After Disappearance Of Their Leader, Kansas City's Tiny House Collective Faces Big Mystery

Oct 10, 2015

The tiny house movement involves people who want to live in houses of less than 1,000 square feet. Joshua Farmer, the former president of Tiny House Collective KC, disappeared in September.
Credit Wikipedia / KCUR

On September 15, members of the Tiny House Collective KC, a non-profit that supports people building homes of less than 1,000 square feet, became concerned for their friend and colleague Joshua Farmer.

The organization's president and director of development failed to appear for an interview with local media.

After checking his home and following up with friends, the members filed a missing persons report with the Kansas City Police Department that Thursday.

Glenn Sell, the collective's new vice president, says he and other members were initially concerned for the well-being of their friend. But once they learned more, their feelings turned to anger.

According to Jackson County records, Farmer legally changed his name from Kirk Leo in May 2015. He claimed the change was to hide his whereabouts from a childhood abuser, but his family members later said that story is untrue. Sell says that on the day Farmer disappeared he made two unsuccessful attempts to withdraw money from the group’s fundraising account. Sell says he and the other members felt deceived. 

"You kind of going through some phases," says Sell. "There’s a little bit of anger, a hurt that someone would attempt that. I’m at the point now where I’m like: Well it’s happened, he’s not here, he’s not coming back. I’m ready to move forward."

By tracking purchases on Farmer's debit card, authorities were able to determine that he was recently in Iowa.

"Basically he's starting over," says Sell, adding that the group learned from family members that Farmer has previously fled other communities where he had established himself.

Regardless of the incident, Sell says that the Tiny House Collective KC will continue with its mission to build communities of small houses in Kansas City. 

Esther Honig is a KCUR contributor.