Details of Disappearance
Thomas was last seen in Summerland Key, Florida on July 25, 1995, his youngest daughter's birthday. He was planning on taking a vacation with his wife, Bernie, and their two daughters, Bonnie and Sally, and on the morning of his disappearance drove his van to the gas station and the post office in preparation for the trip.
At 4:30 p.m., Bonnie called Thomas's mother, Rose Stump, to say she thought Thomas had committed suicide in the woods. Bernie allegedly told Rose that she had asked Thomas for a divorce, but she later denied having made that statement.
Bernie called the Hertz car rental agency and asked for a new set of keys for the car she and Thomas had rented. She said the previous set had gotten lost because Thomas had gone out into the ocean and drowned himself.
Prior to his disappearance, Thomas had suspected Bernie of having an affair with a prominent local radio personality, Bill Becker. He had confided about his marital problems to his brother.
Becker moved into the Stump residence a few weeks after Thomas's disappearance. Thomas was declared legally dead in 2000, after which time Bernie married Becker. He is her third husband.
Thomas is a gun collector and Bernie says he had hidden several guns in the woods near their home, but she didn't know exactly where.
Sally claims Thomas drove away in a car, but none of the Stump family cars were missing. Bonnie says he committed suicide. Both Bernie and Becker have passed polygraph tests in connection with Thomas's disappearance.
The families of Stump and Diana Harris
, who disappeared from the Florida Keys in 1981, believe their cases may be connected. Police apparently interviewed several of the same people in connection with both disappearances, but a link between Harris and Stump has not been conclusively established.
Thomas's mother believes her son did not commit suicide. She thinks he probably met with foul play. She describes him as a devoted father and a hard worker who would never leave his children even if his marriage was troubled. Thomas's disappearance remains unsolved.