Thomas D. Novak

Thomas, circa 1958

  • Missing Since 07/25/1958
  • Missing From Park Valley, Utah
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 05/22/1946 (77)
  • Age 12 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0 - 5'9, 90 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A tan shirt and blue jeans, and possibly a straw Western-style hat. Possibly carrying old and rusted .22 rifle and a bundle of cattails about eighteen inches long with cut ends.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, blue eyes. Thomas's nickname is Tommy. He walks with a shuffle and has a few scars on his scalp that may be visible through his hair.

Details of Disappearance

Thomas was last seen at the Lawrence Carter Ranch in Park Valley, Utah at 10:00 p.m. on July 25, 1958. He was preparing for bed at the time, unlacing his shoes to take them off. He is believed to have left the ranch on foot, as no vehicles or horses were found to be missing. He didn't take any extra clothing or food with him.

He may have been en route to the town of Fernley, Nevada or to the state of Idaho. He had run away from home five times before, but would never stay gone for very long. As a result of his runaway history, he was not reported missing until July 29.

On August 4, a boy matching Thomas's description and wearing clothes similar to the ones he was last seen wearing was sighted in the stockyard and later the rail yard in Ogden, Utah. In addition to the tan shirt and blue jeans, he was wearing a straw Western-type hat, and he carried an old and rusted .22 rifle and a bundle of cattails about eighteen inches long with cut ends. He said he was going to Wells, Nevada.

People on the Wells-bound train reported seeing this boy sitting on a flat gondola car later on. He reportedly jumped from the train about a mile outside of Wells and begun walking towards the nearest road. No one in Wells itself is reported to have seen him. Extensive searches of the Park Valley area, which was remote and rugged desert, turned up no indication of Thomas's whereabouts and he was never seen again.

Thomas had moved to Utah with his parents and younger brother a year before his disappearance; they had previously lived in Nevada. His parents worked as migrant farm laborers at the Lawrence Carter Ranch. By 1960, they were living in Arkansas.

Thomas had an interest in trucks and was known to stow away in large trucks and to hitchhike. There has been no sign of him since 1958.

Investigating Agency

  • Box Elder County Sheriff's Office 435-734-3800

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated August 25, 2023; casefile added.