According to one study, 90,000 people are missing in the United States at any given time. Many of these people are found (whether alive or dead), but some remain missing to this very day.
What must it be like to carry the weight of knowing that you were the last person to see someone before they disappeared?
That's the question at the heart of the inquiry by Redditor Maverick_Hunter_V, who asked "Redditors who were the final people to see a missing person, have they been found? And how has their disappearance affected you?"
Warning: Sensitive material ahead.
"Way back in the early 90s..."
Way back in the early 90s, I was traveling (spent a year traveling around the world), and at the time I was working in a youth hostel in Greece, on Santorini. I had talked about traveling together with a friend from home but we ended up doing our own trips - well 6 months into the trip I meet up with him in Santorini. We hang out for like a week, and he's continuing on eastward, and I was going west.
Like two days later his flight crashed in the Himalayas near Nepal, all 200+ people on board died. I wasn't the last person to see him, but was the last person from our home who did. After it happened, I wrote a long letter to his parents and family telling them about our week together on Santorini, and sent some pictures of us- these would be the last pictures his family had of him. The parents were too hurt to acknowledge my letter, I understand, but his sister wrote me and thanked me. That was 28 years ago.
"Back in junior high..."
Back in junior year of high school for me, I knew a guy who was in his senior year and I knew him because we worked together at a school job we did.
While working we were talking and he was telling me about how he's gonna go hang out with his friends after work etc. Didn't think much of it.
Next day its reported that he was killed in a drive by shooting, this was two weeks before he graduated high school. I was the last person who had talked to him, before he got into his car to drive to wherever he went.
Not only myself, my school and especially his close friends became devastated and following was the proper things such as a funeral and such.
During graduation ceremony his name was announced and everyone was asked for a moment of silence as his father walked down the aisle in his position. Truly saddening.
It's been two years almost now and his Instagram and other social media are still up, I occasionally pull it up from time to time to look at it.
Miss you bud.
"A very close family friend..."
A very close family friend that was dealing with the loss of his oldest son, who had committed suicide a few weeks earlier. It was hard on all of us, as they both worked with us on our farm. And I had known the son and the father since I was 3-4 years old. He came over for dinner on a Sunday night. He was supposed to come back over Monday morning, to help out with farm work. It would be his first day back working since the loss of his son.
4 days go by and he never showed up, we figured it was because he was dealing with his personal drama, and didn't read much into it. Although we did reach out several times, and went by his house on the 2nd day since we'd seen him.
That Friday we were informed by his ex wife (who was contacted by authorities) that he had killed himself in his truck several miles outside of town in the middle of a field. He had left our home Sunday night and ended his life just an hour or so later.
I sometimes feel like our family did not do enough to console him, and that maybe we didn't realize just how much he was struggling in life, it weighs on me occasionally. Especially around the time where both of the tragedies occurred. It was a great loss to me and I have never properly dealt with the emotions.
"He went missing on a hike..."
My childhood best friend is currently missing since August 30th. I live in a different state now, but my last text to him was about classic wow and playing it together.
I still don't know how it's affecting me, but I miss him so much.
He went missing on a hike, so my only message to people is please try not to hike solo. If you are please let multiple people know of your plans.
"There was the daughter..."
There was the daughter of my mom's friend. She has a mental disorder. I don't know much about her other than that she's 20+ but because of her disorder she's like a kid.
So she was missing the day after her and her mom visited us. After 3 days of search messages and police looking for her news came. She was in Turkey, and got married.
We live in the Netherlands so yeah... Quite impressive to pull that one off.
Turkish and Dutch police are investigating if she was tricked or did this willingly cause there's a lot of unclear things.
"Eventually, he texted me..."
One of my best friends found out his wife was cheating on him. He went ballistic, grabbed his gun and took off to parts unknown.
Both the police and I went looking for him for several hours but couldn't find him.
Eventually, he texted me saying he loved me and where we could find his body.
Which we did.
I was the last person he ever spoke to in life.
Next year will be the tenth anniversary of his death and while admittedly I don't think about him every single day, I do think about him and that horrible day a few times each month. Worse, I live in a rural area where lots of people have the same build and wear much of the same clothing he did, so I will occasionally see close doppelgangers of him walking around and it never fails to flood me with emotion.
My friend also ruined "Across the Universe" by the Beatles. He and I were big fans of the group and that was his favorite song of theirs, so it got played a lot at his viewing. Now, I can't listen to it. The last time I happened to be watching a movie that featured the song, I started crying without even realizing I'd started.
"I was one of the last people..."
I was one of the last people to see a kid who lived across the street before she was kidnapped. Our neighbors across the street were raising their grandchild because their child (kid's parent) was on drugs. The kid was about 6-8 years younger than me and I used to babysit her sometimes, and she would come over and play with me and my siblings. When I was around 14 and she was around 8, several men broke into the house and kidnapped her. I had babysat her the night before, and I can't remember if she was home alone or if one of the grandparents was there.
The police found her about 10-12 days later. Her mother owed a lot of money for drugs and so some of the drug dealers tracked down her kid and kidnapped her to try to get the mother to pay them. I never learned the details of what happened while she was kidnapped, and she has gotten therapy and is now married with kids.
"A friend in college..."
A friend in college had left a party we were at because he had remembered he left his jacket in another persons dorm. Nobody heard from him the following day; most figured he was drunk and just passed out somewhere. I even left a voicemail on his phone like "Where are you? LOL hope you aren't dead!" Days turned into weeks, there were campus-wide man-hunts with hundred of volunteers... his body finally turned up in an electrical closet 6 weeks later. Accidental electrocution.
"My aunt is missing..."
My aunt is missing in the Florida Keys. I don't know who else to turn to. It's a case of no body, no crime. She went scuba diving with her husband. He resurfaced and she did not. We have a lot of questions. Like why her husband refused to turn over the boat GPS. Unfortunately, they are closing the case.
I wasn't the last one but one of the last few.
He was a close friend of mine, practically family. It last the last period of the school day, we sat next to each other and would always goof off. I still remember it clear as day, he asked me if he could come over and hang out. That whole hour he talked about how he didn't want to go home that his parents were being "Total asses" or something like that, I remember thinking nothing of it really and then, I made a decision that I still regret to this day. I told him I had a bunch of stuff to do after school which was a lie. I remember the bell ringing and I do not remember if he said something like "I will see you later." or something like that.
I got a text from his brother late that night asking if I had seen him. I told him "No, he asked if he could come over but that was the last I saw him." I tried to call my friend but no answer and then I texted him asking if he was okay to which I never got a response. The school was on edge for those next few days, his family wasn't responding to anyone and I grew extremely worried.
I can't remember if it was two or three days but they finally found him, self inflicted gunshot wound. I still wonder what would've happened if I didn't lie, just told him "Yes, let's hang out man."