The Search Begins For A Man Missing Since 2004

March 23, 2005 -- Posted at 10:30 p.m. CST

Batesville, AR -- "They wanted to go camping for a few days, and they wanted to borrow our tent. I told them if they come back and we're not here, just leave the tent on the porch," said Judy Bales.

That camping trip was the last time Judy Bales hugged her son Paul, and his girlfriend goodbye.

"He's always been one to come home, especially for the holidays, or come by in the evenings--he's always kept in touch with us," said Bales.

Paul's family thought he was just trying to start over somewhere--and that he would eventually call.

But after nearly a year, the only news they have gotten is not good.

"My father came to me very upset and said that he heard Paul had been buried in a rock quarry at Pleasant Plains," said Paul's sister, Shelly Hayes.

Her heart sank.

This led her to the Independence County Sheriff's Office to finally file a missing person's report.

"We did a search over it, a preliminary search, but didn't find anything. Probably if we can't find any further information, we'll go back and try again," said Cpt. Bill Lindsey.

So now, the search continues.

His sister says Paul's less than perfect past could have something to do with his mysterious disappearance.

"He turned 21 in prison, so I don't know the people he hung out with or what he was doing," said Hayes.

But both mom and sister are praying for anything from Paul, to indicate he's all right.

If you have any information regarding these two missing persons, you are urged to call the Independence County Sheriff's Department at (870) 793-8878.