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Crime News Missing Persons

Body Of Missing Michigan Doctor Found In Frozen Pond Near His Home

Dr. Bolek Payan, 32, was first reported missing on Christmas Eve when family and friends who visited for the holiday couldn't find him.

By Caitlin Schunn
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Divers pulled the body of a Michigan doctor out of a pond near his home on Tuesday — as police believe he fell through the ice during a winter storm that brought temperatures well below zero to the Midwest just before Christmas.

Dr. Bolek Payan, 32, was reported missing to the Blackman Township police on Christmas Eve, and officers asked for tips on his disappearance on Facebook. He was last seen on Dec. 22 leaving Henry Ford Jackson Hospital in Jackson, Michigan, police said. His vehicle was found at his home in Leoni Township, but officers said his employer, family and friends hadn’t heard from him.

Relatives and friends told Lansing NBC station WILX they had traveled from Illinois to Jackson County expecting to celebrate the holidays with him. They told the station his disappearance was uncharacteristic of him, and they were concerned for his safety.

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“Bolek dropped his dogs off at 8 a.m.,” Nicole Keiser told WLIX. “He told us that he was going to pick them up at 6:30, he already fed them, and that he’ll feed them again when he picks them up at 6:30 that night. So for his truck to be here without coming to the house to pick up the dogs, that would be out of character. Something happened, and I don’t know what.”

Police said they searched for him on his property with police dogs and drones but didn’t find anything. His property was roughly 200 acres, according to Fox 8 in Cleveland.

A photo of Bolek Payan

On Tuesday, police said they were able to access his home video camera system, which was password protected, and saw him leave his home on foot in the afternoon of Dec. 22. Officers decided to call in the Jackson County Dive Team to cut holes in the ice of a pond on his property, and divers found his body under the ice.

Police believe the doctor was likely dead before he was reported missing, due to the winter weather conditions on Dec. 22, and the fact that he was in water.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy and toxicology testing to investigate the manner and cause of death.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Bolek Payan,” Henry Ford Jackson Hospital said in a statement to Michigan Live. “Our thoughts, prayers and profound sympathies are with his family, friends and colleagues.”

Dr. Payan’s friend and neighbor, Jenny Fordyce, said Payan was an only child who grew up in Chicago, and later moved to Michigan, according to Michigan Live.

“He moved here last winter, so we didn’t get a great chance to know him long, but he was just an all-around great guy,” Fordyce told Michigan Live. “He dropped off a Christmas card a few days before he went missing. It just feels so unreal to know he’s gone.”

Dr. Payan was board certified in psychiatry and graduated from the Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017, before starting his residency at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in 2020, according to his bio on Henry Ford Health’s website.

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