Five people gathered at a run-down, vacant, century home just south of downtown Akron on Nov. 4.

A habitual sex offender, a man whose wife once said he couldn’t hold a job after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a woman visiting from Warren, an Akron man about to celebrate his 19th birthday and Samantha Guthrie, who left home this year when she turned 18 and never found a permanent place to live.

A hunger for street drugs — primarily methamphetamine — drew them together at 375 Lillian St., a source familiar with the investigation said.

All later emerged unharmed but Guthrie, who vanished.

On Tuesday, 16 days after the group took shelter on Lillian Street, police were still sorting through a confounding puzzle of clues from unreliable witnesses.

“Is she alive? I don’t know. Is she dead? I don’t know,” Police Lt. Rick Edwards said Tuesday. “For now, we are investigating a missing person.”

Those who were with Guthrie on Nov. 4 all face charges in connection with her disappearance and possible homicide. Some have told police that Guthrie was shot to death on Lillian Street, driven to a wooded area and dumped.

But even if that’s true, Edwards said, police don’t know where to find her body.

Police are hoping new information emerges from those arrested or others in coming days.

The leader of a Texas search-and-rescue team who came to Akron this week to help said Tuesday he is sticking around through week's end, hoping to help police if they get a lead.

“The greatest thing in the world would be to get her located alive by Thanksgiving or to at least bring some closure for her family,” Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch said.

It was not clear how Guthrie first met the people who gathered Nov. 4 at 375 Lillian St., or whether she considered any of them friends.

Danny Hamby, 39, was the oldest and by far has the longest criminal record in Summit County of any of the others in the group.

It started in 1997, when he and two other 18-year-old men were arrested by Springfield Township police on felony charges for causing $100,000 worth of damage during a drunken rampage.

Hamby, who was later convicted, and the others said they hot-wired a backhoe on Hamby’s street, tore up a cornfield and rammed a house under construction near Rolling Meadows Estate.

Other charges followed, many involving substance abuse. And in 2011, after being convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, Hamby was labeled a habitual sex offender.

He’s described in court records and in a sex offender registry as homeless, living somewhere near South Arlington and Krumroy roads in Springfield Township, which is about 10 miles from the house where Guthrie disappeared.

William Eugene Alexander, 38, was the second oldest at the Lillian Street home that night. He lives around the corner on Edgewood Avenue across from the Akron Zoo.

Alexander, court records show, has had only a couple of brushes with the Summit County law, including a 1998 charge of domestic violence.

Yet he, too, has struggled in life, according to an affidavit submitted by a woman he was married to when the couple was in bankruptcy.

It was not clear if the the two were still married — at the time of the bankruptcy filing in 2009, she lived in suburban Charlotte, N.C., and he lived in Ohio — but she said Alexander had been treated for depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder in North Carolina when they both worked for Allstate Insurance.

After a promotion and transfer to Ohio in 2004, Alexander’s problems deepened at work, she said in court records, and Alexander was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In 2009, she said Alexander had been unable to hold a job since 2007.

What has happened since to Alexander was not clear. Last year, he was convicted in Akron Municipal Court of violating a restraining order. Online records didn't provide details or say who the order protected.

Neither of the other two in the Lillian Street house — Toni Kenney, 31, who is from Warren, and Dylan Brown, 19, of Akron — have a long public record trail, but Akron police say they worked with Hamby and Alexander the night Guthrie disappeared.

Alexander, Brown and Kenney appear to be cooperating, at least in part, with investigators. Each admitted to being in the Lillian Street home Nov. 4. Some say Guthrie was shot. All three said they helped move her body to a car trunk. Alexander told police he then went with Hamby to a wooded area where they left Guthrie.

Hamby has declined to tell investigators where they left Guthrie, according to court records.

All four are charged with tampering with evidence and Alexander faces an additional charge of abuse of a corpse — even though police insist they don’t know whether Guthrie is alive or dead.

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com.