RAYVILLE – Family and friends gathered around 3 p.m. Friday to search for a missing man, Austin VanOster, 21, Rayville.
VanOster disappeared around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 29, having last been seen at Stella’s Nightclub, Richmond. Area law enforcers are aiding in the search.
“He was in my establishment … only once that I know of, and that was Tuesday night,” Stella’s owner Jessica Gray said Friday. “He went missing once he left here.”
Gray said he stayed about 90 minutes before leaving.
“He told the people at the bar he was going to go home,” VanOster’s mother, Rhonda Rowlinson, Richmond, said.
Gray said she recognized VanOster from a photo sent to her. She said she provided video for Richmond Police Department investigators to review Thursday.
Van Oster also occasionally visited a restaurant/bar on the opposite side of Richmond, Our Place, on Old Route 10.
“He came in here and played pool with some of the other guys,” and might have a beer or two, like most people, Mike Fales, an Our Place cook, said. “Everybody got along with him. He was one of the cool ones around here.”
VanOster did not visit Our Place last week, Fales said.
About 15 people came together at Rayville Christian Church to determine a search plan. A half dozen of them gathered around the hood of a pickup truck where they spread out a map to pick decide of various roads the crews of searchers would take in hope of finding VanOster.
Nick VanOster, Stet, said law enforcers had already begun to search using a plane and a helicopter.
Austin VanOster would not have taken the most direct route back to his Rayville residence, Rowlinson said.
“He would have taken all the back roads,” she said.
There is no evidence of his credit cards having been used since he disappeared, Rowlinson said.
“His cell phone has been off since 1 a.m. Thursday,” she said. “We assume it’s dead.”
When last seen, Austin VanOster wore a navy-blue T-shirt, blue jeans, cowboy boots and a camouflage hat. He sometimes wore an orange hoodie with the Ariat brand name on the sleeve.
Austin VanOster drives a gold Chevy S-10 extended cab pickup truck that has a dent in the driver side door.
He stands out in a crowd, being 6-7, weighing 200 pounds and having brown hair and eyes.
Richmond police ask anyone with information helpful to the investigation to call 816-776-3575.