05/08/2012 01:37 pm ET Updated May 08, 2012

James 'Alan' Lawson, Ohio Man, Goes Missing Under Mysterious Circumstances

An Ohio man's sudden disappearance has baffled family members and investigators, who found his vehicle abandoned in West Virginia five days after he went missing.

Police in Huntington, W.Va., said they located a vehicle belonging to 41-year-old James "Alan" Lawson, on Thursday evening. The 1999 Ford Taurus was discovered in the parking lot of a baseball field in the 1900 block of James River Road in Huntington.

"We searched the car, but we didn't find any evidence," Sheriff Jeff Lawless, of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, told The Huffington Post. "We also searched the area where the car was found with dogs but did not find anything of significance."

Lawson was reported missing by his wife, Paula, and his daughter, Whitney, on April 29. Paula Lawson told police she last saw her husband on the morning of April 28, when he left their Proctorville home to check on a rental property they own in nearby Ironton.

"We had made plans to go camping in Greenup, Ky., but he never came home," Paula Lawson told HuffPost. "Later that evening, I went to the campground to see if he was there but he wasn't."

PHOTOS OF JAMES "ALAN" LAWSON: (Article Continues Below)


Alan Lawson also failed to meet up with the potential buyer of a car he was selling. The two had made plans to meet in the parking lot of a South Point, Ohio, grocery store, but Lawson never made it to the meeting, the buyer told Paula Lawson.

Lawson said it is extremely out of character for her husband of 13 years to be out of contact with her or his two children. She said he would always notify them if he was running late. She also said he had no reason to be in Huntington, W.Va. The town is located about 11 miles southwest of Proctorville and is on the south side of the Ohio River.

Lawless said investigators have been unable to ping the location of Alan Lawson's cellphone because the device has been turned off. There has also been no activity on his bank accounts. Authorities have subpoenaed Lawson's cellphone records to determine who was called on the day he disappeared. They are expecting those records on Tuesday.

"We have no indication of any foul play, but I have been [in law enforcement] for 26 years and the longer time goes by without any contact, we start to fear the worse," Lawless said. "Unfortunately those things seem to be the trend now."

Lawless added, "We're still interviewing family, friends and acquaintances. We're still piecing things together and looking for anyone who has any information that might help locate Mr. Lawson."

On Sunday, dozens of volunteer searchers reexamined the area where Lawson's vehicle was found. A trained search dog assisted the search teams but was unable to find Lawson. His family is planning additional searches and is in the process of putting together a reward for information in the case.

"We don't know what to do. It's so hard," Paula Lawson said. "We just keep praying that he comes home. All we have is our faith."

Lawson is 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and grayish white tennis shoes. Anyone with information about Lawson is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 740-532-3106. Lawson's family has created two Facebook pages -- Help Bring James Alan Lawson Home and Find Alan Lawson -- and a website devoted to his disappearance.



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