Thomas Myles DoughertyCourtesy photo Sioux City Journal
Thomas “Myles” Dougherty, a World War II combat vet, lost both hands in the war and wore prosthetic devices (metal hooks) on both arms.

Thomas Myles Dougherty

Missing Person

NAME: Thomas Myles Dougherty
AGE AT REPORT: 45
DOB: Sept. 29, 1915
SEX: Male
RACE: White
HAIR: Thinning, Graying-Brown
EYE COLOR: Light Blue
HEIGHT: 6’0″
BUILD: Slender
PHYSICAL FEATURES: Double Amputee; wears prosthetic devices (“hooks”) of metal on both arms
LOCATION LAST SEEN: Metropolitan Café, 801 Fourth St.
CITY: Sioux City
COUNTY: Woodbury
CASE NUMBER: 1961-611E
NamUs MP #: 21572
LAST SEEN ALIVE: January 12, 1961

 

Don’t Miss: “52 years after Sioux City man vanished, family still yearns for answers,” an in-depth story written by Molly Montag and published in the Sioux City Journal on Jan. 11, 2013.

 

Woodbury County in Iowa

Woodbury County in Iowa

Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Thomas Myles Dougherty, a 45-year-old combat veteran who served in World War II as a Staff Sgt. with the U.S. Army, disappeared without a trace after leaving a Sioux City café on Thursday morning, January 12, 1961. Neither he nor his vehicle — a green 1954 Ford Tudor — has ever been located.

Always a Fighter
Thomas Myles Dougherty Returns from France

Courtesy The Sioux City Journal, 1945

Dougherty paid a heavy price when injured during combat, losing both arms just below the elbows. As was customary, he was fitted with prosthetic devices — often called “hooks” — of metal on both arms.

Once sent home to the United States, Dougherty spent time in a Michigan veteran’s teaching hospital known for pioneering a program teaching handicapped WWII veterans how to drive again.

Dougherty excelled in the program, and the Michigan State Police certified him as a capable driver.

Based on that certification, when Dougherty finally returned to Sioux City, Iowa in 1945, the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s License Division approved Dougherty’s request to drive on Iowa roads.

A Vet Goes Missing

Dougherty felt proud of his service to his country and never let it sway his decision to get involved in his community. The double amputee motored around Sioux City in his specially-equipped car, attended AMVETS meetings and regularly went out for breakfast with other vets and friends.

He also paid close attention to how he dressed. With metal hooks for hands, his presence was noted wherever he went. He represented sacrifices vets made while fighting for one’s country, and often wore a dark suit and tie along with his AMVETS hat. Other times one could find him dressed more casually but still quite esteemed in his attire: sweaters over buttoned-down shirts, gray slacks, black dress shoes, and a favorite gray hat.

1954 Ford Tudor
This photo shows a dark green 1954 Ford Tudor similar to the vehicle Myles Dougherty drove at the time he went missing.

Dougherty had chosen similar casual apparel on Thursday morning, January 12, 1961.

Dressed in gray pants, black shoes, his gray hat and a gray zippered jacket over his shirt, he got into his 1954 dark green Tudor Ford with the white sidewalls in front and black mud and snow grips on the rear, and drove to one of his favorite Sioux City diners — the Metropolitan Café (now the site of the Sioux City Convention Center) located at 801 Fourth St. — for his morning breakfast. He spoke with a few regulars, had his breakfast, and then walked out the door.

Thomas Myles Dougherty Reward PosterCourtesy Sioux City Journal
The Sioux City Police Department released this reward poster seeking information about Dougherty’s disappearance.

Neither he nor his car — Iowa license plate number 97-11426 — were ever seen again.

Aerial Searches, Rewards Provide No Clues

Law enforcement officials, along with family members and friends, conducted a ground search around the café as well as Dougherty’s home.

The Civil Air Patrol also did an aerial search, but found nothing indicating the missing vet’s whereabouts.

Hoping money might draw out those who knew something, family and friends decided to post two rewards.

The larger reward, $650.00, focused on finding Dougherty’s body or, at the very least, discovering what had happened to him. The reward poster stated:

IF THEN ALIVE, WHICH LEADS TO HIS SAFE RETURN HOME — OR IF NOT FOUND ALIVE AND A VICTIM OF FOUL PLAY THE SAID TOTAL SUM WILL BE PAID FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE APPREHENSION OF HIS ASSAILANT.

The second reward, $100.00, put emphasis on finding Dougherty’s vehicle and was directed toward tow truck businesses. It read:

$100 REWARD

FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE DISCOVERY OF MR. DOUGHERTY’S CAR — THE SERIAL NO.: U 4PG 133346. CHECK YOUR TOW-IN TICKETS.

Thomas Myles Dougherty
Courtesy Jackie Bland/Sioux City Journal
On Jan. 11, 2013, Sioux City Journal reporter Molly Montag wrote an in-depth piece on Dougherty’s disappearance.

Those with information were encouraged to contact Sioux City Chief of Police James O’Keefe or the Thomas Myles Dougherty Fund in rooms 323 or 334 in Sioux City’s Frances Building.

Offers for both rewards were set to expire and become void after February 1, 1962.

The date came and went. No rewards were ever paid out, nor was Mr. Dougherty’s body or his car ever recovered.

Fingerprint information is available elsewhere.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Thomas “Myles” Dougherty’s unsolved disappearance, please contact the Sioux City Police Department at 712-279-6960.

Sources:

 

Copyright © 2017 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

11 Responses to Thomas Myles Dougherty

  1. Jenny says:

    Check the near by bodies of water…he may have swerved and ended up in the water…trapped unable to get out…this really needs to be done.

  2. Christine says:

    My first thought was a body of water too…so easy to do in the dark or when tired. I pray this family finds answers soon, although many are probably gone now as well.

  3. Diana Wilson says:

    I don’t remember this. So sad.

  4. Debbie Heishman says:

    Someone out there knows what happened to my Grandfather. Please help so those who love him can rest.

  5. Sandy says:

    A HUMAN JAW BONE WAS FOUND APRIL 28, 2013 BY SOMEONE FISHING ON THE NEBRASKA SIDE OF THE VET BRIDGE. NEVER HEARD ANYTHING IN THE MEDIA ABOUT IT, AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE ONCE THOSE THAT FOUND IT NEVER HEARD ANY MORE BACK FROM THE POLICE THAT THEY REPORTED IT TO THAT VERIFIED IT WAS IN FACT HUMAN AND FORENSICS WOULD LOOK INTO IT. IT WAS SNAGGED ON SOMETHING WHEN IT GOT HOOKED ON THE FISHING LINE, POSSIBLY THE SKULL? HAVE BEEN CURIOUS IF THEY HAVE LOOKED INTO THIS TO POSSIBLY SEE IF IT’S ONE OF THE MISSING FROM THE SIOUX CITY AREA

  6. Bob says:

    Since the car is still missing it sounds like that he could have driven into a body of water and the car rests at the bottom.

  7. j says:

    I’m curious if there were any bodies of water near the routes he would have traveled…that seems more likely with the vehicle never having been located.

    • Theresa says:

      It is an interesting thought. He may have gone near the Missouri River and being a double amputee swerved to miss something and went in.. However, as time has gone by, it seems low water, dredging, fishing, etc would net something. Its still very possible that happened somewhere that just wouldn’t get activity.

  8. Theresa says:

    I am guessing that because it was a luxury vehicle it was stripped and parted. It may be possible that the serial number is out their. Since there aren’t as many anymore, a quick run could net a result and tracking back may find a hit. On the other hand it could have been scrapped, have altered numbers, etc.

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