WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — This year is the 59th anniversary of the unsolved disappearance of an 11-year-old boy who walked away from his home on Dec. 9, 1961; he hasn’t been seen since.
Andy Sims was a fifth-grader at Jefferson Elementary and lived in the 4600 block of Stanford Avenue.
Because there is little evidence, Wichita Falls Police Department is asking anyone with any information to please come forward 59 years later.
“Oh it was devastating because we weren’t used to things like that happening back then,” Sims’ neighbor Mary Swatzell said.
On Dec. 9, 1961, Scott Andreas Sims, also known as Andy, went to go play in his neighborhood on the 4600 block of Stanford Avenue.
Sims went left his home between 12:45 p.m. and 1 p.m. His mother, Ellen, came home around 2:30 p.m. to only her oldest son, Donald. For the next five and a half hours, the Sims family searched for Andy to no avail and reported him missing later that night.
“There hasn’t been any physical evidence that has been identified that’ll help us kind of figure out where Andy might be. But one of the other stages in any kind of case is to get publicity, is to get it out and to the public and let more people know,” WFPD cold case detective John Laughlin said.
Laughlin is one of several detectives that have had this case throughout the past 59 years. When police first searched for Sims, they received help from many authorities like Fort Sill and the Wichita County Sheriff’s mounted patrol. They searched Lake Wichita, the surrounding neighborhoods and Sims’ Boy Scout hut near the lake after receiving a tip. Swatzell said families in the neighborhood were always thinking about him.
“It was constantly in the back of our minds because we just thought ‘who could’ve done that and why?’ I can’t imagine he just ran away because he was too young,” Swatzell said.
In the early 2000s, Sims’ half-brother Steve Douglass discovered that he and Sims had the same father and also that his birthday is on the same day as Sims’ disappearance. Since then, Douglass has been keeping up with the case and said he and the first detectives of the case have assumptions about what happened.
“Most everyone believes it was a homicide,” Douglass said. “They can’t really prove it but that was their feeling at the time. And at least as far as up to 2008, they were still, they still thought that’s probably what happened.”
Even with many rumors swirling, Laughlin said the police will not stop looking.
“When someone goes missing, especially a child, we want the community to know the police department’s doing everything we can to find them and to find out what happened to them,” Laughlin said.
Almost 60 years later, the search continues for Andy Sims.
If anyone has any information about this crime or any other felony crime, call Crime Stoppers, 24- hours-a-day, at 940-322-9888.
Callers never have to give their name, and if their information leads to the arrest and board approval, in this very cold case, callers can earn up to $10,000.