Missing Illinois man case open but cold

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, June 28, 2018

The case of a missing Illinois man whose car was found abandoned in Reed Point two months ago has gone cold.

Or rather, gone colder.

Paul Batson, a 45-year-old from Bativia, Ill., was last heard from Sunday, April 29, while in Bozeman for a job interview. The following day, his 2016 Dodge Charger was found abandoned in the middle of Reed Point. Batson has not been heard from since. There also has been no activity in his banking accounts, social media or cell phone usage — which have been monitored by the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office and the Bozeman Police Department in a joint investigation.

Stillwater County Search and Rescue crews combed more than 500 acres of land in the vicinity of Reed Point by foot, boat and air and found no trace of Batson. This week, Stillwater County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Smith said the case has been handed over to the Bozeman PD as “all leads have been exhausted locally.”

Bozeman Police Sgt. Joseph Swanson told the News the case is at the “wait and see” point. Swanson also said that criminal activity is not suspected in the disappearance, but the fact that Batson was last heard from in Bozeman and his car turned up in Reed Point is a suspicious element in the situation.

Batson has been 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.