Family works to spread word in hopes of finding missing man

2014-04-24T16:57:00Z 2014-04-25T16:27:06Z Family works to spread word in hopes of finding missing manBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Several months ago, Joe Kelly drove up to the Montana Department of Transportation’s office here in Billings ready to go to work.

The problem was, he’d been retired for more than a year. That night in February, Kelly had forgotten he no longer worked in the highway department and had shown up for work just like he’d done for the last 30 years.

“Lately, he hasn’t seemed to know what he’s doing,” said his wife, Jane Kelly.

And that’s why she’s scared. On April 14, the 59-year-old Joe Kelly grabbed the keys to his white 1995 Ford F-150, drove off into the afternoon and disappeared.

By the next morning, when he still hadn’t returned home, Jane Kelly called the police to file a report. Joe’s brother hired a private investigator.

So far, their search has turned up little. A few hours after leaving the house, Joe used his credit card to buy gas at the McFinys on Rimrock Road near Zimmerman Trail. A few minutes later, he purchased a bit more gas at a Zip-Trip downtown.

A couple days later, a motorist called the Billings Police Crime Stoppers line to report seeing Joe’s white Ford on I-90 west of Columbus and heading west.

“We had a pretty good sighting,” said Sgt. Mitch Hart, a detective with Billings Police.

The motorist’s description of the truck and license plate matched Joe’s F-150. But that was it. Nothing else has been found. Hart said that’s what makes missing adult cases so difficult.

“We’re kind of stuck until we get a visual,” he said.

Jane is especially worried.

“The problem is, I don’t think even he knows where he is,” she said.

She’s asking people to be on the lookout. Those who think they’ve seen Joe or his truck can call into the Billings Police Crime Stopper hotline at 245-6660.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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