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Friends hold vigil in south Billings for missing man

Posted at 10:14 PM, Apr 05, 2024

BILLINGS - Family and friends of a missing Billings man gathered Friday night for a candlelight vigil in a parking lot across from the Hope Center in south Billings.

Jessie Lamarr Johnson was last seen on Feb. 28.

"You'd always see Jessie right here,” said Stacy Limberhand, a long-time friend of the family. “He'd have his little speaker right there. And you'd hear him, just kind of zoning out to his music. And then you'd see him jumping down and doing burpees and that's just kind of why this is the center of just where Jessie found his peace."

Limberhand had spoken with Jessie's mother on Friday morning.

“She's doing her best,” said Limberhand. “She's doing her very best. Of course, she's angry. She's hurt."

The Billings Police Department have Johnson listed as a missing person, but family and friends fear foul play.

“The people that are involved need to be questioned immensely and brought to justice,” Limberhand said. “And this just needs to come full circle so we can all have peace and his mother and his family can rest. And then Jessie can find peace.”

Another friend of Jessie's received a text at 3:42 p.m. on Feb. 28, the day he went missing.

“He was only here a day or two before he tragically just went missing,” said Ashley Burling.

The text was about him returning to Billings after months of treatment at Hope Center Ministries in Butte.

"The most important thing that I want to say is that you know just Jessie has a past, a lot of us have pasts,” Burling said. “You know it's remarkable he went to treatment. He went through all that changed his life. He was baptized and found God and was working on being new and fresh."

Burling has known Johnson for at least half his life and knows details about him few others do such that he likes NASA, barbecuing, and his favorite color is purple.

"You can't really beat Jessie,” Burling said. “My mom calls him her Michael Jackson. "We've all loved him. My family loves him."

And the venue for the vigil on Friday is a place where Johnson has been working to turn his life around.

"Ever since Jessie was a little boy, he's always jokes,” Limberhand said. “He's always making people laugh. Very much a mama's boy. He is very much always very, very close with his mother."

"Praying for the best,” Burling said. “Praying that he's found safe and brought home."