Missing man found dead near Buckeye Creek
By Ken Childers
A former football coach who went missing from his home in Jones was discovered dead in rural Okfuskee County last week.
As reported in the March 26 edition of ONL, authorities and volunteers were searching early last week for 54-year-old Thomas Denton Fox. His body was discovered on March 25 in the Buckeye Creek area.
Fox was last seen at his home in Jones on Friday, March 20. He was reportedly at home that evening when his wife left for work, but he was gone when she returned home. His family was not immediately alarmed about his absence, because he was known to slip off to an Okemah-area cabin to go hunting or fishing.
Family members reported they had received ominous “goodbye” texts from Fox on Saturday, March 21, which led them to file a missing person’s report with the Jones Police Department. His family had also began to track him by using cell phone data, which showed that his phone had pinged a tower in the Castle area.
Fox reportedly had hernia surgery recently and had limited mobility, and family said he would probably not get too far away from the truck he was driving. Family also said they had noticed small lapses in his memory over the past few weeks.
In addition to the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Department, several people, including some of Fox’s former students, searched the Buckeye Creek area by foot. Drones and even an airplane were flown in an effort to find Fox, a former Jones and Deer Creek football coach.
Last Wednesday evening at about 7:30, Fox’s son, Jake Fielder, posted the following message on Facebook: “Coach Fox has been found. Unfortunately, by the time we had located him, he had passed away. My family is eternally thankful for each and every volunteer and kind word. My Dad would’ve been honored by the outpouring of support and grace.”
Fox had reportedly dealt with health issues for the past several years that ultimately led to his retirement as assistant principal at Deer Creek in Edmond, where he was previously a football coach. He also coached football at Jones from 1998-2004.