MT MT - Paul Batson, 45, Stillwater County, 29 April 2018

Discussion in '2010's Missing' started by doodles1211, May 4, 2018.

  1. inmyhumbleopinion

    inmyhumbleopinion #NeverGivingUp

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    RBBM

    RBBM

    I just looked at the RV park’s website and nearly got sick to my stomach:

    “Catch up with friends and family back home with our convenient Post Office next door. The Sure Stop gas station/convenience store is right across the street to pick up some snacks and supplies or just for a quick re-fuel in your travels.”

    https://www.oldwestrv.com/about/

    And looking at Google Maps, the Post Office is literally next door (171 ft.):

    [​IMG]

    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Old...dd0261d:0xfd042decd8740a5e!3e2?hl=en-us&gl=us

    As much as I hate to admit, I am leaning more and more towards foul play, with a possible scenario being like this:

    1. 4 pm - 6 pm, Sun., Apr. 29:

    1) Paul texts his GF from the Bozeman Library. He tells her he met someone who needs a ride. The person tells Paul his/her destination, and it is located somewhere between Bozeman and Reed Point.

    2) He doesn’t have anything planned for the evening, and since he is there partly to check out the area, out of kindness of his heart, he agrees to give this person a lift.

    3) Paul invites the person to join him for dinner. S/he accepts. They chat, and Paul mentions he works for USPS and looking to relocate to MT.

    4) They leave Bozeman for the person’s supposed destination. Once in the car, s/he threatens him with a weapon, demands Paul pull over in a remote location and hand over his car, phone and wallet.

    5) Afraid that Paul will go to LE, the person harms him. S/he drives away, with Paul’s wallet and cell phone still in the car (or possibly getting rid of the wallet and the phone, keeping cash only), while Paul is left behind.

    6) Around the same time, Paul’s GF calls his phone, worried, because of what he told her earlier. The perpetrator turns the phone off (or throws it out of the window, stops at a gas station and puts it in a dumpster, etc., if not already discarded).

    7) The perpetrator stops by somewhere like Wal-Mart, buys cleaning supplies, and cleans the car out.

    8) Now even more worried, GF tries to contact Paul several times, but he does not answer. She calls area hospitals to no avail. She calls Bozeman PD to report Paul missing.

    9) The perpetrator arrives in Reed Point. S/he parks the car along the street in between the Post Office and the gas station, having heard from Paul he was in the area looking for a USPS job, thus making it look as though Paul parked it. The perpetrator also leaves the keys outside the car on purpose, wanting to get rid of them ASAP.

    [I also think it’s possible the perpetrator tampered with (e.g., putting a sock over it, etc.) a gas station security camera before parking the car and then put it back in working order before leaving, so that it wouldn’t immediately look suspicious.]

    10) The perpetrator walks over to the RV park, where s/he was already staying (maybe did something similar to get to Bozeman, but didn’t harm anyone, at least not seriously), or just stays for the night. Either way, in this scenario, the individual already would have known about the RV park, IMO.

    2. Monday, Apr. 30:

    1) 12:23 p.m.: A Still-water County Sheriff’s deputy responds to a call about Batson’s abandoned 2016 Dodge Charger that is parked along the street between the Post Office and gas station in Reed Point.

    2) 8:35 p.m.: Dispatch gets a “delayed hit” on the car, and learns the owner had been reported as missing by the Bozeman PD the previous day. A deputy returns to the location and notes the vehicle is “extremely clean” and the only items missing appear to be Batson’s cell phone and his wallet. People in the area are questioned, but none remembered seeing a man that matched Batson’s description.
    The car is impounded and a search for Batson is launched immediately.

    Source of information immediately above:
    https://www.stillwatercountynews.com/content/without-trace

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     


  2. Avalon4ever

    Avalon4ever Member

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    You're welcome. Yes I think you're right
     
  3. ThinkThinkThink

    ThinkThinkThink Well-Known Member

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    Chicagogirl,

    I'm sorry to put this on the thread... but I know you are new here, so I hope WSers will forgive my message...

    I tried to reply back to you, but your inbox is full. What this means is that you will need to delete messages you have received -- so that you can get new messages. There is a shortage limit on all our PM systems, so if you keep an eye on that limit (delete along way), your inbox will be good to receive messages for you.

    Thank you, and I apologize on disrupting the thread!
     
  4. Chicagogirl

    Chicagogirl Member

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    Thank you so much for letting me know that! I was concerned I hadn’t heard back from you. No apology necessary. Interesting because I only have two messages but I will delete them now.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Avalon4ever

    Avalon4ever Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to post such an intelligent, detailed scenario of what may have occurred. I agree with 90 percent of it. My biggest frustration is the (rumored) missing 5 minutes of the video and the (fact) that the post office and gas station were closed. So...who would have tampered with the video? Someone with keys to the business. In my mind, this should have been solved by now. All I know is that my family have to suffer while the (alleged) criminals are roaming free?! NO family deserves to go through this nightmare. I'm just glad that I am among intelligent, caring souls of strangers on this website and across the country. Thanks for all your support. I just want this person/s to come forward so we can have peace and closure. Paul and our family deserve to know the truth.
     
  6. JazzTune

    JazzTune Verified Registered Nurse

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    Thank you both for these excellent posts!

    Gussified, you are saying exactly what I've been thinking. I believe LE is hoping the perp will relax and slip up if he/she can be convinced there is no real suspicion of foul play.

    The way to do that is by releasing the general statement to that effect, hoping the perp will drop his/her guard.

    I believe LE is diligently investigating and searching in other areas they are not publicly announcing.

    IMHO, your post is amazing! I believe too you have hit the nail on the head. I can see Paul offering to drive someone to another destination, knowing he could easily return in time. He wasn't doing anything that evening anyway. That would fit his kind personality, for sure.

    A note to Avalon4ever too. Our hearts break for you with every post! Please know we will stand with you for as long as it takes to find Paul. You will have our shoulders to lean upon throughout this nightmare ordeal...
     
  7. Avalon4ever

    Avalon4ever Member

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    Thank you. It's good to not feel so alone or powerless.
     
  8. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the theory that he might have given someone a lift (thank you inmyhumbleopinion for your detailed thoughts on this). In fact I suspected this from the beginning. I'm still hoping and praying though that this was not the case!

    One thing in my mind today: the "extremely clean" (quote from LE) car and the keys carelessly dropped/tossed on the ground (if that detail is correct) don't fit together. Two perps? There must be some footage of Paul somewhere in Bozeman after 4pm?
     
  9. ThinkThinkThink

    ThinkThinkThink Well-Known Member

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    I really wish that LE would update/clarify the basic FACTS of this case -- the basics of verified info (whether it be person accounts, video, etc) on where Paul *was* seen...that always helps us in a missing person case!

    I feel like basic facts are being withheld that may really help the public get a more clear understanding/direction of where to focus attention...because I don't know about you guys, but there's a BIG difference if the last *known* siting of Paul was in Bozeman or Reed Point. Same with hotel check-in... wouldn't that really help to know if factually, yes, he checked into a hotel -- or no, he did not? I guess I'm frustrated because basic facts like that (aspects about Paul's whereabouts/details directly related to him) would not impede the overall criminal investigation, would it? Those basic facts can help jog the memory of those in the area, if they saw Paul -- or something strange.

    We certainly don't want to impede an investigation, but some omissions of solid facts seem not to help... so I am just frustrated by that, kwim? It's very muddy, on the basics.
     
  10. loreet

    loreet Well-Known Member

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    As someone who has lived in Montana for most of my life, I am personally still not ready to subscribe to the 'nefarious human interference' theory of Paul's disappearance at this point in time. But I have been wrong before, notably during the disappearance of Sherry Arnold from Sidney, MT in January 2012. For those of you who aren't familiar with this case, Sherry was a math teacher in the small town of Sidney who was jogging in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I am so sorry for the worry, fear, and grief Paul's family and friends are currently experiencing. I know things are not looking hopeful for finding your loved one unharmed after almost 3 weeks. There is some hope in the case of Madeline Connelly (also from Illinois) just last May (2017) who was lost in the Montana backcountry and found healthy but hungry a week later. It happens.

    I don't think the Montana Department of Transportation archives images from their Road Weather Information System (most states do not archive these images) but there are current images of Interstate 90 from cameras located at Bozeman Pass (east, west, roadway images) and Reed Point (east, west, roadway images) to be found linked off of this page:
    http://rwis.mdt.mt.gov/scanweb/SWFrame.asp?Pageid=CamSummary
     
  11. loreet

    loreet Well-Known Member

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    In Bozeman the local papers, news-stations, and web-sites have all covered Paul's disappearance, with the most comprehensive msm coverage apparently through the Billings Gazette and the Stillwater County News. The information given publicly has been limited to what was shared on Paul's missing poster (from Stillwater County, not the MissingPieces poster) with LE contact as Stillwater County Sheriff's Department. We have not had any special 'public danger alerts.' By all appearances, the searches have all focused around Reed Point and the Yellowstone River, and no calls have been made for public participation in any of the searches.
     
  12. ThinkThinkThink

    ThinkThinkThink Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that sure appears to be the case. I've scoured the web a bit ago, and there are headlines stating HE (Paul) was last seen in Reed Point... then in the articles themselves, it's just his car mentioned. So is that a sloppy headline -- or was Paul SEEN (video) in Reed Point??

    That's really the biggest thing I'd like to see clarified.:sigh:


    P.S. one such example headline: http://www.kulr8.com/story/38166151/illinois-man-still-missing-last-seen-in-reed-point
     
  13. Gussified

    Gussified Well-Known Member

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    If there is surveillance video, and if it did stop recording, that may be the normal function of that particular system. We just don’t know.

    I have security cameras at my home and they are motion-activated. When it detects a motion, which has to be within a short distance of the camera, it records for 30 seconds. So if a car drove by at the right spot, it would start recording, then stop after 30 seconds. Then, it’s possible for the person to exit the car without the camera detecting the motion, if they happen to be out of the range of the motion detector. They don’t necessarily have to be out of view of the camera. It’s just that the video reaches further than the motion detection. Of course I don’t know if this is the case here, but it is possible. We just don’t know.


    MOO
     
  14. Elainera

    Elainera Well-Known Member

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    bbm Are they still searching?

    Time to organize volunteer searches, maybe get a professional S&R group on board?
     
  15. inmyhumbleopinion

    inmyhumbleopinion #NeverGivingUp

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    Avalon4ever,

    First and foremost, I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. It is so unfair, what is happening to you, Paul and his loved ones.

    My brother went missing once, and though he came home less than 24 hours later, I will always remember how hopeless I felt. His phone last pinged near Soldier Field, so my ex-husband and I put our then toddlers in their car seats in the back of our minivan and drove around the area into the wee hours until we got the good news.

    Paul’s case hits close to home for me, as we used to live in Geneva about ten years ago. We lived in Mill Creek, and on the weekends, we would go for a walk along the Fox River, or visit the many restaurants and shops (love The Little Traveler) in the downtown area (it sounds like that’s where his delivery route is). We loved it there!

    As to your comment and question:
    “My biggest frustration is the (rumored) missing 5 minutes of the video and the (fact) that the post office and gas station were closed. So...who would have tampered with the video? Someone with keys to the business. In my mind, this should have been solved by now.”

    From ArcadeKris’ post (not from a VI, so to be considered a rumor):
    “The only surveillance they have is from the small gas station and the footage was terrible. Interestingly enough, you do see the car pull into the space at the post office but then the feed just stopped recording for 5 minutes and when it starts again no one is in the vehicle.”
    https://www.websleuths.com/forums/s...-County-29-April-2018&p=14097298#post14097298

    My first thought when I read the above was, whoever it was that tampered with the video (if what AK posted did happen), how hyperaware this person must have been of this particular camera.

    As to who, aside from those working at the gas station, I would look at:

    1. The person/company that installed the camera

    and

    2. Someone who was caught on the same camera commuting a crime in the past (e.g., stealing food, gas, etc. from the business) and was subsequently arrested

    As to how the camera might have been paused:

    1. If a current or a former installation professional, s/he would likely have the technical knowledge to do so remotely, IMO (e.g., via “jamming”): https://www.cnet.com/news/can-burglars-jam-your-wireless-security-system/

    2. “Step 1
    Inspect the camera close-up. This will give you an idea if the camera is hard-wired or wireless. A wireless camera will usually be portable and contain a battery while wired camera will obviously show signs they are connected to the structure for power.

    Step 2
    Remove the battery or power source. If you suspect the unit is wireless, try to locate a battery compartment for removal. If the unit is wired, the power lines running to the camera will have to be severed.

    [Or if the camera is plugged into an exterior outlet, it can be unplugged and plugged back in.: https://www.wired.com/2016/07/nest-cam-outdoor/”

    https://www.quora.com/How-can-you-disable-CCTV-cameras

    I just get the feeling that if there was foul play involved, the culprit is someone who knows Reed Point very well.
     
  16. loreet

    loreet Well-Known Member

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    I can't speak to the question of future planned searches. My understanding is that along with local law enforcement, the Stillwater County Search and Rescue is running the searches that have been conducted so far. They are mostly volunteer, but selected and specially trained.
    http://www.stillwatercountysar.org
    IMO The question of a call for public volunteers is tricky in remote areas of Montana and along high waters. Untrained volunteers may have the best intentions but without SAR training and experience could become a major liability and even put their own lives at risk, requiring rescuing themselves. That applies to searching from the Reed Point/car parking location.

    As for Bozeman and Paul's possible interaction with strangers in town and/or at/around the Public Library, I think a volunteer search about town or outreach kind of effort is very attainable. For example on a Sunday afternoon at the library an information table or some attempt to raise awareness of his disappearance and maybe jog memories. Replicate the situation as it existed at 4:00 PM on April 29th? For sure this is something Paul's family would have to request and work with local LE to coordinate and conduct. Paul's family has certainly had contact with the Bozeman Police Department and if they thought any useful information could possibly come from something like that, there are local people who would be willing to help.
     
  17. Gussified

    Gussified Well-Known Member

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    I’m skeptical about the video story. But if it exists and if there’s a gap, then thinking thru the scenarios as you suggested...

    If someone with inside access to the system edited the video, why not edit out the car entirely? I mean, it would be obvious there’s a missing bit, so why not just delete the entire thing and say it just wasn’t working?

    Alternatively...
    If someone was able to disable the system from the outside, either unplugging or removing the battery, wouldn’t there be footage of the vandal approaching the camera?


    MOO
     
  18. inmyhumbleopinion

    inmyhumbleopinion #NeverGivingUp

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    You make excellent points in your last post, Gussified.

    And the camera doing something similar to the motion-activated ones at your home is much more plausible to me.
     
  19. Horror

    Horror Well-Known Member

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    Someone posted upthread (apologies can’t find it quick) that as someone who loved their car maybe he parked there right in middle of little town, and went for a walk. Google tells me it’s under a mile to the bridge that crosses the river. With it in full flood and running - could he have slipped in ? Is there steep sides anywhere. Walking along the bridge it doesn’t appear so but maybe someone familiar could elaborate further.
    ETA - also do rivers there flow quickly and far if this was the case ?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. dms

    dms Well-Known Member

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    My security cams are just like this, but mine have a brief "reset" period after recording for 30 seconds during which anything going on within range of the cam is not captured. That was super unhelpful a while back when someone stole a package off my front porch; the first clip showed a car pulling up to the stop sign in front of my house, pausing, then suddenly backing up toward my driveway. The next clip showed the car pulling up to the stop sign again, but the package that had been visible on my porch in the first clip was gone. The actual theft wasn't recorded at all. :facepalm:
     

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