Family members of a missing man are continuing to search the area where he was last seen in Columbus three nights ago.
Relatives say Joey LaBute was at the Union Café just after 12:30 a.m. March 5 before disappearing.
Joey’s aunt Julie Holly said the two don’t text daily, but not hearing from the 26-year-old since early Saturday doesn’t seem right.
“This is totally out of character,” she said.
Joey’s mother and father drove to Columbus from their hometown of Cincinnati to help find their son.
“I have no idea. He just kind of vanished,” Joey’s mother Liz LaBute said.
Family members say it’s not like Joey to just disappear.
“This is totally not like Joey; he should have had his phone with him. It should be on. He should be responding to text messages right away,” Joey’s cousin Kyle Reigle said.
Reigle and his wife were the last family members to see Joey Friday night.
He said Joey parked his car near Thurber Gate apartments in the Short North before the three hung out at nearby Union Café.
Shortly after midnight, Kyle said he and his wife decided to call it a night.
“We waited around 10 minutes or so and just never saw him again so I started texted him asking him where he was at and just never heard from him,” Reigle said.
Around the same time, a man who’d gone out on a few dates with Joey said his goodnight to Joey via text. He typed “goodnight cutie” at 10:19 p.m. then got a response from Joey at 10:28 when he replied, “Byeeeeeee.”
The man texted Joey again four more times between Saturday and Sunday evenings but never heard back. Then Monday morning, Joey didn’t show up for work.
“Something interrupted his trip between Union and his car. And we have no idea what it is. None whatsoever,” Joey’s father Joe LaBute said.
As detectives piece together Joey’s digital footprint to try and track him down, his family members are helping Columbus and Gahanna police step up their search by walking the Short North around Union Café handing out flyers with Joey’s picture.
“Whether he’s hurt, whether someone hurt him; I don’t know I just think we need to find him,” Holly said.
Though she’s preparing for the worst she is hoping for the best.
Joey is described as white male, 5’9’’, 135 pounds with brown hair and eyes. He was last seen wearing a brownish/blue flannel shirt with a blue t-shirt underneath and blue jeans.
If you have information contact Columbus Police Department;s Missing Persons Unit at 614-645-4624.