People Who Personally Knew Someone That Went Missing Break Down What Happened
StockSnap from Pixabay

WARNING: some sensitive material ahead

There is something so unnerving about disappearances.

There are so many stories out there about people who went out one day, never to be seen again.

What must that be like for those left behind to ponder what happened, to go through life without any closure or definitive answers?

Redditor ikalwewe asked the online community:

"Redditors who personally knew someone who went missing, what happened?"

"He went missing from a small town..."

Jacob Wetterling was a friend of mine. He went missing from a small town in MN in 1989. A guy in a car approached three kids and asked their age. They told him and he told two of them to leave and Jacob to get in the car. He was never seen again. Remains were found in 2016 of an 11-year-old believed to be him. His mom had become an advocate for missing child laws and the Wetterling Act.


An interesting fact:

Jacob Wetterling's parents, Jerry and Patty Wetterling, formed the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, an advocacy group for children's safety, just a few months after their son disappeared. The Jacob Wetterling Act, which instituted a state sex-offender registry, became federal law in 1994.

"The country where she went missing..."

An acquaintance from college who is legally blind and loved to travel went missing while visiting South America. She is of South American descent and speaks Spanish, but something must have happened to her. The country where she went missing and the U.S. have investigated and her family has gone there to look, but there are no leads. She just vanished.


How horrible.

I can imagine it's all the more devastating when you just don't know.

"I think about it a lot."

The younger sister of a girl I knew in my hometown went missing while riding her bike home late at night back in 2012. She was 21 or 22 at the time. Really pretty, vivacious girl. The whole community was upset over it.

They found her smashed-up bike a week or so later 25 miles or so from where she was last seen. She rode past several businesses on her way home, so there was a lot of video surveillance footage. Police tracked down a truck that seemed like it was following her.

The owner of the truck was arrested and they found her body about a week later. She apparently put up a good fight when she was abducted - her killer checked into the hospital the next day with multiple stab wounds. He confessed to the crime in exchange for no chance of getting the death penalty and said that she pepper-sprayed him as well. I remember her sister talking to the press while she was missing saying, "Keep an eye out for someone that looks beat up, like they got in a fight". She knew her sister would go down swinging.

Really sad story, I think about it a lot. It's a college town and it wasn't uncommon at all for young adults to walk or bike home after a night out. At her age, my friends and I were doing the same thing. I feel like the city was never really the same after she was killed.


And truthfully, how could it be?

At the very least, this person was arrested and taken off the streets. However, that is by no means a balm for the family that has to live with the loss.

"Her car turned up..."

A friend and co-worker of my mom's just didn't make it home from work one night. Her car turned up beside a dirt roadway outside town a few weeks later with her purse still in it. This was in the early-mid 80s, so there was no cell phone to track, no indication she stopped anywhere with security cameras, she was just gone.

Her skeletal remains were found by a hunter in a completely different place from her car about 2 years later, and as far as I know, I'm pretty sure her murder is still unsolved today.



This is scary to read and honestly, it's an example of what a lot of people would find baffling today. It's quite difficult to just disappear but it still happens (and at the time this crime took place, it was much easier to do or get away with).

"Nobody is sure..."

My cousin's toddler disappeared somewhere between eight to ten years ago, having been last seen by a neighbour wandering on the road in front of their house. This is a small village where most everyone knows everyone else, but it's very racially divided (natives vs immigrants). One of the neighbours said they saw a truck owned by a couple of natives with poor reputations drive slowly by the house right around the time the little girl (immigrant) went missing.

Nobody is sure what happened, but the child was found days later, dead, in a field about two miles from the house. This was a baby less than two years old.


A child taken away.

For many parents, there is no greater pain. And a crime like this ultimately leaves a stain on a community.

"He went to San Diego..."

A cousin left his wife and a newborn boy, which he claimed was not his, in our Midwestern state. He went to San Diego, worked his way through law school, passed the California bar on the first try. Mid-nineties he's living with a girlfriend helping her prepare for the bar exam. By the end of the decade, he's vanished, none of us family know what happened to him.


Side note:

My own family experienced something similar, though this story involves an aunt of mine. She pretty much vanished and we heard nothing from her for over 12 years. We didn't have an idea of where to find her. It turned out she was in the same city but had been dealing with mental health problems that contributed to her falling off the map.

"A hunter found her remains..."

8-year-old kid. She took a shortcut between her house and the neighbors' (rural area). Her sister and friend made it home but she never did. The army was in town for the entire summer and they had heat-seeking helicopters looking for her. A hunter found her remains outside the search area 5 months later. Super sad.


And no one was able to figure out what happened?

Terribly sad for everyone involved.

"One day his wife reported..."

Local man went missing. Town of 300 and he hitch-hiked from one side to the other every single day because nobody's works and he was a bored 65-year-old.

One day his wife reported that he'd never come home. It wasn't entirely impossible that he'd huddled in the woods for the night, but after two days without his heart meds, they assumed the worst.

His body has still not been found, but a guy was arrested four weeks later after his ditched truck was found in a random place. There was blood on the front that he claimed to be moose blood, but it turned out to be Andy's blood. He had run him over and didn't know what to do, so he drove his body to the causeway and dumped him into the ocean. RIP Andy.


This is horrific. To hit and run (and attempt to cover up the crime) is egregious.

"We hired a PI..."

My uncle went missing. He was kind of the black sheep of the family. Stole money, he was an alcoholic, absentee father. It didn't raise too many questions initially. A missing person's report was filed, but nothing was really done due to his track record. We hired a PI, and they traced where he ended up. He'd been murdered by his then-girlfriend and the girlfriend's son. Legal proceedings are still going on over a decade later.


It is sadly not astonishing that legal proceedings are still going on.

Legal battles can take years and the court system can revictimize families. We extend our condolences.

"He went hunting..."

Good friend of mine disappeared 12 years ago. He went hunting with a couple of good friends of ours and one morning they woke up and he was just gone. His tent was perfectly fine and it didn't even look like he had slept that night. His truck, rifle, and dog were still there, but he was gone. The only thing he took was his knife and .44 Magnum. We spent a full month looking and never found a trace. Four years ago I went back and I found him. He had probably gone to take a sh!t and fell into a cave. He had lived for maybe two weeks before he died. His funeral was in 2018.


These stories are heartbreaking...

...but they are sadly a reality for far too many people out there. Remember, even when you read the paper or watch a true crime documentary, that the people being discussed were often once part of a family and had people who loved them.

If you have your own stories to share, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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