Details of Disappearance Diehl was last seen in Nocona, Texas on March 30, 2015. He lived with his sister in Grapevine, Texas, but at the time of his disappearance he was visiting his mother in Nocona and had a part-time job there. His own vehicle was in the repair shop, so Diehl borrowed a pickup truck from his employer, Ricky Dale Howard, to go to another job. Howard was also a good friend of Diehl's family. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
Diehl never returned to his mother's home that night. The truck he was driving was found abandoned at Howard's home two days after his disappearance, with its keys hanging on their usual hook. Authorities aren't sure how it got there. Since his disappearance, Diehl hasn't used his cellular phone or his social media accounts. He didn't take any belongings with him.
Howard has a prior criminal record for bank fraud and aiding and abetting; he was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 46 months in federal prison. In May 2015, he was arrested on weapons charges. He gave police investigating Diehl's disappearance permission to search his property, and they found several guns, which as a convicted felon he wasn't allowed to possess.
In 2016, he was charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child after two boys came forward and said Howard had sexually abused them during the 1990s. One alleged victim stated Howard began abusing him in 1996, when he was thirteen years old, and the assaults continued for four years; he estimated that he was abused about 500 times. Another alleged victim said Howard had abused him in 1994, when he was twelve.
Howard pleaded guilty to the firearms charges in July 2016 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He is still awaiting trial in the sexual assault cases, which aren't connected to Diehl's disappearance. Authorities aren't sure what happened to Diehl, but foul play has not been ruled out and they think it's possible Howard was involved in his disappearance.
He was a high school senior at the time of his disappearance, and planned to move to California or Colorado after graduation. His loved ones stated he was close to his family and it's uncharacteristic of him to leave without warning. His case remains unsolved.
- Nocona Police Department
- Montague County Sheriff's Office
Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 3, 2017; details of disappearance updated.