If you look about on the internet you will find much chatter about this young man who disappeared in 2015.
In brief Caleb Diehl was a bright, lively, 18 year old who went out one night to meet friends. This was on 30th March 2015. He lived with his oldest sister in Grapevine, but that night he was back at the family home in Nocona. He was driving a borrowed pick up truck as his was under repair. The truck was owned by a family friend, Ricky Dale Howard.
Howard was 53 years old. The two families had vacationed together and their kids had all got on fine. Caleb worked for Howard who had many properties and had interests in cattle farming. So him driving a vehicle owned by Howard was normal enough.
The issue is Caleb didn’t have any friends to visit that night and has not been seen since. The pick up was discovered parked where it should have been in a garage owned by Howard. According to True Crime Daily $300 was zip tied to the steering wheel and a key to the garage was on the passenger seat. The other key was in the possession of Howard. The building was secure as the padlock was in place so presumably Howard had locked up last.
Cops were informed and gave the place a good look over. Howard agreed to the search of his property. They found burnt out computers in a fire pit. Howard said they were ones that had been owned by his dead parents. I mean there is no suspicion there. After all don’t we all torch old computers? It is so old fashioned to simply take out the hard drive and drill a hole in it.
The funny thing was that given Howard was a business man there were no other computers seen on the property. In a later article a reporter says there were, but I saw the lead investigator say none were found on the first search.
Howard stated that Caleb had said he was off to see a girlfriend. None was ever identified. His mobile phone went dead that night. Howard, by coincidence I am sure, said he had found a smashed one on the floor of the garage while cleaning. He threw it away.
I would do that. In a place I have control of. A place where I know everyone who might drop a phone and smash it. I wouldn’t ask about to find out who it belonged to. I would just throw it out! Of course I wouldn’t, neither would you. It is almost tiring how much nonsense the like of Howard come out with.
However daft Howards explanations about computers and smashed phones are there was no proof of anything else.
Howard did get into trouble though. He was a felon, a few years before he had got out of prison after serving two years for bank fraud. As a felon he should not have had the guns the cops found. He was sent away for five years.
Just recently Howard has been sentenced to 30 years for sexual assaults going back into the 1990s. In the end pornographic images of under age boys were found. Witnesses who had worked for the creature had come forward. They told of assaults on them when they worked for Howard as Caleb had. The awful thing for the Diehl family is that there were pictures of Caleb among the evidence.
To heap agony upon agony for those that loved Caleb, his mother found more. While doing a deep clean of the house years later she came across a plastic bag. In the bag was an alarm clock with a hidden camera and recordings of Howard practising how to dupe polygraph tests. It turns out that Howard had been mandated to a series of checks following a run in with the law in the early 2000s. Part of these checks were polygraph tests to check he was not interfering with young teens.
What The Tragedy Of This Family Could Tell Us.
Life with a house full of kids is chaotic I do know. As they become semi independent we can lose track of them and even more likely we lose track of the world as it affects them. In this case the families, Howard and Diehl were close at one point. There was nothing to indicate that the abuse Caleb suffered would have been obvious.
Perhaps we should not just talk to our kids about the threat of abuse when they are little.
Maybe even when they are 14, 15 and such we should sit them down and say something like:
Look I’ll make this brief. I know you can mostly take care of yourself but I’m your parent. It is my job to worry. If anyone ever does anything to you. No matter who they are, you can come and tell me. No matter what it is I will be in your corner. No threat they make can hurt you or me or anything you care about. If they tell you to keep it a secret you tell them you will. Then you tell me and I will sort it out.
If you get push back, I suggest showing them this story. Mrs Diehl believes her boy was trying to get evidence together to sort this inadequate low life called Howard. It might well be what led to him vanishing. The leverage creatures like Howard use vary don’t they? They will say that they will pass around pictures of their victims to friends and family. These pictures would be intimate and highly embarrassing. They threaten to hurt family, friends and even pets. So long as your kids know that none of that matters to you and that they can tell you anything you will have done all you can.
Last thing, my suggestion is no reflection on the Diehl family. I gave my little speech to my kids when they were young. I didn’t think to update it for when they might have come across things later. I was lucky and I have nothing but the best thoughts towards them for their loss.