Real Name: Thomas Anthony Kueter
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Date: June 24, 1994
Details: Shortly after midnight on Friday, June 24, 1994, Tina Marcotte, a late shift worker at Black Hills Molding, a wood processing plant, called her best friend, Vicky Riddle, complaining of a flat tire and asking to be picked up. She noticed a car driving up, and, a short time later, told Vicky she didn't have to come as Tom Kueter, a twenty-nine-year-old forklift driver who previously worked for Black Hills Molding, was giving her a ride. It was the last time she was heard from.
The next morning, Tom and Patrick Gleason, Tina's live-in boyfriend of eleven years, visited Vicky. According to her, Tom became defensive when she mentioned Tina's phone call but finally admitted he was the only "Tom" who had worked for Black Hills Molding that she would know about. When Patrick asked him if they were cheating on him, he found his passive denial to be strangely uncharacteristic of him. He suggested that they go together to report her disappearance.
When police examined Tina's car, they discovered that her flat tire had most likely been slashed with a knife, suggesting foul play. Tom was asked to come in for questioning, which he did so voluntarily. During questioning, he denied giving her a ride and said that he had spent his evening at a softball game, taking a friend home, and fixing his car under a streetlight for 3 or 4 hours after it broke down. He pointed to the place where he did so on a map, but police could find no one in that area to confirm his story.
Tom had not called his wife, Nancy, to tell her about his delay that evening. According to her, when he finally arrived home around 3:30am, he immediately began washing his clothes, including his softball uniform and shoelaces. Three days after Tina's disappearance, police came to him at his job at his workplace, Forest Products Distributors, and told him they had found blood in his car.
Around 9am the next morning, just after the shift change, workers found Tom's body with his head crushed by a rear wheel of his own forklift. An investigation by the police led them to believe that he loaded it with at least a ton of lumber, drove it up an incline, hopped out, and laid down in front of its path, taking his own life in a way that seemed accidental, hoping that his family would benefit from it.
However, Nancy believes Tom was murdered, saying he would not leave her and their children alone. A clinical psychologist also did not believe that he committed suicide because he never had shown suicidal tendencies. Investigators, however, point to the fact that there were no signs of a struggle or drag marks found at the scene, indicating that he placed himself in front of the forklift.
Suspects: Tom was the prime suspect in Tina's murder, though he was never formally linked with it. Although investigators believe he committed suicide, Nancy believes that an unidentified individual attacked him at work and drove the forklift over him.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 5, 1996 episode.
Results: Solved. Nancy was eventually able to get insurance benefits after a judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that Tom committed suicide. In October 1995, as Unsolved Mysteries was still filming this case, Tina's body was found beneath a wood pile in the lumberyard of Forest Products Distributors. It is believed that it was deposited there after she was killed. Her cause of her death was blunt force trauma.
In 2016, authorities closed Tom and Tina's cases, ruling that he was responsible for her death, and that he committed suicide afterwards.
- Tom Kueter on Unsolved.com
- Missing mother search continues
- Psychic to help find missing woman
- Sitcoms Online Discussion of Tom Kueter (includes articles)
- Tom Kueter on Find a Grave