A Nocona man named a person of interest in the 2015 disappearance of 18-year-old Caleb Diehl was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in federal prison for preying on the boy when he was a minor, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
In July, just hours after the court declared a mistrial due to juror injury, Ricky Dale Howard, 59, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child. He was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor.
“The vast majority of sexually exploited children were victimized by an adult they know and trust – and the young man in this case was no different. While we may never know what happened to him in the moments before his disappearance, we know he spent many months enduring the unthinkable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. “We continue to pray that one day, he will be found. In the meantime, we hope today’s sentence brings a measure of solace to the family and friends who loved him. We are proud to put this sexual predator behind bars.”
District Attorney Casey Polhemus said the Ricky Howard investigation has affected the entire community of Montague County. She recalls when she first took office the Howard cases and the victims of his crimes were some of the first discussions and a priority from day one for her office
.“This moment of justice, now decades later for some of the victims of Ricky Howard, brings some closure to a long line of victims. Today, Howard was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison by Judge O’Connor,” stated the DA.
“He received the maximum sentence per federal guidelines for his crimes. This is not the end. The disappearance of Caleb Diehl is still open and under investigation, and will continue to be for as long as it takes. I pray the families of all of the victims of Ricky Dale Howard find some sense of peace from today’s sentence,” said Polhemus.
Read the full story in the weekend Bowie News.