Lack of leads stalls missing man search after 1 month

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, May 31, 2018

A lack of leads has stalled the search for an Illinois man who went missing a month ago and whose car was found abandoned in Reed Point.

Despite Search and Rescue (SAR) crews scouring more than 500 acres by land and water in the Reed Point area, no trace of missing Illinois resident Paul Batson has been found.

“I have nothing new to report,” said Stillwater County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Smith this week.

Financial and cell phone searches also failed to yielded any clues as to what may have happened to the 45-year-old postal worker from Batavia, Ill., who was in Bozeman for an interview for a possible transfer.

Batson was last heard from Sunday, April 29, while in Bozeman. The following day, his 2016 Dodge Charger was found abandoned in the middle of Reed Point. Inside what was described as an “extremely clean” vehicle was his travel bag. Gone were his cell phone and wallet. Smith has said the cell phone is either turned off or dead, as attempts to ping it were unsuccessful.

Batson is described by friends, family and co-workers as funny, quick-witted, sarcastic and well regarded. Family members have also said Batson has never disappeared before and that just days before he went missing, he had been in Colorado visiting his three grown sons.

The Bozeman Police Department is conducting a joint investigation with the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office.

TIMELINE

Batson was last heard from at approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, when he told his girlfriend he was at the Bozeman Public Library and had a meeting with the Bozeman Postal Service the following morning, April 30, according to police reports.

Batson never showed up at that meeting. After calling hospitals and multiple attempts at making contact with him, the girlfriend reported Bat-son missing to the Bozeman Police Department.

At approximately 12:23 p.m. the following day, a Stillwater County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call about Batson’s abandoned 2016 Dodge Charger that was parked on the street across from the gas station in Reed Point. At 8:35 p.m., dispatch got a “delayed hit” on the car, and learned the owner had been reported as missing by the Bozeman PD the previous day. A deputy returned to the location and noted the vehicle. People in the area were questioned, but none remembered seeing a man that matched Batson’s description.

Batson is 6-foot 2-inches tall, 185 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information about Batson is ask to contact Sgt. Smith at (406) 322-5326.

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