Man still missing after search

Marlo Pronovost
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Photo by Crystal Arnold, SAR

Search and Rescue boat and dive crews comb the Yellowstone River in the Reed Point area.

Article Image Alt Text

Photo by Crystal Arnold, SAR

A Stillwater County Sheriff's deputy and SAR canine team look for Paul Batson.

An Illinois man remains missing under suspicious circumstances after a canine and boat search of the Reed Point area turned up no sign of him.
Paul Batson, a 45-year-old man from Batavia, Ill., was last heard from on Sunday, April 29, when he was in Bozeman. His 2016 Dodge Charger was found unoccupied on the side of the road, across from a gas station, in Reed Point on Monday,  April 30. 
When a deputy ran the license plate, it was discovered Batson had been reported as a missing person to the Bozeman Police Department, said Stillwater County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Smith. Batson's girlfriend reported him missing after he failed to contact her, as he had been doing throughout his trip. 
Smith would not say if Batson’s car was locked when it was found, but it has been impounded. Efforts to locate Batson through his cell phone have been unsuccessful, leading investigators to believe the phone is either turned off or out of battery. 
On Friday, Stillwater County Search and Rescue crews scoured the Yellowstone River with a jet boat and swift water techs. The area was also searched with canines from Absaroka Search Dogs and Western Montana Search Dogs, to no avail, according to Smith.
According to Chicago Daily Herald, Batson's family said he has never disappeared before and just days earlier, had visited his three grown children in Colorado.
"His children are desperate to find him," said his sister, Jennifer Baston-List, in the Chicgo Daily Herald article. "My parents are quite distraught."
Batson is reportedly a United States Navy veteran and a current U.S. Postal worker. He was in Montana checking out Butte and Bozeman as possible transfer cities, said Smith.
Smith has called the case "very, very odd." Deputies are working in conjuction with the Bozeman Police Department. Batson is described as being 6 foot 2-inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office at 322-5326.