Missing Presumed Deceased – November 29, 1976 – Jasper, AL
41-year-old William Charles “Pete” Fikes was born on 12/30/35 to Mr. and Mrs. WIlliam F. Fikes of Jasper, AL. Pete graduated from the Highway Patrol Recruit School of the Alabama Police Academy and became an Alabama Conservation agent in the early 1960s. He was served as a conservation officer in Pickens County and a radio operator for state troopers at Decatur.
Pete spent the night of November 28, 1976, with his grandmother at her home in Jasper. Around 9:00 or 9:30 the following morning, November 29, he headed back to his home in the Burrow’s Crossroads community in his father’s 1972 Plymouth Valiant. When Pete’s parents stopped by his home later that afternoon, he wasn’t there. Over the next three days, William became concerned the icy roads could have caused Pete to have an accident, so he began driving up and down Walker County roads looking for Pete or the Fikes’ Valiant. When the searches turned up no sign of Pete and they still had not heard from him, William reported him missing to Jasper Police Department and Walker County Sheriff’s Office.
Almost four months later, in February of 1977, while going through title records at the Jefferson County Probate Office, Jasper PD Maj. George Guthrie came across a bill of sale for the Fikes’ vehicle dated November 30, 1976, just one day after Pete was last seen. The buyer was a man who lived in Cahaba Heights, about an hour away from where Pete was last seen, and he told investigators he’d purchased the car from three men for $200. Media articles from the time reported investigators discovered dried blood inside the car. James Arthur Gregg was arrested for forging the bill of sale and buying/receiving/concealing stolen property.
Several searches were conducted by volunteers and law enforcement over the years, but those searches turned up no new leads or information. In September of 1980, a man discovered the upper portion of a human skull in a dump site near Sipsey – an area media articles claimed had been searched previously. In November of 1980, media oulets reported that state officials were able to positively identify the portion of the skull as Pete by matching the upper portion to X-rays Pete had received related to a previous car wreck. Shockingly, officials claimed a blood sample was also found in one of the fractures on the skull portion and stated they believed it would match the dried blood discovered in the car.
In 1982, Walker County Sheriff Jack Trotter announced that Investigator Frank Cole and SBI Investigator Leon Hampton had arrested 24-year-old Perry Mixon, an inmate at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore County, on charges of robbery-murder related to Pete’s disappearance and subsequent death. Those charges do not show up in Mixon’s court records and it is unknown what actually happened with those charges.
The article related to the arrest of Mixon stated the blood found in the car matched Pete’s type, but it did not say whether it was ever confirmed to be Pete’s blood. There’s also no further mention of the blood allegedly found on the partial human skull found in 1980.
Martha, one of Pete’s three daughters, was only 3 or 4 years old when her father disappeared in 1976, and she hopes that sharing his story will help bring in more information about what happened to her father.