The Lake County Sheriff’s department was the first to respond, then contacting Detective Sgt. George Pratt to assist. From the MSP report: “The body of a fully clothed white male with trauma around the facial area was found lying on the ground partially obscured by a cluster of cedar trees on the southwest corner of the building. The snow that had been accumulating and that of the previous days had melted beneath the victim and approximately 4 to 6 inches away from the body.”
At approximately 10:18 am, the Lake County Central Dispatch was contacted by Annette Hancock, reporting her husband missing. “It was learned that the Hancocks lived on Logan St. which was less than half a mile from the crime scene.”
Mrs. Hancock was interviewed and it was learned from her that Thomas Hancock, who was a carpenter by trade, was home all day the previous Sunday, and he’d watched a football game. She said he had about six beers, had gotten ready for bed, having put his pajamas on, and later decided to go out for more beer. She remembered telling him it was almost 10pm and he’d have to hurry because the store would be closing. She described him as 6’1”, 165 to 170 pounds, brown hair and a moustache, glasses, and his left hand was wrapped in an Ace bandage due to a recent accident with a saw.
The following morning, Mr. Hancock’s wife found his truck parked in front of the Idlewild Party Store where she thought he was going to get beer. Everything was covered with snow and she didn’t see any vehicle tracks or footprints in the area. Thomas Hancock was last seen at the Red Rooster Bar the night before.
According to the bar owner, William McClure, Mr. Hancock had been in the Red Rooster twice that day, once between 4:30 and 5:00pm, had one beer and left, then returned that night between 9:00 and 10:00pm, drank two beers, “…came in alone, sat alone, and left alone.”