A bus driver discovers the skeleton of a man who disappeared in 1974.
In 1985, Tyrone Rollins was hired as a school bus driver in Independence, Missouri. From the beginning, he said he had an eerie feeling about the rocky outcroppings behind the bus yard:
Finally, on October 16, 1991, Tyrone gave in. He simply had to investigate on the north side of the hill. There, he discovered a hidden cave:
Dental records confirmed that the remains were those of Gary Simmons, a businessman from Overland Park, Kansas, 25 miles away. An autopsy revealed that he had been shot in the head.
Tyrone’s incredible discovery became a nightmare for the police. They were confronted with a killing that had happened 17 years earlier. Gary had mysteriously vanished in 1974 and an investigation at this point seemed pointless. But the police had no choice. Gary Simmons was dead and whoever killed him was still on the loose.
According to Gary’s brother, Jerry Simmons, Gary owned and operated a lucrative chain of gas stations. But his passion was horse-trading:
On October 14th, 1974, the day before he disappeared, Gary learned of a prize horse for sale: a pure-bred Appaloosa with an asking price of $30,000. The next morning, an agent acting for the horse’s owner showed up at Gary Simmons’ office. His name was Tom Dixon.
When Tom Dixon came to see Simmons, it was the beginning of a mysterious encounter which lasted all day and which police are still trying to piece together. A little while later, Simmons left his office with Dixon. Gary told his secretary that he would return shortly, but he didn’t say where he was going. Fifteen minutes later, he called in and asked his secretary to write a check to Tom Dixon for $30,000.
Dixon picked up the check thirty minutes later and walked out of the office. Dixon then took the check to Gary Simmons for his signature, but no one knows where that meeting took place. According to Detective Victor Zinn, Gary was later spotted at a truck stop 10 miles from his office:
It was the last time anyone saw Gary alive. Just before noon, according to Det. Zinn, Dixon showed up at Gary’s bank:
Around five hours later, Tom Dixon was seen at a salvage yard 11 miles from the bank. He was driving Gary’s Lincoln Continental. He supposedly told the salvage man he needed to get rid of the car and asked if he could use his crusher to flatten it. The salvage men suggested he ditch the vehicle in the Missouri River.
The following day, one of Tom Dixon’s friends dropped him off at a truck stop near Kansas City. Dixon said he was catching a ride with a cross-country trucker. No one has seen Tom Dixon since.
Six months later, on April 25, 1975, Gary Simmons’ Lincoln Continental was pulled from the Missouri River less than six miles from the salvage yard where Dixon had tried to get rid of it. According to Det. Zinn:
Police suspected that Gary had been the victim of a bogus horse deal, and that Dixon, acting alone or with a partner, stole his money and killed him. Then, a new witness came forward. Roy Hylton was a local rancher. He says he knew both Gary Simmons and Tom Dixon:
Roy claimed he heard Gary calling his office and the bank from the Whispering Downs Horse Ranch on the day he disappeared. Roy also said that Gary showed him the horse he was buying:
Roy Hylton’s testimony complicated an already confusing case. Gary had been struggling to save his chain of gas stations in the face of soaring oil prices the year before his death.
Who murdered Gary Simmons and why? There may be only one man who knows: Tom Dixon.