Family searching for Billings woman they say is missing

Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 17:52:13-04

BILLINGS – The son of a Billings woman is reaching out to the community to help locate his mother who went missing three weeks ago.

Laura Johnson, 49, hasn’t been heard or seen from since Sept. 4, according to her son, Jonathon Johnson.

The Billings Police Department has been in contact with Johnson’s family for weeks but has not opened an active missing person case. The department has assigned a detective to the case, Lt. Brandon Wooley told MTN News Tuesday.

Jonathon Johnson, who lives in Vancouver, Wash., took to Facebook a week ago to spread the word about his missing mother. The post was shared over 5,000 times in the span of 24 hours.

In his post, he also stated his mother was involved in an abusive relationship. He also confirmed his mother has a history of drug addiction.

“We aren’t from around there, so I just wanted to reach out to people and see if maybe somebody has seen her,” said Jonathon Johnson.

Johnson said his mother recently moved to Billings from Nevada with her boyfriend and found a job at Papa John’s as a driver. However, she hasn’t shown up her job in recent weeks, he said.

He said his family stays in contact, his mother is active almost every day on social media, and none of his four brothers have spoken to her, which he said is unusual.

MTN reached out to officials in Clark County, Washington, where Jonathon Johnson said he filed a missing person report with police there.

According to information obtained by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Laura Johnson also sometimes goes by the name of Laura Braaten. Sgt Brent Waddell said Laura’s phone pinged to a location in the Salmon Creek, Wash. area where there is a methadone clinic.“

There is nothing that jumps out as “alarming” in this case, particularly because Johnson is an adult and can disappear if she chooses, Waddell said.

“Unfortunately people with addiction issues, heroin issues, those people tend to do whatever it takes to fulfill their needs. It’s not uncommon for them to disappear for days or weeks at a time,” said Waddell.

Waddell also said there was nothing in the missing person’s report filed in Clark County about an abusive boyfriend.

However, that is something that Laura Johnson’s son Jonathan maintains is a concern when it comes to his mother. And because of that, Wooley said Billings police will continue to collect interviews from family members and witnesses in order to come to a conclusion on the case.

“Based so far on what officers have learned she doesn’t meet the criteria for missing person classification,” Lt. Wooley said in an email on Thursday, Sept 27.

By Tuesday, Oct 2, Lt Wooley had the same message for MTN News.

“We are all worried about her and I’m just hoping somebody sees her and she’s safe,” said Jonathon Johnson.

Her son said Laura Johnson is described as being 5’4″ about 140 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. If you see her, call the police.

Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News