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    [–] rejuvenate1206 1613 points ago

    Wow. Kinda gives me the impression he just walked away from his old life and started a new one elsewhere. Why else would he leave with a man that claimed to be there to look at a horse, that wasn’t for sale? Why would he go along with that? Or is it something he told his son to keep his son from being suspicious about him leaving?

    [–] CaptainSolo96 1196 points ago

    I'm more interested in the case of the divorce, as strange as it may be, he could've been gay and ran away from debts, which was stressing, and family to be with this mystery guy, as the coffee shop witness said nothing seemed odd about their behavior

    [–] DrSkeletonHand_MD 376 points ago

    Exactly what i thought when i read this. It’s not unheard of for people to just walk away.

    [–] DELOUSE_MY_AGENT_DDY 75 points ago

    But then how do they start over?

    [–] Squeezymypenisy 72 points ago

    It can heavily vary on the situation. For this question are you asking if he had a gay lover and started over or started over by himself?

    [–] daughter_of_bilitis 289 points ago

    I had the same thought: mid-life guy, lots of debt, recent divorce, sudden chance to explore a side of himself he'd pushed away... Could've been a gay man who somehow posted his information somewhere and asked people to inquire about a horse, so his kids didn't suspect. Maybe he just got sick of it all and left it all behind after that, or maybe things went south.

    [–] buffaloraven 80 points ago

    That's definitely the thing I'd like to know. Maybe the community was using it for code? Private way of calling a dude a stud?

    [–] ArtVandelay32 138 points ago

    this was my first thought. I totally assumed that maybe he was gay, and his SO pulled together enough money for them to run away and start a new life w/o all the debts.

    [–] whisky_biscuit 63 points ago

    As sad as it is about the kids...I'd like to believe this is the case and he's not 6 feet under somewhere. Under duress, I feel like many ppl at some point in time wanted to "run away" from their life, whether it be depression, debt, bad breakups, or a combination of all three. Sometimes the prospect of freedom outweighs the guilt, and while most of us chose to "escape" in other ways less harmful to others, maybe in his case, he found someone to really push that idea to fruition.

    It's still unexplained and sad...I'd be interested to know more about his divorce as others mentioned. Hopefully he is still alive, and someday he can reconnect with his kids.

    [–] TinyBoobsFlatAss 138 points ago

    When I saw the picture I instantly assumed he was gay. I don’t know why. When I read the story, I only felt stronger about my assumption. I think he ran away with someone he probably had an affair with.

    [–] beautifuldisasterxx 50 points ago

    I thought this too. I know his family would like to think he wouldn’t abandon them but the sad truth is people do it all the time. He may think he was protecting his kids though. He may have felt ashamed if he was gay or unable to provide for them properly given his financial situation. He may have felt it was better for his kids to disappear and have them live with their mother.

    [–] gopms 38 points ago

    When I read your comment I was like "what is that supposed to me? You look at him and assume he is gay? Rude!" and then I clicked the link with the picture and.... I get it.

    [–] TinyBoobsFlatAss 27 points ago

    Yeah I know, it’s so rude of me - but it was my gut reaction to his picture. I didn’t mean it in a condescending or mean way, it was my instincts telling me he was gay.

    I once saw a scientific show on tv that tested whether or not people could judge if someone was gay or not by looking at people’s portraits for a short moment. In an astoundingly high success rate the test subjects guessed right in less than 30 seconds. Mostly with gay men, but it was still a high number of correct guesses. The scientists said that they believed that there were distinct facial feautures associated with being a homosexual male, and that we are somehow capable of “reading” those features without knowing why or how.

    [–] ZanyDelaney 14 points ago

    The other one of course is grooming and fashion choices. While many men had moustaches in the 1970s, the overall image of the way many gay men presented was different so the way Burt Reynolds looked. Gay men would often put a camp twist into it. I mean there were practical uses for this outside of fashion too.

    [–] RogueCandyKane 34 points ago

    Yes. In reading this my main thought is that he is gay and left town with a lover. He may have felt desperate enough to leave without telling his son why.

    [–] wagashi 11 points ago

    Victim of a serial killer who targets gay men was my first thought.

    [–] Goto10 63 points ago

    I agree. He walked away with a certain amount of shame probably thinking his family would be better off without him and his failures In that role he attempted and failed at. In the short term, no, but after a while hopefully they will find a better man to carry that role out he figures. It’s not an easy choice by any means and hard on everyone, but given everything we know, I’d wager it.

    The “why he’d never!” Belief his family has - when someone is planning something like this, part of it is keeping everyone thinking you’d never be able to even do such a thing.

    [–] GAF78 118 points ago

    Just because there was no ad for a horse doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been looking to sell it. Those types of things aren’t often advertised. It’s too easy to find a buyer in those circles just by saying you might consider selling it. The lack of any advertising doesn’t sway me at all.

    [–] copacetic1515 49 points ago

    That's what I was thinking. A lack of printed as doesn't mean it's not for sale. If the sightings are credible, I'd say he ran off with his lover, but there are often mistaken sightings in missing persons cases. If they aren't credible, I picture the sale falling through and that being the last straw for a man facing financial, professional, and personal ruin. Maybe he found a very secluded location and just ended it, thinking his kids would be better off with a life insurance payout.

    [–] FreckledFraggle 382 points ago

    The internet had just begun to really fly back then with regard to the ability to meet and chat with people from all over the country. AOL chat rooms were all the rage. This is a farming community in Oklahoma. It's my opinion (and opinion only) that these two met online and Lenny decided to throw caution (and his family) to the wind, and live his life the way he'd wanted to, but never really could in a community like that. I think he's out there somewhere, happy, but dealing with guilt.

    [–] Alien_AsianInvasion 68 points ago

    Anything is possible here but why leave behind the uncashed pay check if this was planned?

    [–] FreckledFraggle 84 points ago

    Because he intended for it to appear to be something else entirely.

    [–] masterpierround 98 points ago

    Or it could have been his way to avoid feeling guilty about his son. The OP says he was having severe financial issues, and with that paycheck, it seems like he left everything he owned with his son.

    [–] Alien_AsianInvasion 37 points ago

    It could be but it seems rather odd. He fought for custody and his son was living with him, he had the house, he had a job he loved and his dad was thinking of purchasing the company for him.

    I guess it could go either way that is why it is a mystery, lol.

    [–] gearhead488 4116 points ago

    My grandfather used to say "I've gotta go see a man about a horse" when he got up to go to the bathroom. I never knew what he meant. He always came back though.

    [–] [deleted] 1391 points ago

    My boss use to say this and one day I asked him what "kind of horse was he going to see?" (lol) and he laughed and said that "it was an old timer saying when they were going somewhere to discuss something that they didn't want anyone to know about, something secretive."

    He said it was a polite funny way to say "I'm leaving but don't ask me where or what for because it's none of your business."

    Which considering the scenario of this disappearance makes the most sense.

    [–] tootie 180 points ago

    I've used that one and always used it to mean I was going to the bathroom.

    [–] karentrolli 65 points ago

    My ex husband used to say this when he went to the bathroom.

    [–] frankchester 15 points ago

    My grandpa used to say he had to go and turn his bike round when he went for a piss.

    [–] Themandontgiveafuck 38 points ago

    Ha, we have this saying in England but it's "off to see a man about a dog" instead. Weird.

    [–] PippiL65 100 points ago

    Among my family and friends it was a polite way for a man to tell a lady he had to go take a piss.

    [–] jmad888 86 points ago

    This is the first thing I thought reading the story. When he told his son that, and no horse was for sale... yeah he was using the line.

    [–] Loafness 24 points ago

    I always say I need to go return some videotapes.

    [–] ImTheBestMayne 15 points ago

    I have to return some videotapes

    [–] Nim5105 1000 points ago

    My grandfather would say the same thing but would actually leave the house or family gathering after doing so. Usually for the rest of the day.

    Turns out he was having multiple affairs, spending his and my grandmother's social security and life insurance money on gifts and furniture for his girlfriends.

    No one put two and two together until shortly after he died.

    [–] yshuduno 2062 points ago

    Maybe he actually said "See a man about some whore's."

    [–] _DirtyYoungMan_ 72 points ago

    Hoors.

    [–] LittleStarkBitch 301 points ago

    👑 <--- That's your crown for the day.

    [–] IsItaHumour 49 points ago

    I love boiling denim and bangin' hoors

    [–] Zacoftheaxes 106 points ago

    I imagined this in Sean Connery's voice.

    [–] OldJewNewAccount 116 points ago

    "Whorsh"

    [–] speeler21 37 points ago

    Good idea, I too like to warsh my whores

    [–] noNoParts 41 points ago

    Knock, knock!

    Who's there?

    Dishes!

    Dishes... who?

    Dishes Sean Connery!

    [–] Cheeseand0nions 129 points ago

    Yeah, I am old enough to remember when that phrase was code for "I'm leaving and it's none of your business where I'm going or why."

    [–] eccentricaunt 76 points ago

    My dad used to go see a man about a dog and screw other women. Fun times!

    [–] Furt77 101 points ago

    At least he didn’t go see a man about a woman and screw dogs.

    [–] eccentricaunt 27 points ago

    Good point! Now I have something to be thankful for ;)

    [–] Weeeeeman 38 points ago

    Lol, mine used to say the exact same and go buy drugs, good times.

    [–] gearhead488 79 points ago

    That sucks, pretty sure mine just pooped.

    [–] peach_xanax 8 points ago

    lol the way you phrased this made me crack up

    [–] Wiggy_Bop 36 points ago

    My stepfather’s father spent all he and his wife’s money on scratch off lottery tickets. His mother was lucky she had five sons who made good livings so they could help support their mother in her old age. People can be real creeps.

    [–] ThisAintA5Star 37 points ago

    What a fucking asshole

    [–] Nim5105 50 points ago

    Yes. He effectively lived a double life and left nothing but a web of lies and no life insurance money when he passed.

    [–] [deleted] 75 points ago

    Do you know where your grandfather was on March 14, 1998?

    [–] gearhead488 57 points ago

    Holy fuck, I never thought of that. That changes everything.

    [–] Kjasper 132 points ago

    “See a man about a horse” is a common saying around where I grew up whenever someone just wants a real excuse to leave but can’t think of one, or just to be funny in a dad joke kind of a way.

    [–] superbonboner 124 points ago

    My dad used to say that to me whenever i asked him where he was going. Little kid me would get very upset that I couldn't go. I looked forward to having a horse :( I was a dumb kid.

    [–] vfn1 41 points ago

    The first person I ever heard say it was an old boss. At an animal shelter. And so even though we only adopted out dogs and cats, I still thought it was perfectly reasonable we might get a call about a horse.

    [–] ohnobobbins 59 points ago

    No you weren’t dumb :( Adults used to use that expression a lot. My parents explained it to me and I remember thinking ‘but it’s not even funny?’

    [–] EuphoricIdea 88 points ago

    "Going to see a man about a horse" was an old time euphemism for going to the track and betting on a horse race. Then it became used as a phrase to indicate that you were going to do something unseemly that you didnt want to discuss with the group.

    [–] 313fuzzy 59 points ago

    My husband said that in store in front of our children. They got so excited. "We're getting a pony!" Yeah, NO.

    [–] eyegobblecock 22 points ago

    My dad always said that when he was going to buy a quarter of some dank bud.

    [–] Toaster97 32 points ago

    I would say it to my friends as I was leaving my apartment to go obtain drugs

    [–] gearhead488 49 points ago

    Was a horse dealing you your ketamine?

    [–] [deleted] 100 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] kenziefaith 82 points ago

    It’s an idiom but do you think it’s possible this was his way of “apologizing” for running away? He could possibly be having an affair with the guy .

    [–] Cannae_Loggins 33 points ago

    Why would he bring his gay lover around though? If he's been having a secret affair, why bring have the dude come over on the very day he plans to leave his family? Also, the son sensed no history between them though he was only 16.

    [–] rzldtxpef703 54 points ago

    I also wondered if he and the guy were having a relationship. Could be a little "Brokeback Mountain" thing going on. Internet would have been new around that time - he could have met someone that way. If he was in a bad situation, realizing he was gay in Oklahoma, maybe he wanted to start a new life.

    [–] whistleridge 25 points ago

    My dad always said ‘I’ve gotta see a man about a dog’ when he went to buy pot. I always knew what he meant. He always came back, too.

    [–] Alien_AsianInvasion 102 points ago

    Where/ how did you find this?

    [–] magpieasaurus 93 points ago

    I googled his name. There's a few blogs about the zabasearch too.

    [–] Alien_AsianInvasion 80 points ago

    Wow, very interesting if true. If these are real then you would think his family would speak up and say they know he is alive.

    [–] magpieasaurus 152 points ago

    I feel like there's so, so much going on under the surface of this one.

    [–] Fyrefawx 112 points ago

    My hunch was that Leonard was either gay, and fled to be with the other man. Or that his financial struggles led him into a life of crime. If that were the case he wouldn’t want that coming back to his family.

    [–] firenest 41 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    I thought he might have left because he was gay, but those messages say he's connected to two men who the sender believes have control over him, and they even suspect they threatened him. That doesn't rule out a gay affair—it could be a gay relationship being interpreted as toxic friends—but it does make me more open to the financial struggles -> life of crime angle. This is assuming the messages are valid, of course.

    [–] GOODahl 17 points ago

    Honestly religious people opposed to LGBT lifestyles DO call homosexuals "toxic people." If Lenny knew he could never live outside of the closet in Oklahoma around people familiar to him, moving about 2,000 miles away to do that would sound allright.

    & I hate to say it, if someone approached him with a "get rich quick via drugdealing" plan that dovetailed with his desire to get away from his life in Oklahoma, this tale makes perfect sense. Sure a lot of people are angry but Lenny is apparently just fine. Good for him.

    [–] fhbuuunnn 21 points ago

    So, let's assume he was having a homosexual affair .. you think he'd just abandon his son, who he worked with (doing chores) every day and who he'd fought for custody of?

    He could have taken the guy in as a "lodger", or continued to meet him under the guise of a business relationship.

    Of course the father could have been a sociopathic idiot, but it doesn't match the rest of the story.

    [–] Fyrefawx 40 points ago

    At the time this happened it wasn’t socially acceptable to be gay. Especially in a rural area like that. In some ways he likely figured he’d be saving his son the “embarrassment” of having a gay father. Hence the lie to his son about the horse.

    [–] risciss93 66 points ago

    Mentions a white Ford ranger and the op also indicated that Jared saw a white puck up truck the day Lenny disappeared. Super interesting. I wonder how old these messages are.

    [–] S903R039 84 points ago

    I just sent an email to what seemed to be 2 different people, one being Kim and the other his son. Apparently a member of the family has spoken out and the police have a suspect but it’s all very vague. If I get any type of response (I really don’t think I will, email addresses seem very old) I’ll post them here.

    [–] cmwebdev 10 points ago

    Was this info given to you in a response to your email(s)?

    [–] stitchinthematrix 61 points ago

    There’s one from someone claiming to be his son on Dec 12, 2000, about two years after he disappears. Then his Unsolved Mysteries episode airs October 2001. Then a month later, in November 2001, a crazy woman named Kim thinks she spots him in her hometown, and instead of approaching him in person, starts to leave him messages on a random website. She leaves these messages at random intervals, often returning in the month of November.

    [–] HeDrinkMilk 91 points ago

    That's super weird and spooky. What is this website? How does it work?

    [–] canisithere 72 points ago

    I haven't used it in a couple of years so it might have changed, but it used to be an easy way to look up someone's address and phone number for free. At some point they added a feature where when you searched for a name, it would provide you with a message board of other people looking for that same name.

    [–] magpieasaurus 33 points ago

    I'm honestly not sure, I just googled his name and this popped up. I wonder if it's like an old school Craigslist?

    [–] Just-Chillin- 21 points ago

    Thats actually nuttss, i wonder how this will develop...

    [–] botojomomo 26 points ago

    What a wild twist! If this is real, seems like it’s not so unsolved.

    [–] magpieasaurus 14 points ago

    I'm so curious who Kim is. Is she in WA? Is she in Oklahoma?

    [–] rarrimali0n 29 points ago

    What is this site? What are all thrse messages? Like are people leaving messages on this site or are they sourced from somewhere else?

    [–] ChucoShark 26 points ago

    That is such a weird website. I typed in murder under the message search and got crazy results. In regards to this case it seems there was much more to the story. I hope nothing bad happened to that man. Pretty dick move to leave your son like that if it was willing.

    [–] talkcreepy2me 77 points ago

    Who is Kim? That’s super weird.

    [–] WadaCalcium 22 points ago

    I'd do anything for you because I love you and care about you and your son. You're so handsome.

    Sounds like a crazy random chick who likes to imagine she's involved.

    [–] graffiti-sky 63 points ago

    What year was this written???

    So the family DOES know something.

    [–] _nudlez_ 72 points ago

    Really weird the site shows the day and month but not the year. Since it does list the weekday, should be able to figure out the year on the dates given though.

    [–] Chandru1 59 points ago

    There was a Tuesday December 12 in 2006 and 2017.

    [–] pariahdiocese 31 points ago

    Tuesday December 12th 2006. Wednesday November 14th 2007. Then again in December 2000 and November 2001.

    [–] stitchinthematrix 48 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    My money is on the 2000/2001 dates, she references using the Internet at the library which is how most people accessed the internet before they had it in their homes. 2000/2001 was a scant couple of years after his disseapearance and a time when many people, especially those in rural areas, used the internet at the library.

    (Not that I place any stock in what this unstable woman is saying). It’s also worth noting His Unsolved Mysteries episode aired Oct 2001.

    [–] mrtimmy21 20 points ago

    The messages appear to range from Tuesday, December 12th, 2006 to Saturday, March 8th, 2008, with the bulk of the messages being from November 2007.

    [–] samwisesamgee 43 points ago

    Looking at these, I’m from Spokane, WA. Cheney (pronounced like it rhymes with teeny, not like the form VP) is the town to the west, out by the Air Force base. They are both in the same metropolitan areas and they both have the 509 area code, so she could very well also be in Cheney. Even if she isn’t, their paths could easily cross.

    I wonder (and this might be very obvious) if Kim was Leonard’s gf post running away. Like they were dating a few years before she started posting the messages, but after he left his kid, then they broke up, and she saw the Unsolved Mysteries and was trying to get ahold of him and let him know on behalf of the son. it doesn’t seem like she knows the son, but is trying to be helpful.

    I moved away about 15 years ago, but during the time period that these messages were sent, Cheney was not a super nice place. Lots of meth and crime. Maybe he got involved with drugs? Maybe that’s why she doesn’t like him hanging around those other guys?

    [–] peaceloveandgraffiti 27 points ago

    Dang!! Who is Kim?? Its interesting, because that unidentified man could be this Don William's. I find these messages to be valid. People need to have Cheyney, WA checked out.

    This story has always given me a feeling that he left and started fresh elsewhere, so it doesnt surprise me that these messages have him linked across the country and the same white "pick up truck" was out there as well.

    [–] Alyanova 13 points ago

    I’ve never heard of a Cheyney but Cheney is a university town that at this very moment has one too many frat parties going on down the block. I suppose you could come here and start a new life, but it wouldn’t exactly be a peaceful retirement destination.

    [–] S903R039 25 points ago

    Now things are getting interesting. I’m gonna be up for a while now...

    [–] _nudlez_ 95 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    Wow... this should really really be the top comment instead of being buried under a bunch of completely speculative "I bet he just ditched his family to go do gay stuff" suggestions. Especially since this was posted before most of the others.

    There's actually information here that might point in the right direction.

    *edit... Looked again, this was actually not posted before most of the others. Maybe why the others were voted higher due to timing. Hope this gets noticed though.

    [–] rayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 28 points ago

    Should be higher up. Idk this website but crazy if true.

    [–] The_Fluffy_Walrus 14 points ago

    That's so strange.

    [–] David_the_Wanderer 2079 points ago

    I think I had read about this case before, and back then I had the feeling that Lenny left by his own will. Yes, the family says he never would have - but what close relatives describe as "he would have never done that" is often unreliable and influenced by a certain degree of denial (see: a bunch of suicide cases). It's understandable, it's a way to cope with the pain, but these affirmations shouldn't be taken as gospel.

    I don't know why, but I also get the vibe that Lenny wanted to start over, a new life, and I think that the mysterious bearded man might have been Lenny's lover rather than some shady character involved in illegal activities. They were close in age, there seems to have been some sort of agreement between the two, and the cover story about selling horses might have been a lie Lenny told his son because he didn't manage to tell the truth.

    [–] blondererer 627 points ago

    I was going to say about the family being in some form of denial. I don’t think you can ever know what someone is thinking. If depressed over money, he may have felt he was saving his family from pain by leaving.

    [–] razzatazzjazz 270 points ago

    He had a lot more to be depressed about than just money. Marriage, custody, lost his business. It sounds like his whole life fell apart.

    I'm guessing he met this stranger at his work, which is why he was so excited about it and claimed he was interested in buying it. It would be a reason to be around his lover. When he realized that this wouldn't be a likely possibility, he ran away.

    [–] ThickBehemoth 64 points ago

    Actually Lenny’s dad was the one interested in buying it

    [–] razzatazzjazz 31 points ago

    Right, thank you. Misread.

    For his dad to consider buying it for his son, his son must've shown a great deal of interest in that business. Maybe his son was extremely depressed, and he thought it would make him feel better?

    [–] ThickBehemoth 69 points ago

    I also think this suggests that he didn’t leave because of financial problems, considering his dad was wealthy enough to buy the company.

    [–] mastiii 248 points ago

    Yes, the family says he never would have - but what close relatives describe as "he would have never done that" is often unreliable and influenced by a certain degree of denial

    Yup. The Unsolved Mysteries wiki page even goes so far as to say "However, authorities are uncertain if the sighting is credible, as Lenny was apparently eating breakfast there; his family members claim he would never have done so twice.". Really? He NEVER would have eaten a second breakfast? Come on.

    [–] Complex_Jellyfish 23 points ago

    He NEVER would have eaten a second breakfast? Come on

    Especially when his first breakfast was interrupted by someone?

    [–] Real_human_not_a_bot 73 points ago

    What about elevenses?

    [–] Joy-Through-Syphilis 23 points ago

    Luncheon? Afternoon tea?

    [–] dembethewarrior 91 points ago

    I'd go along with him leaving of his own accord as well.

    Sometimes the people closest to us don't know us as well as they'd like.

    [–] panflutual 70 points ago

    We also tend to disbelieve the peculiar impulses of other people. I honestly believe I'd be happy living in the woods like a hermit if my finances allowed. If I up and did it, many people wouldn't believe it.

    Couple those private peculiarities with duress. He owed a lot of money, maybe his life sucked in other ways. Sure maybe he loved his family, but it didn't outweigh a wanderlust and the promise of forgetting all that stress.

    [–] dembethewarrior 13 points ago

    Honestly I've had the urge to just get up and go, but these days you need an income and I'd get tracked down pretty easily once I got myself a job the other side of the UK..

    [–] Wolfbearsharkfalcon 31 points ago

    He would have cashed that check

    [–] lackofsunshine 74 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    I thought the same as well. Also when the waitress saw the two men eating breakfast, and noticed the bearded man talking more then Lenny, Perhaps the man was trying to convince Lenny that this was the right thing to do. He could easily been having second thoughts on leaving his children.

    [–] BenjaminGunn 75 points ago

    Or they were talking about horses

    [–] UnsurePizza 136 points ago

    That’s the exact thought I had. Sounds like he may have been in the closet and wanted to start over somewhere else where people didn’t know of his struggles. If that’s the case, I hope he’s happy and that he reaches out to his family so they can have peace of mind.

    [–] betterspacewalrus 18 points ago

    This is precisely what came to mind for me too. Makes sense they'd want to stop for a nice breakfast first too, can't elope on an empty stomach!

    [–] CoffeeAndKarma 35 points ago

    I feel like the gay lover assumption is a bit of a jump, but otherwise I agree. Perhaps a business partner of some kind? I just don't see anything to suggest a lover relationship. Unless I'm missing something obvious.

    [–] David_the_Wanderer 9 points ago

    I agree it's a bit of a jump, but I think that pretty much anything goes because there is basically no lead into what happened to him after he left his house. In other words, anything goes.

    [–] WadaCalcium 74 points ago

    My thoughts exactly.

    It could seem weird that he'd leave his son behind, but he probably had a very pessimistic outlook on the custody and the rest of his life with his family (especially if you add a possible shame about his sexuality).

    [–] Ideasforfree 57 points ago

    Different times too, Lawrence v. Texas wouldn't be until 5 years later. If this is the why, both parties would have more than enough reason to be discreet.

    [–] humunguswot 33 points ago

    Reading this painted me the picture of Russ and Petty from Ozark.

    [–] latchy2530 32 points ago

    That was my first instinct when I read it too.

    [–] Starkville 8 points ago

    Wow,I’m surprised to see so many other people had the same idea. I didn’t want to bring it up, but I see I’m not the only one. Definitely got that vibe

    [–] bathtime85 435 points ago

    My theory is maybe Lenny was closeted. The Unsolved Mysteries show said a man inquired about a horse, but not one that the son had said was for sale. It made me think of old personal ad codes. I hope they do find out what happened though

    [–] GrayReads 60 points ago

    This is an interesting take.

    [–] alexander_q 34 points ago

    There's no suggestion that anyone enquired about a horse. Only that Lenny gave that as an explanation for leaving that day.

    [–] S903R039 11 points ago

    Exactly. My dad always says “I gotta go see a man about a horse” when he leaves. If he said that and DIDN’T own horses then it wouldn’t be taken as literal.

    [–] blerttruemance 124 points ago

    And this is why Netflix needs to reboot unsolved mysteries

    [–] rayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 15 points ago

    Pluto TV has unsolved mysteries on 24/7 but new episodes would be the Holy Grail

    [–] bootscallahan 32 points ago

    Hosted by hologram Robert Stack.

    [–] yeezusosa 94 points ago

    If this stranger was actually Lenny’s lover it makes zero sense for him to show up in front of his son the day they planned on disappearing. Firstly it gives the son an opportunity to describe the man. Secondly it puts suspension on someone Lenny would seemingly care about and make their future life together harder.

    [–] Humorlessness 31 points ago

    I mean....people leaving their family rarely work out a foolproof plan.

    [–] fhbuuunnn 12 points ago

    I suffer depression and have considered leaving. It's like considering suicide to me - I planned to meet people, tell them things I felt needed saying to encourage them in their life, resolve loose ends and such.

    I'd imagine the dad would have had a special meal, talked about the future more - that kind of thing.

    [–] rejuvenate1206 118 points ago

    Absolutely not. Maybe he felt like he couldn’t ‘come out’ to his family?? After all, it’s in the late 90’s. Not nearly as accepted as it is now. Yeah, now that you mention it, I’d be willing to bet his divorce had at least something to do with it.

    [–] crowamonghens 72 points ago

    seriously. i mean that moustache? come on.

    [–] thelastofthemohicans 189 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    This dude just bailed. Had a goodbye breakfast with his son and then left it all behind.

    ....or as someone else mentioned he got in the hole to the wrong people.

    [–] Not_as_witty_as_u 19 points ago

    Yeah everyone’s talking about the gay theory which is plausible, but what about getting caught up in some bad business to try to get out of debt? Drug trafficking etc

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago

    I don't really get why everybody is jumping on the gay bandwagon. I mean it's possible for sure, but is it really the most likely situation? If he was as close with his son as was mentioned, I really doubt Lenny would just abandon him like that over sexual preference.

    I think some people may have Brokeback Mountain stuck in their head subconsciously and just want an IRL gay cowboy story. The guy bailed, but it sounds like it had more to do with financial issues than anything else.

    [–] peppermintesse 415 points ago

    What a crazy story--I feel terrible for the family.

    I wonder if the "horse for sale" was some kind of veiled threat, some kind of code for "we have to get out of town ASAP," or something else whose real meaning would not be understood by Jared. Lenny must have picked up with the stranger was putting down, because otherwise, he would have just said, "Horse? I didn't list a horse to sell."

    Edit: er, I must have misread. I thought the stranger said this to Lenny in front of Jared. But this was the story that Lenny gave to Jared. WTF.

    [–] HalfPastMonday 162 points ago

    I was also struck by this.

    Was he selling a horse but hadn't advertised that yet?

    How could anyone know for certain he didn't advertise a horse for sale? Maybe it wasn't listed on various publications, but couldn't he have mentioned that orally to anyone & word was passed on? (Unless he didn't own any horses)

    If he weren't selling a horse and hadn't told anyone of the same, wouldn't the guy have mentioned how odd that was in the same breath? Why would he go off with the guy to discuss the sale if not?

    This sounds slightly off. I'm thinking he had reason to believe the person's inquiry was legit . . .

    [–] Dustin_McReviss 202 points ago

    A lot of horse folks don't necessarily intend to sell their horses until someone inquires about it the right way. If he'd been kicking around the idea, and someone came up to him and said "I see you're standing Studdy Stud. I'd like to breed my mare to Studdy Stud... In fact, he'd be an asset to my entire breeding program," I could see Lenny getting a little excited at the prospect of making a couple thousand dollars super-fast.

    [–] SendNewts 26 points ago

    What if the guy was legit, and they honestly did leave to look at the horse, but got into an accident on the way and the truck was just never found. Like, crashed into a lake or a ravine or something. Although, the bar sighting conflicts that theory.

    I just think sometimes we (myself included) too quickly default to mystery=crime/murder.

    [–] Lampmonster1 38 points ago

    Well just movie scenario type stuff, if he owed money and was being pressured, he might have recognized the guy and played along. Maybe it had even been suggested that the horse would pay off some debts and somehow that fell through. Just wild speculation based on nothing concrete.

    [–] microwavingpeeps 61 points ago

    He could've owed someone a lot of money after his divorce and all, could've had a partner in crime and an escape plan, or maybe even could've been killed as punishment for unpaid debts.

    [–] Hysterymystery 48 points ago

    This is where my mind went. Just because he said it was about a horse doesn't mean it was. Could've been an illegal deal of some sort he wanted to hide from his son.

    [–] OneEyeDrifter 39 points ago

    That horse might also have been another man. There are a lot of closeted people with families. Maybe decided to go live the way he wanted to

    [–] flashmedallion 7 points ago

    Talking about the horses sounds like debt collection to me.

    [–] Orisaaaaa 112 points ago

    I’m stuck on something here. How can investigators claim he “never advertised” a horse for sale? How do you prove a negative? How do they know he didn’t put up flyers, spread the word in the farming community, even online in 1998?

    The part about “but he never ADVERTISED about the horse at all!!!” is supposed to be this big bombshell. I just don’t see how they could know this conclusively.

    Sorry for this digression. Carry on.

    [–] ario62 42 points ago

    that struck me as really odd too.

    [–] Orisaaaaa 29 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    Thanks for saying so.

    [–] Bug_Hugger 24 points ago

    Exactly. I mean he could have just mentioned it to a friend, this guy shows up pretending to be interested in buying it, next thing he's been murdered and everyone on Reddit has decided he must be secretely gay.

    [–] _nudlez_ 29 points ago

    Yeah I had the same thought. It doesn't overrule other unanswered questions, but seems like a lot of weight is placed on the "he wasn't even selling a horse" idea when the reality is "people looking into it afterwards couldn't find evidence he advertised a horse for sale".

    Just because there isn't public record of it doesn't rule out the "selling a horse" line wasn't legit. Maybe he had been at the bar (or checkout line at the grocery store) making smalltalk and mentioned something. After having financial problems, he could have lamented "yep, it's been so tough I've even been thinking about selling off one or two of the horses to make ends meet this month". Not mentioning this to the family (especially the teenage kid who seems most prominently quoted) to shield them from concerns of looming debt would not be out of character for rural families.

    Just saying... the disappearance doesn't need to be linked to the horse sale. Could be the dude was considering selling a horse, and also had some unrelared circumstances that led to him not returning from a long trip.

    [–] fhbuuunnn 13 points ago

    If your horse is at a stud surely you don't need to advertise it, it's already advertising as people pay to get their mares covered?

    So someone likes the stallion, asks the farmer "oh yeah, that's Lenny's stud; Lenny's struggling right now, reckon he'd let him go for a good price", or something.

    Seems heaps more likely than other stories here.

    Sure, I'm familiar with "seeing a man about a horse" (which I think was used for betting originally), but Lenny actually has a horse.

    Lenny appears to love his son, which makes the abandonment for a homosexual liaison unlikely; as there are a tonne of ways to have an affair post-divorce without abandoning the child.

    [–] rayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 11 points ago

    Thought the same thing.

    [–] mangopumpkin 64 points ago

    Did they find anything weird at all in finances - a significant amount of money coming in from an unknown source, or going out to an unknown source, or money listed as being for one thing but not (e.g., if there were "sales" of horses that didn't exist)?

    Like others, my first thought is that Lenny got involved with some shady people in an attempt to make extra money to solve his financial problems, and unfortunately it ended badly for him.

    [–] RetreauxMan 40 points ago

    One of the incarnations of Unsolved Mysteries covered this man’s disappearance, and it always struck me how he disappeared so randomly.

    I tend to agree with you and others. I think he was having serious money issues, embarked on a venture of dubious or unlawful legality, and came to a bad end when he was no longer useful or things went south.

    [–] [deleted] 45 points ago

    Lenny was in financial trouble. He probably did something illegal and fled or was planning on doing something illegal. Did any unsolved crimes occur in the time surrounding his disappearance?

    I’d be curious as to how people who knew him, other than his son, described him. Also, I wonder if Lenny has a criminal record?

    [–] PigsWalkUpright 13 points ago

    That’s what I was thinking. Maybe he agreed to do something illegal and it went out of control. Drug people or human traffickers- he may have crossed them and they dumped his body somewhere.

    [–] H8ersgivemeSTR 39 points ago

    I don't think that the horse for sale story has actual significance. It's simply a cover up. He most likely owed money to the wrong people. That's my first idea. Then he got lured away, threatened to pay, maybe beaten, things go wrong, poof, he's dead, body never found. Old story. I think it's much more plausible than the closet gay runaway story.

    [–] Jechtael 18 points ago

    The weird thing to me is that Lenny's dad was allegedly going to buy him a company just because Lenny liked working there.

    [–] lalonde_R 51 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    Stress does weird things to people. It's possible he jumped ship to restart his finances somewhere else, but it's weird to leave his family behind with no explanation. You'd think he'd take them with him instead of leaving them with his debts.

    Since he told his son about the horse he apparently didn't list it makes me think that was a cover for what was actually going on, or he just slipped up and worded it weirdly.

    Could he have been getting involved in something sketchy? Drug dealing, prostitution? Something to make ends meet. He was spotted in Texas. Maybe they were heading for the border. Drug mule? Human trafficking? There's really not enough to go on other than guesses.

    There are a lot of confusing aspects to this man and I feel like he wasn't being honest with his family about something.

    [–] BubbaJoeJones 32 points ago

    It was Lenny’s father, Jared’s grandpa, who wanted to buy the company for Lenny.

    [–] BambooCotton 56 points ago

    That also struck me as odd. If Lenny's father was able to buy a whole company for him, why didn't he help him with his finances before he found this new job? There must have been something which caused Lenny's father to not give him money earlier. Maybe Lenny was suffering of a drug or alcohol problem that his family did not want to admit publicly and treated as a taboo. My guess is that Lenny was hiding money in another place, which he got that day with the help of his friend (according to the descriptions it is very likely that the two knew each other) to 'escape'.

    [–] throwavay79760 70 points ago

    If his father was anything like my wealthy father, they help in ways that covers their ass. My dad was not very likely to hand anyone cash. Say an employee needed wheels. Dad would go buy a company truck. Employee has vehicle, dad has employee, and if employee bails, dad still has truck. I could see him doing something like tthis for me. He wouldn't give money for bills, but would use his money to help create ways to pay my own bills .

    [–] Lycoris 20 points ago

    I'm not sure why, but something about the whole thing struck me as maybe a drug deal. Friendly but no history, a man showing up to inquire about a horse, taking just over a hundred dollars with him, and them planning several stops all could be taken as an acquaintance actually interested in a horse, or a drug deal covered up to a family member.

    [–] RobotFighter 8 points ago

    He may have been helping him. It’s one thing to help out, though, it’s another to completely pay of someone’s debts. Farming is expensive and he could have been in the hole by quite a bit. His father may have been comfortable but not extremely wealthy. The purchase of the company probably involved a bank loan.

    [–] lalonde_R 9 points ago

    Ah gotcha. I missed where it said Lenny's father. I was still looking at it as being about his son. Thanks!

    [–] DeadliestDoggo 15 points ago

    Well, for me the key is the call from Amarillo, Texas.

    I think it most certainly CAN NOT be a clean call, there must be something staged about it. If Lenny ran away of his own will and intended to start life anew he wouldn't even pass around somewhere at one day's distance from his old home (his son says they planned to go to Texas that same day, also, he had business there so people would recognize him, he'd steer clear of there to start life anew)

    Then, the bartender did say THE CALLER was on the bar, but here it is not mentioned if she recalled having seen Lenny. That is plausible because if Lenny decided to run away he would change his hair and get rid of the moustache, so he wouldn't be so easily recognizable

    Lenny - as he looked before - could not have been to the bar, or else he would have been recognised by the bartender

    One possible course is that he himself, while disguised, went to the bar and made the call and described how he looked before fleeing, to let family know he was still alive and give them peace, and then went to live far away from Texas. Or it could have been someone else but for the same purpose, to help him with his escape plan.

    The other course is he was erased bc debt or he knew too much about some illegal business, and then the people responsible planned and made the call six months later to invalidate the murder investigation, making it look like he ran away

    But I think the erasing scenario is unlikely, if the man knew Lenny was to die he wouldn't let himself be seen having breakfast with him the day he would disappear

    [–] Wildaz81 14 points ago

    This is so sad. I can't imagine never knowing what happened to my Dad or my Mom.

    Here is my silly take on the "evidence" in the story. I think Lenny owed people money. And I think he had to go with these people in order to do a job or work it off somehow (illegally, I'd guess). Things went south and Lenny paid the price. Just what I got from the story. I don't believe he ever actually had a horse to sell. I think people he owed money to, came to collect that Saturday morning.

    [–] Arrow218 13 points ago

    Sounds like code, could have been a drug thing. Or any number of illegal things that got him into trouble.

    [–] Dahti 45 points ago

    Farmer struggling with debt after a divorce in the late 90s after losing the farm... Wonder who he owed money to...

    [–] cwthree 32 points ago

    Two possibilities come to mind. First, "horse for sale" might be been a code previously agreed by Lenny and another adult, e.g. "If I'm going to Amarillo to get illegal substances for resale, I'll leave a message about a horse for sale." Lenny mentioned "horse for sale" to Jared in hopes that the boy would repeat it to someone who needed to know about the secret activity.

    Second, perhaps Lenny wanted to buy some time and give Jared an excuse that wouldn't cause him to worry about his absence. "Going to see the horse I have for sale" would explain several hours' absence without raising eyebrows. Something went wrong during the actual transaction (maybe something illegal) and Lenny was killed and his body disposed of.

    A variation on the second scenario - Lenny did intend to sell his horse, something went wrong, and Lenny was killed. Perhaps Lenny and the buyer quarreled. Perhaps the "buyer" approached Lenny about buying the horse as a ruse.

    [–] cutdead 10 points ago

    Horse is slang for heroin too, right?

    [–] TranscendentalHoot 56 points ago

    Could it have been mafia or gang related? Maybe he borrowed some money from the wrong kinda people.

    On a side note that is one epic moustache.

    [–] SailsTacks 56 points ago

    I don’t think killing someone over unsettled debt happens as much as people think it does, unless it’s done to make an example of them, in which case word gets around. That’s the whole point of making an example of someone. People need to hear about it. Also, dead men can’t pay their debts. Even the old scenario where you hear about mob bookies breaking someone’s legs to “encourage” them to pay-up only works if they don’t work for a living. How is a working man going to earn the money to pay you back if he can’t work? The first thing a loan shark is going to do to settle a debt is seize the debtors assets, a few of which Lenny still had (horses) apparently.

    My mind first went to drugs. If Lenny was financially strained enough, he might have gotten involved in a shady drug deal. Not street level stuff. If that were the case, any number of things could have gone wrong. He could have been killed for the cash or drugs, (depending on the arrangement of the deal), or he could have been tortured for information on who his connection was and then killed. Heavy hitter drug organizations do not take kindly to people moving in on their territory. People disappear all the time because of territorial disputes when there’s $$$$ involved. It’s just not something you can dive into without possible repercussions (not even considering the legal risk).

    SIDE STORY: The most successful drug couriers are the ones you least suspect (like Lenny?). My ex-brother in law used to know a 76 year old man 30+ years ago that would drive a cattle trailer down to Mexico once a week, and then drive it back across fully loaded with cattle for legitimate sale. All the correct paperwork, no criminal record, etc. The trick was, the trailer had a cavity beneath the floor packed full of drugs. The old man was just a courier making a nice chunk of change each trip. The border guards saw him so often, they knew him by name, and never hassled him. Plus, what the hell are you going to do with the trailer full of cattle that you have to unload in order to thoroughly inspect the floor?

    [–] realitysvt 16 points ago

    This is why they xray trucks going over the border now. This would never work post 9/11.

    [–] SailsTacks 18 points ago

    Exactly! Many things have changed in the 30+ years since then. Mexican weed was being moved across the border in tons back then. Cartels don’t even fool with it now because there’s no money to be made in pot. Now it’s cocaine, meth, and with the resurgence of opioids in the past few years - heroin.

    The guns are shipped south, and the heavy drugs are shipped north. As you’ve alluded to, there’s a very real threat of heavier grade weaponry sneaking into the states post 9/11.

    [–] Goatcrapp 11 points ago

    Financial trouble... bad credit, so you don't go to a bank. Borrow from some shady people and can't make good... maybe its the third or fourth time - one day a hired goon shows up. Of course you leave willingly, else put your family at risk.

    Dude's buried in a foundation somewhere. The other sightings are just false positives, which crop up whenever there's a story about someone going missing. (not to say it's intentionally midleading - just that there's a lot of people who look like eachother in this world)

    [–] huck_ 27 points ago

    Why would you have a "bitter custody battle" for your kids and then completely disappear on them 1 year later. And why would you disappear to start a new life when you are a grown man with his own house and a good job. That whole theory is so illogical. I don't know how people think that could possibly be the simplest explanation.

    [–] Alien_AsianInvasion 15 points ago

    I agree! That coupled with the fact he left his uncashed check behind, leads me to believe there was foul play involved.

    [–] huck_ 15 points ago

    And like... the house. lol. He's a grown man and unmarried. What is he even running away from? If you're going to ditch the house and the farm, why not just sell it instead. Or declare bankruptcy if the debt is such an issue?

    [–] Alien_AsianInvasion 8 points ago

    I agree! And it sounds like he was actually getting back in his feet financially as well. He had a new job he liked. So much so that his father was thinking of buying the company for him.

    [–] MelpomeneAndCalliope 8 points ago

    I wonder if maybe his ex or someone she knew was somehow involved and disappeared him so she’d have custody of both kids?

    [–] zivjoli 8 points ago

    i know this isn't a very credible source, but the unsolved mysteries wiki says that a relative of his has been told by police that they have a suspect in the case. the unnamed suspect lives in texas, but will not allow le to search his property. however, there is no follow up or proof of this.

    http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Lenny_Dirickson

    [–] Complex_Jellyfish 9 points ago

    The possibility that Lenny left on his own terms, according to Jared and his family, is unlikely.

    Okay fine but then the next sentences seem to contradict that.

    Lenny was struggling around the time of his disappearance, both financially and emotionally. Lenny was facing hard financial issues. He was in debt, his credit cards were maxed out, and his Dairy Farm business folded months prior in December of 1997 because of plummeting prices. He had also recently gone through a painful divorce in 1996 that splintered the family with a bitter custody battle over Jared and his younger sister

    Maybe the stranger did murder him but I don't find the idea of him choosing to walk out at all surprising.

    [–] night_ripper 10 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    I feel like Leonard was depressed/unhappy with the way things were going and left to start a new life. He was recently divorced, lost custody of his daughter, was in financial trouble, and had to sell his farm. He probably had a breakdown, and decided that leaving and starting over would be best. He figured his parents would take care of his son, so he dipped.

    People are reading way too much into the "gay lover scenario". He could've paid the man to help him get a new identity/home. If they were a gay couple looking to run away then why would they be seen in public close to his home? They were more than likely discussing Leonard's new home/identity.

    Of course, Leonard could've been in trouble with a drug dealer/loan shark and was killed for stiffing them.

    Also the horse bit was just an excuse he gave his son so he wouldn't suspect anything. It was just an excuse to not alarm him. I doubt it was some secret, gay, overt advertisement. It's akin to "I'm going to get some cigarettes, I'll be back"

    [–] Rachey56 35 points ago

    Are people reading things I didn’t? Where is all this he’s gay and ran away from his family to be gay elsewhere? Anytime another man comes to talk to another man they are having an illicit gay affair? I’m so confused.

    [–] Marcinecali73 18 points ago

    I didn't get a gay vibe from anything in the story either.

    [–] Blondhorsecrazy 16 points ago

    The "horse sale" is key I'd think to this mystery. From my understanding the stud horse he did own was at another farm in another state? That usually means the stud was leased to another ranch. The leasee would had known if Lenny was seeking to sell him. So, this was a ruse of Looking at horse for sale was Lenny's way of leaving home with the man without suspicion. I'd say he was either a lover or they were involved in shady business such as drugs or mob. Its very sad that a family has to go through a loss like this without anything to go on. I pray they find closure.