UPDATE: Two Years Later, Family Still Seeking Answers in Murder of James Lawson

By: Cathleen Moxley, Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Cathleen Moxley, Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE: 4/28/14 @ 10 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Monday marked two years since a man from Lawrence County, Ohio, was last seen by his family.

A missing person case later turned into a homicide investigation.

James Alan Lawson’s ex-wife said he was last seen at their home in Proctorville when he left to check on rental property he owned in Ironton.

Three weeks later, the 41-year-old's body was discovered along the Ohio River in Mason County, West Virginia. Investigators said it was a homicide.

Fast forward 2 years, and the family still has no answers as to who did it or why.

"I don't cry as often, but I still think about him constantly," his daughter Whitney Lawson said Monday evening.

Whitney says it's hard to cope knowing whoever is responsible remains free.

"I'm getting a little discouraged in many ways, kind of just want to give up," she said. "I've tried calling all the law enforcement agencies, and I leave messages, and I never hear anything back."

She never imagined when he disappeared that two years later, she'd be no closer to closure.

"It's just hard to think that this time two years ago was the last time I'll ever hear his voice,” she said.

West Virginia State Police in Mason County said Monday evening that there were no updates in the case to report.

A message with a detective with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department was not returned Monday.



UPDATE: 5/17/12 @ 10 p.m.
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) – It's been nearly three weeks since a man from Proctorville, Ohio went missing, leaving his family baffled and searching for answers.

41-year-old James Alan Lawson was last seen by his wife the morning of April 28. He was going to check on rental property in Ironton.

Since then family hasn't heard anything from him. They say his cell phone has been turned off since that day, and his credit cards haven't been used.

His wife Paula Lawson says it's getting harder to hold onto hope that her husband will turn up ok.

"It's not ending,” she said. “It's a nightmare. We wake up to a nightmare every day."

"I always listen to his voicemails that he left me,” his daughter Whitney Lawson said. “It's really hard, because I don't know where he's at."

Lawson's vehicle was found in Huntington five days after he went missing.

Family and investigators were hopeful that clue would help solve the mystery, but it hasn't worked out that way yet.

Detective Aaron Bollinger with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department says they've been looking at surveillance video from locations where Lawson's car might have been that day hoping to find more clues, but so far he says they haven't come across anything significant.

Paula has opened a nonprofit account at the Wesbanco Bank, which people have been donating to. They're offering a cash reward to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the 41-year-old's whereabouts.

"Somebody has to know something,” Paula said. “You don't just disappear without anybody knowing anything."



UPDATE 5/6/12 @ 9:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Dozens hit the woods Sunday searching for James Lawson who has been missing for more than a week.

Lawson is 41 years old and from the Proctorville area.

His car was found Thursday along James River Road in Huntington. Family, friends and even strangers were back in that area Sunday looking for any clues that could lead to finding him.

Danielle Childers even brought her rescue dog out to help with the search. The dog did pick up Lawson’s scent on a bracelet, which is being handed over to detectives.

Like many others, Childers doesn't even know the Lawsons, but says the urge to help a stranger isn't strange at all.

“I don't know Paula (Lawson’s wife) from the man in the moon, but I would want somebody to help me, bottom line,” Childers said.

And the bottom line here is finding Lawson and bringing him home to his family.

“It's just hard,” Paula Lawson said. “I try to stay strong for him (their son), but when those big blue eyes look at me with tears wanting to know where his daddy is.”

Lawson's family is in the process of putting a reward together in hopes that it will bring anyone with any information forward.



UPDATE 5/4/12 @ 11:25 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The car of a missing Proctorville, Ohio, man has been found in Huntington, Lawrence County Sheriff's departments tell us.

It was found late Thursday night abandoned at a baseball field parking lot in the 1900 block of James River Road in West Huntington.

James Alan Lawson has been missing since last Saturday. He was last seen in Ironton, Ohio.

Detectives tell us police picked up the car. Police took K-9 units out to search the area for Lawson's scent on Friday, but came up empty.

Lawrence County detectives say they need your help to find Lawson. They also say, if anyone happened to see Lawson's car being dropped off at that parking lot in Huntington, please give them a call.



ORIGINAL STORY
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – So far a family’s search for their loved one has turned up empty.

Paula Lawson and her husband James Alan Lawson have been together 13 years.

She says it's just not like him to drop out of sight.

"Since our son's been born, he's never missed a call,” she said. “If he was late he'd call to tell our son he'd be late, always. He'd always have to tell him he loved him."

Paula and her stepdaughter Whitney Lawson reported him missing Monday to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department. Lawson was last seen at his home in Proctorville about noon Saturday.

"It's just really hard not knowing where he's at," Whitney said.

Whitney says she normally talks with her dad every day.

They've checked his cell phone records. Paula says his phone hasn't been used since Saturday, and his credit card hasn't been used since then either.

Paula says she’s been calling hospitals, friends and family and driving to places where she thinks he could possibly be, but no one has heard from him.

They’re hoping this will be a case where he just left for a few days and will come back soon, but they’re fearing the worst.

"All the bad thoughts go through my mind," Whitney said, “like that he might be hurt somewhere.”

"I'm thinking bad stuff, because it's just not in his character to not call," Paula said.

Paula says her husband was going to Ironton to meet with a woman who was interested in buying one of his cars. That woman reportedly told the sheriff's department he never showed up.

Mr. Lawson owns several rental properties in Lawrence County.

He was driving a blue 1999 Ford Taurus.


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