, but the sheriff won't reveal for what at this time.

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Pictured: Ethan Fussell. 

There are also others whom deputies have talked to, but they're not cooperative. Judd added there was known drug-dealing out of the house and search warrants were executed that revealed "significant evidence."

Fussell's family is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to his whereabouts.

"Ethan comes from a great family, and they're very worried," said Croft. "There are no answers at this point despite all the efforts from our organization. The Polk County Sheriff's Office has been wonderful doing their investigation." 


In a written statement to FOX 13, Ethan's mother, Lisa Walker Fussell wrote: 

"We are thankful for those in the community who have helped search for Ethan and for keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. We know Ethan would’ve reached out to one of us by now if he was able, so unfortunately, our hearts are prepared for the worst. Ethan was not alone before he went missing, so we know someone has to know something. What we need right now is the truth about what happened to him and knowledge about where he is. We are confident in the Polk County Sheriff’s detectives’ ability to provide that to us."

"At the end of the day, we want to return Ethan Fussell to his family. Hopefully alive," Judd said. "We want to find him, and we highly suspect Talon and Adonai know what happened."

Anyone with information about the 21-year-old's disappearance is asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers. You can remain anonymous. In addition, there's a reward for information about the location of the two men with active warrants.


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