A Michigan doctor who went missing last week was found dead in a frozen lake near his home on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. The search for Bolek Payan began after his family and friends reported that no one had seen or heard from him since he left Henry Ford Hospital in Jackson on Thursday.
The search ended after Payan's body was pulled out from the ice pond in Jackson County at 12:30 pm on Tuesday afternoon. The public safety department reported that police dogs, drones, and officials examined the area around Payan's house before authorities drilled holes in the ice covering the pond to find his frozen body.
Payan's body was pulled out from the ice pond in Jackson County at 12:30 pm after authorities on Monday received security footage from the doctor's home showing him leaving his home on foot on Thursday afternoon, the Blackman-Leoni Township Department of Public Safety said.
However, police said that it wasn't easy locating Payan in the inclement weather and they initially struggled. Also, they didn't have any clue that Payan's body could be trapped under ice.
According to police, Payan likely struggled to keep himself alive in the brutal weather that is resulting in frequent snowstorms.
"Detectives believe Dr. Payan would have been deceased, prior to when he was reported missing, due to the weather conditions on the day that he left his residence and the fact that he was in the water," the department said.
Nicole Keiser, a family friend, said Payan, who worked at Henry Ford Hospital, left his dogs with her on Thursday at about 8 a.m. and was scheduled to pick them up that evening.
Keiser told WILX-TV that it was "out of character" for him to travel home without bringing the dogs before Payan's body was found in the frozen lake.
After announcing that they'd found Payan's body, Michigan Police thanked many teams. "We would like to thank the Jackson County Dive Team, Michigan Search and Rescue, J-DART, the neighbors, and the public for their assistance during this incident," police said.
"Our thoughts are with Dr. Payan's family and friends."
The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office is conducting an autopsy as well as toxicology tests, therefore the cause of Payan's death has not yet been determined.
Payan graduated from Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017. He began his residency at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital in 2020. According to his bio on Henry Ford's website, Payan specialized in psychiatry at the hospital.