Gene Autry Derringer

Derringer, circa 1996; Joseph Nowicki

  • Missing Since 01/20/1996
  • Missing From Greenwood, Indiana
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 12/30/1940 (78)
  • Age 55 years old
  • Height and Weight Unknown
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A flannel or denim shirt and blue jeans.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Derringer's blood type is O-positive.

Details of Disappearance

Derringer was last seen in Greenwood, Indiana on January 20, 1996. He was with a friend and coworker, Joseph Nowicki, on the day of his disappearance.

Nowicki stated DerringerĀ either bought or was loaned a dark-colored Chevrolet pickup truck that day. Nowicki drove him to a Beech Grove, Indiana residence to pick up the truck, and then followed him in his vehicle as Derringer drove the truck back to his home in the 400 block of south Peterman Road in Greenwood

The last time Nowicki saw Derringer, he was sitting in the passenger side of the truck with an unidentified woman in the driver's seat. Derringer was drunk at the time and was cursing. He has never been heard from again.

The woman Derringer was with has never been identified. Nowicki described her as Caucasian, between thirty and forty years old, with eyeglasses. He couldn't remember the Beech Grove address where Derringer had gotten the keys to the pickup truck, but gave a general area where the house was. Police canvassed that area, but didn't find anyone who had seen Derringer or could identify the truck.

On January 28, after multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact Derringer, one of his four sons broke into his home in the 400 block of south Peterman Road in White River Township and found it deserted. His son called the police, who searched the house.

They found a bullet in the wall behind Derringer's bed, bloodstains on the bedroom walls, and blood on the the mattress, which had been flipped to hide the stains. The blood Derringer's type. His vehicles were all accounted for, but two handguns were missing from the residence. On January 30, Derringer's driver's license was near a potato chip stand at the Pilot Gas Station at Interstate 65 and Harding Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In 2000, one of Derringer's sons was shot to death near a subway station in Washington D.C. Investigators believe the murder was a botched robbery and unrelated to Derringer's disappearance.

A photo of Nowicki is posted with this case summary. Curiously, he is also linked to Brookley Louks, who went missing from Greenwood in 2002 and was never found. He knew Louks, and authorities found her blood at his workshop after her disappearance. He had an extensive criminal history that dated back to his teen years, and included convictions for murder, robbery, and rape.

After Louks went missing, investigators stated they were looking into Nowicki as a possible suspect in Derringer's case as well, but that they had other, more likely suspects. He is the prime suspect in Louks's disappearance, and authorities were planning to charge him with her murder, but he died in 2003, before charges were filed.

Foul play is suspected in Derringer's case, which remains unsolved. He was divorced, lived alone and wasn't dating anyone at the time of his disappearance, and his sons stated he rarely spent the night away from home. He worked as a maintenance employee for Southport High School. One of his surviving sons had him declared legally dead in 2002.

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated July 20, 2019; casefile added.