Saturday, March 14, 1998, began as a typical morning at Leonard Dirickson’s dairy farm near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Leonard and his 19 year old son, Jared, sat down to eat breakfast before a long day of chores.
Then, at 9 AM, a visitor arrived unannounced in a white pickup truck. Leonard spent several minutes talking to the driver of the truck. They did not appear to know each other, but their conversation seemed friendly.
When Leonard returned, he told Jared that the man wanted to look at one of his stud horses. According to Jared, his father found nothing unusual about the stranger:
“So he told me that he was gonna go with him. He said to stay here and… get some feed and go feed the cows, and he’d be back that afternoon.”
Jared Dirickson is still waiting for his father to come home. Nobody has any idea what happened to him. Police have found no signs of a struggle, no evidence of foul play, and no body. Their only clue is the mysterious man who came to Leonard’s house.
Lenny was spotted at a bar
Apparently, Leonard did not simply vanish immediately after leaving his home. Two hours later, a waitress claimed to have seen Leonard eating breakfast with another man at a local coffee shop.
Clif Gann was an Inspector for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation:
“They were sitting there in the restaurant. And the unknown man that we’re trying to identify was doing most of the talking, and Leonard was just drinking coffee and listening to the… man talk.”
The man at the diner matched the description of the man who picked Leonard up at his home. According to the waitress, there was nothing suspicious about the man’s behavior.
Sketch of what the unidentified suspect looked like in 1998
Police checked the barn where Leonard kept his stud-horse. But Leonard never went there that day. An exhaustive investigation that followed turned up no information on Leonard’s whereabouts.
Then six months after he vanished, a man phoned police saying that Leonard Dirickson was in a bar in Amarillo, Texas. The man described Leonard in detail but told police he couldn’t reveal his name.
By the time local police arrived at the bar, both the caller and the man he claimed was Leonard Dirickson were gone.
The following day, the Roger Mills County Sheriff’s Department interviewed the bartender. She remembered the caller being at the bar and corroborated his story.
Joe Hay was the Sheriff of Roger Mills County:
“We had no reason to disbelieve it. It would almost stretch the imagination that a guy would dance around in a bar screaming and hollering, ‘It’s Leonard, it’s Leonard,’ and it not be Leonard. I believe he was in the bar in Amarillo.”
Before his disappearance, Leonard had gone through a painful divorce and was having business difficulties. Could he have just decided to walk away from it all? Jared Dirickson doesn’t think so:
“Me and my dad, we was together every day. Every morning, we’d go work, do the chores, and I’d go to school. I don’t think he would’ve ever left me and not ever come back to see me or nothing, ’cause…we was close, and I don’t think he’d have ever done that to me.”
If Leonard would not have left his son behind, the focus then switches back to the mysterious man. How did the stranger know where Leonard lived? And why was he asking about a horse that Leonard had not advertised for sale? Without a motive, the search for Leonard Dirickson will continue to be hampered.
Anyone with information on this cold case is asked to please contact: Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation – 1-800-522-8017
Texas Department of Public Safety – 800-346-3243
Source: Unsolved Mysteries