Details of Disappearance
Thomason was last seen in Rendon, Texas on December 27, 1991, when his daughter and grandchildren visited and he gave them Christmas presents. His six adult children became suspicious in the spring of 1992 after they realized they hadn't actually spoken to their father in months, although his wife, Amanda Gladys Crawford, passed on messages that were supposedly from him.
Thomason had a troubled life prior to his disappearance, and many enemies. He lied about his age to enlist in the Marines and served in World War II and then in the Korean War. His first marriage was volatile and, in 1966, Thomason shot his wife's lover to death.
He was not indicted in that incident, and his marriage survived until 1972, when he and his first wife divorced. They reconciled and remarried three months later, but divorced for a second time a year after that.
Thomason married and divorced three other women, then got married to Crawford in 1989. Although they'd lived together for years before the marriage, his children didn't know very much about her. He told his children he thought Crawford was trying to poison him, but they didn't take his claims seriously.
He seemed to deteriorate prior to his disappearance; he used to keep his house and personal appearance neat and clean, but his children noticed his clothes were soiled and the house was dirty and smelly.
In addition to his pension and Social Security payments, Thomason owned a trailer park and collected income from the rental properties. His children stated he occasionally got arrested after he got into fights with tenants who were behind on their rent. He hadn't had any trouble with law enforcement for years prior to his disappearance, however.
Crawford provided various explanations to Thomason's children about his whereabouts, at one point saying he faked his own death and was in Mexico waiting until he could collect his life insurance, and other times claiming he was dying of AIDS. She never produced any medical records to support that statement. She told one of his sons that Thomason had left him a boat in his will, and suggested he come and get it.
On June 9, 1992, suspicious of Crawford's stories and believing her father could have been murdered, one of Thomason's daughters reported him missing.
In September, Crawford gave the police a letter she said Thomason had written her from Oklahoma, as proof that he was alive and had left of his own accord. Two days later, she told investigators she'd met with him in Oklahoma City, and had gotten additional letters from him. Authorities had the handwriting analyzed and decided the letters had in fact been written by Thomason, and closed the case.
Thomason and his ex-wife sold their jointly-owned home in July 1992. She never actually saw him during the transaction, but his signature appeared on the required documents. Real estate brokers said Crawford had power of attorney for her husband and his presence wasn't necessary for the sale as long as she was there. Thomason also transferred the title of his house to Crawford's name.
In 1993, Thomason's driver's license was renewed by mail, and in 1995 he had his Marine Corps pension sent to a different bank account. However, his signature wasn't on the account, and only Crawford and her daughter were allowed to withdraw money.
Around that same time, Crawford told Thomason's attorney she hadn't seen him in a long time, and she told a neighbor he'd been murdered and his body dismembered and thrown in a septic tank. Crawford's daughter had made similar statements in 1992, but later claimed she had just been joking.
In 1996, Thomason's children found out Crawford was taking their father's pension and went to the police, asking them to start an investigation into possible fraud and reopen the investigation into their father's disappearance.
The police did so, and Crawford contacted them to say she'd last seen Thomason in September 1995 and that he filed for divorce at that time. When they checked, however, they discovered it was Crawford who filed for divorce, in May 1996, and she wrote in court documents that she couldn't locate her husband.
Authorities located the notary who signed the transfer papers of Thomason's home in the early 1990s; she admitted Thomason hadn't been present when she notarized the forms, but said she recognized his handwriting in the signatures. The police found the 1993 form that gave Thomason's power attorney to Crawford and had the signature analyzed; the analysis concluded his signature had been traced.
Police determined Crawford had collected over $25,000 of Thomason's pension payments, and they believed he was dead and she was concealing that fact in order to keep receiving benefits. However, there was insufficient evidence to charge her with any crimes.
Although Crawford maintains her husband left of his own accord, both his children and law enforcement believe he met with foul play. He has been declared legally dead. His case remains unsolved.