A family is desperate for answers after their son disappeared just days before his 30th birthday.
Benjamin “Michael” Saylor, who goes by Michael, last communicated with his family on July 26, 2019, via text message. The Oak Hill, Ohio man texted his father that his truck had broken down.
Investigators say Michael, who lives on State Route 279, was in the area of Erwin Road, CH & D, Dixon Road and SR 327, a mile or so from the AA truck stop off of SR 35.
Shortly after the text message to his dad, Michael’s phone was turned off.
Days passed without a word from Michael. On July 29, Michael’s 30th birthday, friends and family filled his Facebook page with birthday messages. No response from Michael.
Authorities said family members located his truck, but Michael was nowhere to be found.
Michael’s father, Anthony “Art” Saylor, went to the police station that day and reported him missing.
“All I want to do is find Michael,” Art told Dateline. “It’s not like him to just pick up and leave. He would have called his mother for sure. Or he would have called me.”
But Art said he had a sick feeling that something bad had happened.
Art told Dateline that Michael struggled his entire life with drug addiction. It began in high school. Art said his son was an A/B Honor Roll student, played varsity sports and “all he talked about was going to college.”
But that soon changed, and addiction took over for years. In November 2018, Art said Michael got clean and he believed his son had stayed clean since then.
“He was doing really good,” Art said. “He was working. Making money. And we were spending a lot of time together. More time than we used to. It was good.”
Art said Michael was working hard remodeling homes and had plans to eventually launch a business flipping houses. Art, who has always been in the logging business, agreed to help his son get started.
The father/son duo grew closer as they also spent weekends fishing and deer hunting. Michael also has a two-year-old son, Maverick, who lives in Massachusetts. Michael and Maverick often FaceTime and the boy’s mother had planned to bring him to visit his father in August.
So when all contact was lost with Michael, his father knew something was wrong.
“I had a sick feeling that he had relapsed -- that he had overdosed,” Art said. “Something inside told me something was wrong.”
Art told Dateline he also worried that Michael had gotten into trouble with the crowd he was hanging out with. He said Michael had just been paid and he was afraid they did something terrible to Michael for the money.
“No matter how this turns out, we have to bring awareness to the drug use in this country… and to what it’s doing to our children,” Art told Dateline. “This has been a nightmare for my entire family.”
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office continues to search for Michael’s whereabouts and have been following numerous tips. However, the tips have not led to his location.
A $25,000 reward is being offered to the person or persons with information that leads authorities directly to Michael’s location.
"Michael has to be found to get the reward," Jackson County Sheriff Tedd Frazier said in a press release. “Anyone with information should contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and speak with Major Scott Conley or Investigator Rick Zinn.”
The reward was made possible through generous donations from the Bring Michael Home Candlelight Vigil, held on Saturday, August 24, according to investigators.
Michael is a white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds. He was last known to have a beard. He has a tattoo honoring his late grandfather on his right arm of a logging truck. He also has a tattoo of a fish hook on top of his hand.
If you know where Michael Saylor is, or have information that could help investigators, contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 740-286-6464 and ask for Major Scott Conley or Investigator Rick Zinn.
UPDATE: As of October 4, 2019, the reward being offered for information leading authorities to Michael's location has increased to $25,000, according to the family.