Rufford “Hobby Hobson”, EOD Contractor, remains likely found
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 22, 2010
Update: The remains have been positively identified and a funeral set for January 29 in Pikesville Kentucky. The investigation continues. Will update with further details.
Hobby Hobson went missing under suspicious circumstances not long after his employment was terminated by Ronco Consulting. More details soon.
Debbie Bass was cleaning out a closet Monday morning when she came across an old answering machine. She plugged it in and heard the voice of her father, Rufford Hobson, leaving a cheerful message for her in 2006.
It brought back the love she felt for him and the sadness she felt because he has been missing since April 2007.
“Since my mom died in 2008, I’ve been begging and praying that she would send me a sign of him,” Bass said Monday from her home in Florida. “Not two minutes after I heard his voice on that telephone message, I got the phone call: They think they found his bones.”
Hobson was last seen walking away from a woman’s house in Hickory Creek where he had been living. The woman waited three weeks to report him missing, and police did not consider him a missing person even then. Bass said detectives told her that he had the right to leave without telling anyone and there was no sign that anything had happened to him.
She contacted the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, and her 75-year-old father was listed as a missing person and an investigation begun. Hickory Creek police eventually began investigating but soon closed the case.
Hickory Creek police Sgt. Bobby Starnes confirmed Monday that two men found some bones at about 5 p.m. Sunday in a heavily wooded area off Point Vista Road in Hickory Creek Park. Starnes said that out of respect for the family, he would not discuss whether the bones might be Hobson’s or whether any other evidence was found with the bones. He would not discuss the distance between the house where the 45-year-old woman last saw Hobson and the place where the bones were found.
“We don’t want to make any assumptions, but we’re looking into it,” Starnes said.
Troy Taylor, chief investigator for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Denton office, said Monday that his office is investigating the death as a homicide until it determines that it is not. He said the bones were in tattered clothing that matches the description of clothing Hobson wore the last time he was seen.
Taylor said one of the leg bones contains a metal pin, which matches information about Hobson. The skull was missing, he said, but a denture plate was found nearby.
“We already have DNA from his daughter, so we hope to be able to get a match and positive identification in five to seven business days,” Taylor said.
Chris Meegan, 26, and a friend were hiking in the park Sunday when they saw the bones. His mother lives nearby, Meegan said, and he has hiked in the park often.
“My friend picked up a bone and said he found a cow leg,” Meegan said. “I said, ‘Dude, that is not a cow leg.’ And he said, ‘yes it is.’ I said, ‘Cows don’t have pins in their legs.’ He was wearing dark pants and boots, there was a backpack and a camo coat or jacket over him. He had a single-shot shotgun with him.”
Meegan said they called 911 and waited for police to arrive. Meanwhile, they called a friend who began to research missing persons websites and found Hobson on a national missing persons list.
They read newspaper stories about Bass’ frustration with Hickory Creek officers’ refusal to investigate the case because they saw no indication that anything was wrong.
“We looked it up on the Internet, and it isn’t even 200 yards from that house,” Meegan said. “It’s got to be him. I hope this gives her some kind of closure.”
Hobson was a career military man who specialized in bomb disposal, his daughter said.
He traveled extensively, and they communicated mostly by e-mail. He had not been getting much work because of his age, Bass said, and he and the woman he was living with were having some difficulties. He had only one kidney and told her the other one was giving him trouble. She thought he was depressed.
He called her April 20, asking for her address, she said. She asked him what he was doing, and he said he was working on a project. The woman he was living with called Bass about an hour later.
“She said she saw him walking away from the house with a backpack an hour earlier and she wanted to know had I heard from him,” Bass said. “I hadn’t, and no one else has since then.”
The woman waited about three weeks, thinking Hobson would come back, before reporting him missing to Hickory Creek police. Officers told her that he did not qualify to be put into the national law enforcement database of missing persons.
A few days after he disappeared, a package arrived in the mail, Bass said. It contained all her father’s military medals and some family pictures. His military pension and a disability check continued to be automatically deposited to his account. The woman he was living with had a debit card and was withdrawing money, Bass said.
Bass could not get the checks stopped because her father was not legally dead, and she could not get him declared legally dead because police would not declare him missing. It was a frustrating time, she said.
Bass said she is confident that the bones are her father’s and she is grateful to everyone who helped.
“This will close it,” she said. “I’ve prayed and prayed. I’m sad, but I’m happy at the same time.”