25 Cases Of Missing Persons: The Stories Behind Their Disappearances

Published 3 weeks ago

The disappearance of a loved one is a harrowing experience that leaves families and friends in a state of anguish and uncertainty. On Reddit, someone posed the poignant question, “Those who knew someone who went missing, what happened?”

The responses painted a diverse and emotional tapestry of real-life accounts, each offering a glimpse into the mysteries and resolutions of missing person cases. Here are some of the stories shared by Reddit users.

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Image source: Bedheadredhead30, Adrian Infernus/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My coworker, her sister and her niece went missing from a campground in the mountains for 12 days. They had left their campsite to go for a short day hike and got lost somewhere along the way. Both my coworker and her sister were found dead of exposure. Miraculously, her neice survived. Everyone at work was devastated. She was an incredibly kind and wonderful nurse.


Image source: a_normal_nothing, Lukasz Szmigiel/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My stepsister went missing about a year after my stepdad married my mom. We had just moved into our new house a couple states away from where I grew up and I didn’t know anybody. My stepsister was three years older and helped me make friends at school.

We lived about a mile from school and walked there and back a couple days a week when my mom had to go to work early.

One day I walked back home from school alone because my stepsister had basketball practice. There had been some robberies in the area so my mom had us carry pepper spray with us, and I remember feeling weird that day.

I got home fine, and a few hours later, we hadn’t heard from my stepsister, so my stepdad called the basketball coach to see if practice went late (we didn’t have phones).

The coach said my stepsister had left the school a couple hours before.

A few months later, after a lot of searching, her body was found in the woods near the school. There was pepper spray residue all over her skin.

They never caught the person who did it, but she was killed with the rock the police found near her body.


Image source: dying-2-live, Djordje Vukojicic/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My brother. He was 52 years old. He left his house one night and never came back. His car was found abandoned in the woods about a week later. That was four years ago. There have been terrible rumors about what happened to him, but nothing more.


Image source: dedizenoflight, Jordane Mathieu/Pexels (not the actual photo)

My best friend vanished on her way to her early morning work shift several years ago. Her van was found abandoned in a field, and she never was found despite the massive search response, snd the fact her family were all cops. There’s also been some rumors about her stepmother interfering with evidence, but aside from that, it’s been radio silent. The FBI was involved, last I heard.

Three days after she vanished, I had a dream about her. She said goodbye to me and told me that she loved me, and since then, I’ve known in my heart she’s dead.

I miss you, Sara.


Image source: Give-And-Toke, Nicolai Berntsen/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

A friend from high school. She was skiing and got separated from her party during the day. Sadly she was found deceased in a tree well. She died at 19.

I still think of her often. She was such a bright light and had an amazing future.


Image source: Friendlygirlfriend04, Victoria police

I went to the same elementary school as Michael Dunahee. He was kidnapped off the playground and still not found to this day. I remember after it happened every parent showed up to walk the entire school of kids home. I also remember running ahead of the pack for whatever reason and all the parents were screaming at me to get back. They were terrified.


Image source: Mama-Pooh, King County Sheriff’s Office

A friend of mine’s sister went missing in the early 80s. We always suspected she was a victim of Gary Ridgeway the Green River Killer. We found out a couple of years ago that she is in fact on his list of suspected victims.


Image source: wheniswhy, Maurício Mascaro/Pexels (not the actual photo)

Girl from my middle school class. This was when we were all older, in college. I heard about it through the grapevine from other folks, and there were news stories about it, too, far as memory serves. I’ll call her Jen.

Jen had been clubbing with friends. I don’t remember exactly why she left the club alone—there was some reason—but, drunk and disoriented, she ended up wandering down the road alone in the middle of the night. She was missing for a couple of days, but it was worse when they found her. Dismembered, body parts shoved into trash bags, in a dumpster.

A famous conservative talk show host did a hit piece about it. Saying the way she was dressed, she deserved it. This will probably allow people to find her, but it was Bill O’Reilly back in the days of his radio show. I don’t think I’ve ever truly, viscerally hated anyone like I hate that man.

I knew Jen because she was the first person to invite me to her birthday party after I transferred into her school. I was a weird, dorky kid with no friends and she included me. I had so much fun that day, it’s one of my happiest memories. And she gave that to me. Boils my blood to this day, what happened to her, the media spin around it. She deserved so much better. Rest in peace, Jen.


Image source: qwertykitty, artin Dalsgaard/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

I had a friend go missing at 17 years old. She took a walk with her dog and her dog made it home but she vanished seemingly without a trace. There was a massive search for weeks, her picture made it to national news channels with video of her parents crying and begging for information.

The dark truth was that her parents were quiverful fundamental Christians in the worst way and she was the oldest daughter. She couldn’t live as a parentified slave anymore so she ran away. Her father was always extremely controlling and I don’t fault her at all for vanishing in the way she did. She got caught awhile later because she logged on to Facebook at a public library.

As far as I know, she got emancipated and as she brought so much “public shame” to her parents, I expect they didn’t want her back. I never saw her again and I hope she’s out there living her best life.


Image source: Old-Soul-Void, Brady Knoll/Pexels (not the actual photo)

Her name was Scarlet Jean Russo. She went missing in 1986 in Jacksonville, Florida. She was a sex worker and my best friend. Her car was found with the interior bloody. There wasn’t much of an investigation. Girls like her… you know the excuses. She has never been found to my knowledge.


Image source: DanielTheEunuch, rivage/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My cousin (who I barely knew) disappeared along with his car, leaving behind a large blood stain in his apartment. Right from the start his roommates were suspects but several years passed and his body was still missing. The case was featured on unsolved mysteries or America’s most wanted or one of those and a tip came in giving the location of his car in a nearby river. His body was found in the trunk, and the roommates confessed and went to prison.


Image source: 40_degree_rain, Scott Rodgerson/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

When I was a kid a friend of mine was kidnapped by his dad. The mom got custody and the dad just showed up one day and took him. It was devastating for everyone, especially the mom and brother (yeah idk why he only took one kid). After about 5 years of police investigations and the mom having to change her legal name and go into hiding, they finally found him and got him back home. He was safe, but he was really quiet for a few years after he got back. I have no idea what happened during that time. What I do know is that he seems incredibly well adjusted now and last I heard he’s happily married.


Image source: SkysEevee, Benjamin Voros/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My best friend.

She was abandoned by her mother when we were in middle school, then her previously absent father reappeared and suddenly took her away. Nobody was able to get into contact or find their location.  Basically disappeared into thin ait.

We reunited when we were 21.  My friend had been in an abusive situation for many years.  When she escaped, she had to lay low until she was sure she was safe and wouldn’t be found.  Only then could she reach out to me.  .


Image source: katiebrandt1, Yvette de Wit/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

A family friend went to a Metallica concert, during intermission she went out to have a cigarette and the venue wouldn’t let her back in. There’s footage of her walking through the parking lot and then she wasn’t seen again. The ended up finding her body a year or so later, and through DNA, connected it to another r*pe/murder. Because of that DNA they found the guy who did it. It was awful. Morgan was her name and she was beautiful and talented and had her whole life ahead of her.


Image source: exploringthefuture, Taylor Nicole/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My cousin ran away when he was 16 years old (1976). He learn how to get a new identity by watching a “60 minutes” (US) episode.

I did searches from time to time during the early days of the internet. Way before Google. One day, his name popped up.

I called the number but the person did not know who or what I was talking about. I mentioned that I was his cousin and left my name & phone number.

A couple of days later, he called me. Good conversation. With my cousin permission, I reached out to his brother & dad. They all had hours long conversations and we all had a nice family reunion.

My cousin had an interesting life and passed away last year.


A family friend went for a hike on Thanksgiving day years ago. He was an experienced outdoorsman and wanted to get a quick hike in before dinner. An unexpected snowstorm rolled in that day and he became disoriented in the storm. He called 911 for help and was instructed to stay put for them to send search and rescue to try to find him. When they went out on the trail, he was nowhere to be found. The storm was so bad they suspended search efforts. They looked some after it ended but didn’t find him anywhere. The next spring, search and rescue was training cadaver dogs in a steep canyon and came across human remains which ended up being my friend. He had taken a tremendous fall from a cliff and perished.

Image source: friskypony93


Image source: talibob, Tamara Bellis/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My cousin was kidnapped on her way to school. It was over 20 years ago and she’s not been found.


Image source: BagWonderful734, Pixabay/Pexels (not the actual photo)

Guy I went to school with and kind of grew up around (his mom is one of my mom’s best friends), went missing in 2010 on his way home. Police and search parties searched everywhere looking for him and his truck. He had to pass over a bridge to get to his house, so it should be noted that the lakes were searched by divers and dragging the lake as well. 4 years later (2014) the water levels were very low and someone called in saying they saw a tire sticking out of the surface of the water near the bridge he would have had to cross to get home. It was him and his truck.
At least the family got some closure after 4 long, excruciating years.


Image source: trowzerss, Rana Sawalha/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

Family we went camping with a lot, the dad went missing for weeks.

Turns out he’d run off with his secretary. His male secretary. This was in the 80s, so it was a huge scandal for a small town. I don’t think he ever came back to the town again, and I’m not even sure if his kids have any contact with him. It kind of makes me sad to think maybe he was gay the whole time and felt like he just couldn’t. It’s a pity he had to wreck his whole family’s life to get away.


Image source: Whooptidooh, Chennawit U/Unslpash (not the actual photo)

When my cousin and her husband (and kids) went on a vacation to Curaçao (around 35C that time of year) a few years ago. The area is covered in thick jungle, and it was made clear to everyone who went there that you ***needed*** (or was required) to stay on the paths. He decided to go for an evening stroll while the rest stayed at their cabin. Took a one liter bottle of water and his phone with him (nearly no reception as soon as you walked into the bush), some gum and went off path anyway (because he probably got curious.) Search and rescue were busy doing their searches (along with volunteers) around a large area, and he was found five days after he went missing about two kilometers from where he went off path. He died from a heat induced heart attack, but was probably already completely unconscious before that happened due to dehydration. He was 47.


Image source: horsodoggo, Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My sibling ran away in the middle of the night summer before our senior year of high school. Woke up and saw they were gone, called the police and filed a report. Found out they had been picked up by one of their (adult) internet friends they met on discord, and then flown across the country to live with their other adult internet friends. Was a total of 6 months before we could get them out of there (went absolutely radio silent for the last 4 months), and they ended up missing the entirety of senior year. Fortunately they’re doing well now.


Image source: annabelle6784, Marília Castelli/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My friend went missing right after Christmas 2017 in FL and is still missing.

He called me the week prior and sounded panicky. I was super busy at work and told him I’d call him back when I got home in an hour. Well, I got busy with kids, dinner and the normal family stuff and totally forgot to call him back. To this day I feel like he was calling for help and I let him down.


Image source: phatjuulclouds, wbd

My mom was in the same Girl Scout troop as Amber Hagerman, the girl in which amber alert is named after. They spent the 4 days it took to find her putting up posters and searching nonstop, where she was eventually found in a ditch. Unfortunately, her abductor was never found.


Image source: New_Salamander7173, Tobias Rademacher/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

A neighbor’s son vanished while jogging in our neighborhood. He was an avid runner and it was unlike him to not come back on time. Days turned into a frantic search involving the entire community. Unfortunately, his body was found in a nearby river. An investigation revealed he had been struck by a hit-and-run driver and his body was dumped to hide the crime. The perpetrator was eventually caught, but it was a devastating loss for his family.


Image source: SweetCupcakeey, Tra Nguyen/Unsplash (not the actual photo)

My brother’s middle school teacher. He just didn’t show up to school one day, which was very unusual. The school scrambled to find a substitute for him, because they had no notice. We had a whole-school meeting like two days later when he was officially missing where they told us all about it. He left the house that morning as usual, according to his wife later said. He was never seen again. Many search parties were organized, and people looked for months, but they never found him. He is still officially missing today.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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cases of missing people, missing, missing cases, missing people, missing people stories
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