Details of Disappearance
Timmy was last seen in Van Buren, Indiana on the morning of March 8, 2004. He worked as an over-the-road truck driver for J.R. Schugel Trucking at the time of his disappearance. On March 9, the J.R. Schugel Trucking got a satellite text message, supposedly from Hawkins, saying: "I sorry but I quit your truck is Indiana at I69 at Exit 19 by Subway Tim."
On March 10, Timmy's truck was found abandoned at a Subway restaurant in Pendleton, Indiana, near the Indiana 38/Interstate 69 interchange. This was more than 40 miles from Gas City, Indiana, where Timmy lived. The driver's side window was broken, the truck was unlocked, and the interior appeared to be clean.
A closer examination of the truck, however, revealed that there were marks of something being dragged across the floor of the cab. The mattress inside the truck had parts cut out of it and there were bloodstains on the curtain behind the driver's seat and around the base of the driver's seat. There was a 9-millimeter bullet casing in the dashboard. Diesel fuel was also present in the cab of the truck.
Six months after Timmy was last seen, his ex-wife, Joyce Ann Hawkins, told police she'd accidentally shot Timmy in his truck in rural Grant County, Indiana the day he was last seen. She was in jail on unrelated charges at the time of her confession.
Although Timmy and Joyce had been divorced for three years, they were still living together in Gas City when Timmy disappeared. Their relationship was troubled, and police had been called many times in response to domestic disturbances, including three times in February 2004. During the months prior to Timmy's disappearance, Joyce told a friend and Timmy's mother that she planned to kill him.
Joyce stated she had burned Timmy's body over a period of three to four days on some property she and Timmy owned. She lead police to the spot, but they couldn't find any evidence there. Joyce stated she threw the gun into a river; police searched the river twice but never found it. She admitted she cleaned the truck with hydrogen peroxide, abandoned it in the Subway parking lot and sent the text to Timmy's boss.
In addition to her confession, Joyce wrote about the crime in letters addressed to the minister Billy Graham and the advice column Dear Abby. In her letter to Dear Abby she wrote, "I know what I did, I will never get out." She also wrote a letter to her sons, apologizing for what happened and saying she didn't think the courts would believe her self-defense claim.
Joyce was charged with murder. She was found guilty at trial in February 2007 and sentenced to sixty years in prison. Timmy's body has never been found.