A bus driver discovers the skeleton of a man who disappeared in 1974.

Tom Dixon smling

Tom Dixon

Gary Simmons with Glasses smiling

Gary Simmons


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:

“I’d be sitting up in front of my bus and I’d feel like somebody was watching me from behind. I’d look back there and there would be nobody on the bus. For a while I just thought I was going crazy. There was a strong feeling, like something pulling inside me, wanting me to do something, and I just couldn’t figure out what it was.”

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:

“And that strong feeling was back again and I knew I had to go in there for some reason. It was like an amazing adrenaline rush, just the feeling of being in there. When I shined my flashlight towards the rocks, you could see little tiny specks of, like, crystals. So I started examining the rocks and it was just then that I happened to glance over and I saw a pair of boots. It was just shock. I just couldn’t believe what I saw.”

Skeletal remains of Gary Simmons in a dark cave

Gary’s body remained in a hidden cave for 17 years

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:

“Gary always worked hard. And I believe he got involved with horses in order to have a form of relaxation and a means of doing something that was fun with his family.”

Three men lean against a fence as two pure-bred Appaloosa horses trot around

Dixon wanted to buy Gary’s horse

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:

“The owner saw Gary Simmons walking back and forth between the counter and the window. He remembers that Gary Simmons was alone and there did not seem to be anybody with him or waiting with him.”

A broken-down car pulled out of the Missouri River

Gary’s car was pulled from the Missouri River

It was the last time anyone saw Gary alive. Just before noon, according to Det. Zinn, Dixon showed up at Gary’s bank:

“Gary Simmons had called the president of the bank and had informed him that Tom Dixon was on his way to cash the check. The bank president recognized Gary Simmons’ voice, but he didn’t recognize anything unusual in his voice to raise his suspicions either.”

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:

“All we had was two grown men that had disappeared and that happens every day in America. It was unknown whether they had disappeared and not wanted to be found or if foul play had indeed occurred. When Gary Simmons’ body was found in that cave, it became a homicide investigation.”

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:

“Oh, Gary knew a horse, that’s for sure.  He knew what a good horse was.”

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:

“This murder didn’t come down over a $30,000 horse deal. It had to come down on some black market gas. I’m almost positive of that, because Gary Simmons was having problems getting fuel for his stations.”

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.
According to Gary’s brother, Jerry Simmons:

“Gary closed the bulk of his stations because of the fact of lack of gasoline. After Gary disappeared, there were rumors that Gary might have been involved in black market gasoline.”

Who murdered Gary Simmons and why?  There may be only one man who knows: Tom Dixon.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Bobbi

    It just seems weird to me that one man ended up dead and another disappeared. I hate to say it but I feel like Tom Dixon didn’t have anything to do with this. I have a strong suspicion that someone killed Gary Simmons then murdered Tom Dixon because Tom might have known something.

    Again it is just a suspicion. I really hope for Tom’s family sake he is found and returned to them one day and that Gary Simmons murderer is named in the case. The person is probably dead by now but at least they could close the case finally.


  2. Andrew

    @UnsolvedMysteries is there anyway this John Doe might be Tom Dixon? Can you please pass it on to law enforcement if possible? Thank You

    John Doe who died under an Alias https://unidentified-awareness.fandom.com/wiki/Peter_Turner


  3. Misty Dixon

    I just would like to clear one very important fact up for all those who want to keep making assumptions…. NONE of my family know where my Grandfather, Tom Dixon, is either. Instead of making assumptions and jumping to conclusions against my grandfather and the rest of our family, maybe take this into consideration. I want this case reopened and investigated properly since it seems that they just didn’t pursue or investigate it very thoroughly… I would like to find my grandfather and if he is alive, get to meet and speak with him for the first time. And if he has sadly passed, then bury with my grandmother so they may be together in peace. We need this re-aired on TV. We need this reopened so that our family may have closure and find out what happened to our loved one once and for all, regardless. Please and Thank you!


    • Janice

      Hi, Misty. Gary Simmons was my brother-in-law. All I know about the case was that your grandfather went to Gary’s bank and the bank, on Gary’s instruction, cashed the check. Gary had called the bank president and that phone call was the last time Gary spoke with anyone. I don’t think Gary’s family thinks your grandfather was the mastermind behind this crime – maybe, but certainly not a sure thing. I’ve always wondered what happened to your grandfather because he may have had information about who was behind it all. Even in 1974 $30K was not a lot of money. Have you or your family members ever considered submitting to forensic genealogy to see if any unidentified bodies could be your grandfather? At this point your grandfather could have died of natural causes. It’s a long shot but if he didn’t die of natural causes and his remains are somewhere, not identified, it could be a step in clearing things up for you.


      • Janice

        One more thing. The input from Gary’s brother isn’t really accurate. The horse was a racehorse, not a “purebred appaloosa.” There are other inaccuracies in the story, too. Gary’s businesses were not in trouble. He’d reduced the number of stations some years earlier. He was, in fact, to receive a large sum of money later that day (the day he disappeared). When the FBI audited his books there were no clues found with regards to his finances.


        • Misty Dixon

          I had not thought of doing that, but definitely would like to…. I also would like to talk more with you… I have a scrapbook I inherited with a bunch of newspaper articles of this case at the time. My grandmother, Shirley Dixon, refused to ever talk about it, just saying that the mafia being I volved was not true it was rumors and that she waited 7 years before moving on to another marriage. I was given this scrapbook at her funeral when I was 18 and was told she had kept all of the articles and wanted me to have it. I have read all the articles, and one thing I always wanted to know more about was one article said that Gary Simmons was suppose to testify in a federal case…. I always wondered which case this was he was suppose to testify for and if that had something to do with all this…. please contact me on my email misty_mmd@outlook.com.


          • Misty Dixon

            Oh and one more thing… I did see that he was suppose to receive a large amount of money later that day as well in the newspaper articles I have… just curious as to why he was to be receiving a large amount of money for???

    • brian massey

      Misty I just cannot see Tom still being alive after what he had done to Gary Simmons years ago. It’s odd to me that Tom has still not been found and nobody is trying to find him. If you play devils advocate here why hasn’t the police done more to find him and oprehend him? To me it looks like this. Gary Simmons had done business before with Tom and over time they did business together with different things. Well one day Gary did something to Tom out of a bad deal and there was a dispute between them. As time went on Tom and Gary made up over the dispute they had and Gary decided to buy this horse from him. Well Tom had it planned to murder Gary over this bad deal that Gary done with Tom and Tom murdered him over it. The nature of selling the horse to Gary was just a roose to put his plan into action to murder Gary. Soo why haven’t they found Tom yet in our society? Well there’s about 3 places in our country where the law stops looking for you if you go into that part of the bad territory and one of those places is the Bayou of Louisiana. I think Tom left for one of these places to evade capture. It would be hard to prove anything now that Tom murdered Gary due to the long time passing over 47 years now soo it’s my hope that Tom changes his mind and comes out of hideing soo he can tell his story about what happend before he passes on. Isn’t the law of Statutes for this investigation past?


      • Misty

        Hello Mr. Massey,
        I have some questions. First, do you have any evidence or proof of any kind to back up this theory you are talking about in regards to my Grandpa Tom Dixon? And, what makes you think that he went to the Bayous of Louisiana of all places in the entire USA? Did you know my Grandpa Tom Dixon or Gary Simmons? If so, How? Also, did you know my father Tom Dixon Jr.? OR are associated with him at all? Or anyone from my family? I would still like to know what happened with my Grandpa Tom Dixon and would really like to know what did happen between my Grandpa and Gary Simmons, regardless if he did it or not.
        Please let me know asap if at all possible.
        Thank you very much,
        Misty Dixon


    • L. Henry

      Hi Misty,
      My name is Detective Henry and I am conducting some follow-up regarding your grandfather’s case. I have sent you an email as well, but if you could reply and we could set up a phone call, I believe there are some things you could help me out with. Thank you for your time.


    • Lauren Henry

      My name is Detective Lauren Henry with the Overland Park Police Department. I have been assigned Tommy Dixon’s missing person case. I am trying to get him entered into the NAMUS (National Missing and Unidentified System), and need to collect some familial DNA. I was hoping you would be willing to assist me with this. My number is 913-344-8792. Please give me a call if you receive this. Thank you


  4. Misty Dixon

    Connor Bryant ~ I am Tom Dixon Sr. Granddaughter, Tom W. Dixon my dad, so I’m thinking we are cousins… Please message me on Facebook to talk. I’d like to meet up. I’d like to find out what happened and clear our family name if possible. Hope to talk soon!!


  5. Dalia Camarillo

    I just saw it through Escape. I believe Tom Dixon had a partner, the horse owner. What if Tom Dixon killed Gary Simmons and the partner killed Tom Dixon? It’s really weird how he disappeared with 30,000 dollars and never been seeing again?


  6. Petaa Motex

    Tom Dixon did it. No doubt. He was conning Gary, shot him and stole the 30 grand. Then stole his car, drove it into the river and went into hiding. Nowadays, with Unsolved, there has to be nowhere he can hide.


  7. Tom Dixon wife

    Tom was a loving kind hearted man. He loved his horses and everything around him. I was very close to him. I attended his funeral. I can’t help but believe this is the Tom I knew because he looks just like him and Same background information. But I just can’t live to believe that this is the Tom I knew


  8. Amber

    As a child our landowner was one Tom Dixon. Leon, Ks. He and his wife, marjoire still live there according to the internet.


  9. chris

    I remember this story from the original “Unsolved Mysteries” episode in 1987 with Robert Stack, the host. I was especially fascinated with it because of the car Mr. Simmons drove, a Lincoln Mark IV. My family owned several Mark IV’s and Town Cars, my favorite cars, and I still own two of them. What happened to Mr. Simmons was horrible, and I also wondered, as a kid at the time, how someone could wreck a new luxury car?


  10. Misty Dixon

    I am saddened and curious… seeing this is my biological grandfather. I remember my grandmother would not discuss him, she always got upset. My father, Tom (or Tommy) W. Dixon Jr., has never really been in my life except when my grandmother had him come visit me when she had me every summer. I have not seen my father since my grandmother’s death in 1998. It was at her funeral that I was handed a scrapbook from a family member I had never met before. All they said was that it was time for me to see the truth and understand why my grandmother could not speak about my grandfather. They said she loved him very much, that even though she had remarried, her heart had belonged to my grandfather Tom. I was told she had waited 7 years before having him A death certificate done declaring he was dead. They said They knew I had the smarts in me to figure it all out. They didn’t believe that my grandfather wouldn’t have done this, that the mafia made him do it. (Which makes no sense to me.) Inside the scrapbook they said was every article they had done about my grandfather. I opened it and inside is a bunch of newspaper clippings, kept really nice and smooth, very well preserved. Now, I’m more confused than ever.
    I live in Independence, MO, my mother moved here with me after remarryIng From Kansas City, Kansas. She hardly would talk about my Father, and when I asked her if she knew anything about my grandfather, after I had found the old Unsolved Mysteries Video online, she said she knew nothing, and when I pressed her, she insisted she knew only what the video already had said…..
    Not long after turning 21, over a decade ago, I remember my boyfriend at the time , had an old 1970 Firebird he had souped up. We got pulled over and when they asked for our ID’s, I distinctly remember the cop asking me if I had a grandfather named Tom Dixon and dad named Tommy Dixon. I remember this because I thought it was so odd.

    So, I am willing and wanting to talk with the Unsolved Mysteries people who are handling this case, as well as any officers or anyone involved in this case. I am really curious what has happened to my grandfather and if there is anything I could possibly help with… I was extremely close to my grandmother…. it upset me very bad when she had died…. everyone at her funeral kept telling me all she ever wanted was a little girl and that she loved me more than anything in the world….. which is another reason why I am so confused by this case and my grandfather being involved. I really need closure on this… for me and my grandmother. I need to know my family history, for my own sake and well-being. Please. Thank you very much.


    • unsolved

      Hi Misty – please email us at unsolved@unsolved.com, and we can try to help you out with any information we may have.


    • Eva Taylor

      Hello Missy Your Grandmother was my Sister I. Law I was married toShirleys younger Bro. Leroy he passed away a year ago Your Granddaddy has Kin in Summersville Missouri Margie Hoffman that was Tom R Sister my phone book don’t have Summersville listing in it any more I will try to get Margies no or one of her kids you want me too .. My name is Eva,,, I seen you when you were a little Girl You sure was a cutie Do you have Face book that might be a way to connect with them .,if you want to friend me I ‘m listed has EVA ANTRIM TAYLOR .. on face book


    • C

      Do you know of your aunt Marjorie Huffman


  11. Anonymous

    I am the widow of Tom Dixon who Passed away October 21, 2014 at the age of 76.
    Please contact me


    • unsolved

      Please feel free to email us directly at unsolved@unsolved.com


    • Anonymous

      Please contact me I have more information to share about this case. Please give me a phone number to contact you.
      I am totally sick since I saw and read this article. A lot of information that I have matches this story.


      • Connor Bryant

        Hi my name is Connor, look Margie Huffman was my great grandma and that was his sister our family never knew what happened to him we just some weird things happened and my family never saw them again.


        • Misty Dixon

          I believe we are related… I am Misty Dixon, the grand daughter to the Tom Dixon in this episode. Shirley was my grandmother, and Tom Dixon Jr is my dad… please get a hold of me.


  12. Anonymous

    How can the police department say it wasn’t foul play when they pulled Gary’s car out of the river..the lack of police investigation caused this man’s killer to get away with it. There was enough information back in1975 to check into Gary’s disappearance. For shame. If it wasn’t for that man’s haunch nobody would have ever find Gary’s remains….rest in peace….


  13. Anonymous

    I know of a man named Tom Dixon who would now be approximately 62 years of age. I don’t know where he is located at this time but I have an e-mail that was sent from him. I don’t have any reason to believe it is the same Tom Dixon you are seeking, but he has the same name and I could not live with the thought that it is the same Tom Dixon I once knew.


leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.