Details of Disappearance
Thomas originally disappeared along with his mother, Angela Mack
, from Salem, Arkansas in 2002. They left riding a late model dark gray or blue Chevrolet or GMC extended cab pickup truck with Missouri license plates.
Following her departure from Arkansas, later in the fall of 2002, Angela left Thomas in the care of an Alton, Missouri couple, Clarence and Barbara Krusen. The Krusens claimed they were going to adopt Thomas, but there were also reports that Angela had sold her son to them.
After leaving Thomas in their care, Angela traveled to Chowchilla, California. She spent some time there, and was there when she spoke last spoke to her mother in December 2002. She told her mother she was going back to Missouri to get her son back from the Krusens. Someone picked her up at the bus station in Springfield, Missouri and took her to the residence where Thomas was staying. Angela has not been seen since, and Thomas disappeared also. For unclear reasons, their disappearances were not reported until August 2004, nearly two years later.
Authorities did not learn about the proposed adoption by the Krusens until October 2020, sixteen years after the missing persons reports were filed. By this time, Clarence was dead. He was shot to death by another man in Laredo, Texas in 2012. Barbara is still alive.
When interviewed, Barbara told police that she and her husband had had a lawyer draw up papers so they could adopt Thomas, and Angela had signed the papers before she went to California. After Angela changed her mind and wanted her son back, the Krusens were angry about it. Barbara stated that she and her husband picked up Angela at the bus station and took her back to their home in Alton, and the next day both Angela and Thomas were gone. Clarence told Barbara that someone had come and picked them up, but Barbara said she hadn't heard a vehicle come or leave the previous night or in the morning.
Barbara was given a polygraph, which she reportedly failed. After her polygraph exam, she stated Clarence had killed both Angela and Thomas and destroyed their bodies in a furnace on the farmhouse. Later, when the Krusens moved away from the farm, Clarence told her they had to get rid of the furnace because of what it had been used for.
Angela was married at the time of her disappearance, but she was in a relationship with another man, Matthew Niederbach. They have one son together, who was left behind when Angela and Thomas disappeared. Both Angela's husband and Niederbach live in Salem. Thomas is Angela's son by a previous relationship; his biological father died in Idaho in 2019.
Investigators believe Barbara's statement is accurate, and that Angela and Thomas were both murdered by Clarence Krusen. Their bodies have never been found, however.