On March 14, 1998, Leonard Lenny Dirickson, who was 39 years old, and his 16-year-old son Jared started a normal Saturday by eating breakfast together at Larry’s dairy farm near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. At 9 a.m., while they were eating, an unexpected guest showed up in what Jared said was a white pickup truck. Lenny went outside, and Jared watched his father talk to the stranger for a few minutes from inside the house. He could tell they didn’t know each other, but their talk seemed friendly. Jared said that the stranger was a white man with a full, red beard who was wearing a baseball cap that said “No Fear” on the front. He looked to be in his early 40s. He was taller than 6 feet and weighed about 210 pounds. Jared said that he hadn’t gotten a very good look at him before.
When Lenny got back, he told Jared that the man had asked if one of Lenny’s stud horses was for sale and asked to see the horse. Jared says that his father’s last words to him before leaving with the man were, “So he told me that he was going with him. He told me to stay here, get some feed, and feed the cows until he came back in the afternoon. That day, Lenny was going to go to Elk City, Oklahoma and Mobeetie, Texas, but Jared didn’t know which place they would go to first.
Lenny was supposed to come home later that evening, but he never did. Jared and his family didn’t tell anyone that Lenny was missing until the next morning. Investigators did a thorough search of the house and found that Lenny had left his uncashed paycheck at home but only had $150 or less on him the day he went missing. Investigators later found out that Lenny had never put up an ad to sell a horse. When the police looked at the property where Lenny kept his stud horse, they found that Lenny had not been there that day. Police have followed every possible lead and have found nothing useful. There are no signs of a fight, no signs of foul play, and no body.
The possibility that Lenny left on his own terms, according to Jared and his family, is unlikely. Both financially and emotionally, Lenny was having a hard time around the time he went missing. Lenny was having trouble with money. He had a lot of debt, all of his credit cards were maxed out, and his Dairy Farm went out of business in December 1997 because prices had dropped. He had also just gone through a hard divorce in 1996, which broke up his family and led to a bitter fight over custody of Jared and his younger sister. But Lenny’s family is adamant that he wouldn’t have done something like that, and they are sure that he wouldn’t have left his family. Jared said, “Every day, my dad and I were together. We would go to work, do chores, and I would go to school every morning. I don’t think he would have ever left me and never come back to see me or anything, because… We were friends, and I don’t think he would have done that to me.” Lenny had also been working at a metal company in the area since January. His family says he liked his job so much that his father was thinking about buying the company for him just before he went missing.
A waitress said that she saw Lenny and another man eating breakfast together at a local coffee shop around 9 a.m. that morning. Inspector Clif Gann with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says, “They were sitting there in the restaurant. And the man we don’t know who he is did most of the talking, while Leonard just drank coffee and listened to the man talk.” The man was described by an eyewitness the same way Jared did, and the waitress said there was nothing strange about the way the man was acting.
Six months after Lenny went missing, a man called the police and said he saw him in an Amarillo, Texas, bar. He was able to give a detailed description of the man over the phone, but he wouldn’t give his name. He wanted to stay anonymous. By the time local police got to the bar, both the caller and the man he said was Lenny Dirickson were gone. The next day, the police talked to the bartender who had been there that night. He or she confirmed what the caller had said. She seemed to remember that the caller was at the bar, but she didn’t know anything else. The county sheriff, Joe Hay, said this about the event: “We had no reason to doubt it. It would be hard to believe that a man would dance around a bar shouting, “It’s Leonard, it’s Leonard!” when it wasn’t Leonard. I think he was in an Amarillo bar.”
Lenny’s case hasn’t been solved after 20 years, and his family is still waiting for answers about where their beloved father, son, and friend is.