Detective releases information on Austin Atkinson

Thursday, June 14, 2012

According to Christian County Detective Shane Durye, Cassville High School alumnus Austin Atkinson is no longer in possession of his 1990 red Dodge pickup.

Last week, Durye released a small amount of information regarding the investigation into the disappearance of Atkinson, who last communicated with family and friends on May 12.

"We know that he worked on May 11," said Durye. "He worked a full day. He had received a check on May 10, and he cashed that check on May 11.

"Then, he did not work or call in on May 12 and has not communicated with anyone from there on out," said Durye. "He did make a Facebook post on May 12. That was his last official communication with the world."

Atkinson's cell phone has been shut off since May 14. The last cellular activity occurred in the Kansas City area when the cell phone was turned on for two seconds and then shut back off. It has not been turned on again, said Durye.

"We do know that on the 14th his truck was sold to an auto salvage," said Atkinson. "Right now we are working to verify that it was him who sold the truck. It was sold in the morning."

Durye said there was no sign of foul play in the vehicle. Detectives seized a few items left in the truck during their investigation.

"We believe it was him who sold the truck, but he was with someone, and we are not sure of the circumstances surrounding that," said Durye.

The Christian County Sheriff's Department has not decided if a description of the individual will be released to the public.

Detectives have also confiscated a note that was allegedly written by Atkinson. The note was found at the residence where Atkinson was living at the time of his disappearance.

"All indications are that he did write the note," said Durye. "It was left on the 12th. It basically said that he appreciated being allowed to stay there, and he felt he owed a debt that he wouldn't be able to repay. He said he was going to head out into the world to make a better life for himself.

"Our question is when he headed out, did something happen at that point," said Durye. "He left no real indication of what his plan was. We believe he left with no real plan."

Atkinson's former employer, Laser Striping and Sealing, has two pay checks that have never been picked up, said Durye.

"He has missed a couple of big family events, a wedding anniversary that he knew about and a family reunion that he had indicated he would be attending," said Durye.

"We appreciate all of the tips we receive from the public," added Durye. "Right now, we want to make sure people know that he no longer has his 1990 Dodge pickup with him."

Individuals with information on Austin are asked to call the Christian County Sheriff's Office at 417-581-2332.

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