The person of interest in the missing person’s case in Montague County is now facing sex crime charges in connection with the teen who vanished in 2015.
Ricky Dale Howard is facing multiple sex abuse charges that were uncovered while authorities were looking into the disappearance of Caleb Diehl, 18, and that’s because investigators believe Howard may have been the last person to see him alive.
Howard, 57, has been in the Hamilton Unit in Bryan since June 2016 serving five years on 11 counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.
He could have been released on parole, but that was denied in July after he was indicted in Montague County.
Those charges are two counts of sexual assault of a child, two counts of indecency with a child, and 34 counts of possession of child pornography and those allegations involve two boys back in the 1990s.
Montague County District Attorney Casey Polhemus said Howard is indicted for one count of first-degree felony indecency with a child sexual contact.
Two counts of second-degree felony indecency with a child by exposure and 12 counts of second-degree felony possession of child pornography.
Polhemus said the new allegations surround Diehl. Police said Diehl was 18-years-old when he worked part-time for Howard and then disappeared in late March 2015. According to police, Diehl borrowed a truck from Howard just before his disappearance.
That truck turned up at Howard’s property a few days later. Diehl is still missing and the investigation continues.
“We just are waiting. Every day it’s just waiting. You know, I know the police have been working pretty hard,” Caleb’s mom Tami Diehl said. “There are so many things I think about and regret now and not seeing signs, but there weren’t any specific signs. I just wish I had done things differently.”
While the time has continued to pass with little information coming in, those close to the case are not giving up hope.
“We’ve been discouraged, that it’s been three years, and we still don’t have a whole lot of answers, but I know we are going to get answers eventually,” vigil organizer Belinda Hendrix said.
The community dedicated to finding Caleb is heartwarming to the family that still aches without their loved one.
“Everyone that lives here, I mean everyone’s looking, everyone’s watching, everyone’s coming up to us, people that I don’t even know personally are coming up and saying, ‘What do you know?’ ‘What can we do?'” Aly Forster and Haylee Diehl, Caleb’s sisters, said.
Polhemus said she expects Howard will be tried on sex charges before his projected release date of June 27, 2021.
Howard’s criminal record also includes a 2007 conviction where he was sentenced to 42 months in prison and $4 million in restitution for federal bank fraud while serving as president of a bank.