Reddit user yourlastnames asked: 'what missing persons case is the most confusing / doesn’t add up?'
Content warning: suicide.
There are truly some strange unsolved cases out there, but there's nothing quite like hearing of a person who has vanished as if out of thin air.
While some of these cases have been explained away or even solved, there are some that remain a mystery that truly does not add up, no matter how the puzzle pieces fall.
Curious about these cases, in particular, Redditor yourlastnames asked:
"What missing persons case is the most confusing [to you] or just doesn't add up?"
The Last Ride of Terrance Williams
"Terrance Williams disappeared in 2004. He's the subject of a fascinating podcast called 'The Last Ride.'"
"The short version is that he was taken into custody in Naples, Florida, after being pulled over in the early hours for traffic violations. He was never seen again."
"The deputy that pulled him over tried to conceal the traffic stop even from his own organization, but staff opening a local business saw the whole thing."
"When the sheriff's department finally looked into it, they discovered the deputy was involved in a similar disappearance of a man named Felipe Santos in 2003. To this day the deputy claims no knowledge of Williams's whereabouts, despite being caught out in a series of lies."
Paddy Moriarty and Kellie
"Paddy Moriarty and his dog, Kellie. They went missing in an outback town in Australia with a population of 12 people."
"They were last seen leaving the pub riding his quad bike the one-kilometer distance to his house. He or his dog have never been found and no one has been charged in relation to his disappearance."
Susan Powell and Family
"Susan Powell went missing from her home in West Valley, Utah, on December 6, 2009."
"She is presumably dead. Her husband, Josh, was the main suspect and just a real piece of work. No one knows what really happened to her."
"Sadly in 2012, Josh murdered their kids and committed suicide after Susan’s parents gained custody of the kids."
"This case is so frustrating since his brother and father are both dead too. We’ll never know what happened to Susan, but I’m positive she’s in an old mine shaft somewhere. F**k Josh Powell."
The Last Call from Brandon Swanson
"Brandon Swanson. He drove into a ditch and called his parents for help. They stayed on the phone with him for 47 minutes while they drove around looking for him."
"They heard him say, 'Oh s**t,' and then the phone went silent. They eventually found his car far away from where he said he was but he was never found."
"Reading this was absolutely chilling. It seems at first glance that it's most likely he drowned, but that really doesn't make sense because the water was only 10 feet deep and they would have found the body."
"He just suddenly said, 'OH S**T!' and the phone went silent, but he did not hang up. The phone call continued with total silence from his end. What the f**k happened to him?"
Babysitter Mar Lou Bostwick
"Mary Lou Bostwick. She disappeared July 18, 1972, from Waverly, New York. She was dropped off by her dad to babysit at a friend's house. This was also her 16th birthday. Her mom stopped by later with a cake and presents."
"The people in the apartment told her that Mary never showed up. However, her bag was in the residence. Nothing else was ever found."
"There was another girl around the same age, Sharon Coston, who was abducted and murdered in a nearby town about a year later. October 1983 in Sayre, Pennsylvania."
"There was a man convicted of that, but he always denied doing anything to Mary. One of the people who testified against him and was given immunity was a suspect in Mary's case. Mary's mom thinks there's a connection, but nothing was ever really found."
"I've sadly never seen anyone cover her disappearance on any of the podcasts or YouTube shows."
Derek Seehausen of San Diego
"Derek Seehausen. My friend was dating him at the time of his disappearance, and he was actively planning his future in medicine, and was last seen in San Diego."
"I saw him about two months before he disappeared. Please send any tips."
The Beaumont Children
"The Beaumont Children. Three kids go to the beach, are seen with a mystery man, and never make it back home."
"Never found out who the man was or where they went. Their parents just recently died without ever getting any closure."
Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes
"Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes. The whole family (parents and four kids) went missing overnight in 2011."
"Employers, schools, and the extended family received weird letters informing of their absence or departure (one of them saying they are going into a witness protection program). Two weeks later they found the corpses of the mother, the kids, and the dog hidden behind the house."
"They investigated and retraced the father’s whereabouts in the south of France. He was last seen leaving a hotel a few days before. The region was thoroughly searched, but he was never to be found."
Branson Perry of Skidmore
"Branson Perry, aged 20, disappeared from Skidmore, Missouri in April 2001."
"He was working on his house with a friend, went to the shed to grab some power cords, and was never seen again."
The Incomplete Story of Marshall Iwassa
"Marshall Iwassa. Good guy."
"He came back to his hometown to visit his family and friends, and everything by all accounts was good. He left to take the two-hour drive to where he was living and never made it. Instead, it was recorded he spent the entire night trying to get into his storage unit and then nothing."
"A week or maybe more, his truck was found 12 hours away on a back road in the middle of the woods burnt to a crisp with belongings thrown about everywhere, no sign of Marshal."
"From what I remember, the family was adamant that some of the things inside the truck, burnt or not, were missing, things they knew he had. The truck was even missing parts."
"It's been four years and there's never been answers. It makes me sad and fearful of long travels. From what I know of him, he was a fantastic friend; I hope they get closure one day."
Out Shopping Asha Degree
"She went missing at the age of nine from Shelby, North Carolina, United States. In the early morning hours of February 14, 2000, for reasons unknown, she packed her bookbag, left her family home north of the city, and began walking along nearby North Carolina Highway 18 despite heavy rain and wind."
"Several passing motorists saw her; when one turned around at a point 1.3 miles (2.1 km) from her home and began to approach her, she left the roadside and ran into a wooded area."
"In the morning, her parents discovered her missing from her bedroom. No one has seen her since."
The Vanishing Marion Barter
"Marion Barter here in Australia."
"She boarded a plane overseas in 1997 and changed her name beforehand (didn't tell family). She apparently came back to Australia for a few days (according to passenger records) and completely disappeared."
"It's an ongoing investigation at the moment, there is a podcast about it called, 'The Lady Vanishes,' featuring her daughter."
"It's so tragically fascinating."
The Grieving Bryce Laspisa
"He was driving to his parents' house (three hours) after an argument with his girlfriend, apparently due to his alcohol and video game addiction and abuse of prescription medication."
"Partway through the drive, he pulled off the highway and just sat there… from 9:00 AM to 3:'00 PM."
"A roadside assistance guy checked on him twice and said he seemed fine and coherent, and Bryce told him he would be carrying on back to his parents shortly."
"Sometime later, his car was found only a few miles away, driven off the embankment, and he was nowhere to be found. They never found him."
News Anchor Jodi Huisentruit
"Jodi Huisentruit was a news anchor who disappeared in the early morning in Mason City, Iowa."
"There were signs that she was abducted and the investigation is still ongoing with new leads nearly 30 years later."
Three-Year-Old William Tyrrell
"William Tyrrell. In 2014, the three-year-old boy went missing from his foster grandmother's yard whilst playing with his sister. His foster mother and foster grandmother were apparently watching them play outside, and the foster mother went inside to make a cup of tea."
"They then noticed they hadn’t seen or heard him in a while and searched the house and yard."
"In 2021, police began searching national parkland near the grandmother's home for human remains. They also revealed that the foster mother and grandmother were persons of interest in his presumed death."
"Earlier today, the foster mother pled not guilty to assaulting another foster child that was in her care (a 10-year-old girl). She has also been charged with intimidating and stalking a minor. Her husband has also been charged with the same crimes, but plead not guilty to all counts. The foster grandmother is now dead."
"Basically, police believe that William died whilst in the care of the foster family, and they disposed of his body to cover it up. Police are recommending that the foster parents be charged with perverting the course of justice and interfering with a corpse."
"His photos went viral at the time of the 'disappearance,' and he went missing whilst in a Spiderman costume, and the photo that was distributed was taken minutes before."
These stories are truly haunting, and it's no wonder that Redditors have worried themselves with what might have happened to these missing people.
We can only hope that answers come for at least some of these cases and that their closest loved ones achieve some sense of closure eventually.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
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.
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.
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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