Top 15 People Who Mysteriously Vanished Without a Trace15. Patrick Warren and David Spencer
A double disappearance took the UK by storm in 1996, when two friends, David Spencer and Patrick Warren, ages 13 and 11, respectively, mysteriously vanished near Solihull. It was Boxing Day, when the boys said they were heading out to hang out with one of Patrick’s brothers. The brother lived in Chelmsley Wood, which was not too far off.
The pair was seen throughout the afternoon, at one point playing on a frozen lake with some other kids. The last time they were spotted was at Chelmsley Wood’s Shell petrol station. It was nearly midnight, and they bought some biscuits. What happened to the boys after they purchased the midnight snack, we’ll never know.
Some believe that a man who was convicted five years later for taking the life of another schoolboy may have had a hand in the boys’ disappearances. The man in question, Brian Field, lived near the boys’ homes, but he claims he had nothing to do with Patrick or David. So what happened to the boys? Maybe time will tell.
14. Mona Blade
In other international news, we turn to the mysterious disappearance of New Zealand native, Mona Blades. At 18 years old on May 31st, 1975, Mona vanished en route to Hastings from Hamilton. She was headed there to visit her family on Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend. The thing is, she was hitchhiking – a pretty clear no-no in most peoples’ books…that is, anyone that doesn’t want to vanish into thin air. She was picked up by a motorist in an orange Datsun 120Y station wagon. She was never seen or heard from again.
Three days later, she was reported missing when she didn’t show up to a job for which she was recently hired. One suspect was sought in the case, but when the police dug up the floorboards of the suspect Mervyn Hinton’s house, they discovered nothing. The case is still open today. For upwards of forty years, the woman’s disappearance has stumped authorities. For those of us just learning about Mona, the mystery may stump us for forty more.
13. Asha Degree
Asha disappeared without a trace from her home in Shelby, North Carolina sometime after 2:30 A.M. in 2000. When her mother, Iquilla, awoke the next morning to find Asha gone from her bed, she searched the house and called her sister-in-law who lived across the street. Asha was nowhere to be found. “That’s when I went into panic mode,” Iquilla said. “I heard a car next door ... I put shoes on and ran outside.” At first glance, the case seemed to be that of a runaway. But why she would have run, no one knows. She was younger than most runaways and had no known motive to leave her home. Her family was loving, and their life revolved around relatives, school, and church. Her grades were good. There was nothing to escape.
What we do know is that early on February, 14th, 2000, Asha packed her bookbag and headed out in the windy rain, walking alongside Highway 18. Witnesses claim to have seen the girl walking about 1.3 miles from her home but, once approached, she raced into the woods. Since that moment, Asha vanished. A Mickey Mouse hair bow, pencil and marker were discovered at a shed along the highway. Other than that, all they found of Asha was her bookbag, discovered at a construction site near the highway wrapped in a plastic bag. It held personal items and several sets of clothes.
The search was called off after 9,000 man hours turned up nothing. “We have never really had that first good, substantial lead,” County Sheriff Dan Crawford said. But the Degrees try to keep their daughter’s case alive. Every year, they hold a walk to the billboard they’ve erected, asking for any information on Asha’s whereabouts. Many believe that, rather than running away, Asha was taken. However, the Degrees are hopeful that their daughter is still living. “I fully expect her to walk through the door,” her mother said.
12. Baby Sabrina
Nothing is more heartbreaking than when a baby goes missing. And when they disappear without a trace, the child’s parents live a life of uncertainty. Is Sabrina still alive? Where is she now? Sabrina Aisenberg disappeared on a night in 1997 from her Florida home. As with most missing child cases, Sabrina’s parents were suspects. They even wiretapped the Aisenbergs’ home and made a case against them.
Charges were filed in 1999, alleging false statements and conspiracy by the couple. The federal judge, in turn, said the detectives were lying, and in 2001, all charges were dismissed against the Aisenbergs. Imagine being falsely accused for your own child’s disappearance. The Aisenbergs believe that Sabrina was taken and raised by a new family. Prior to their baby’s disappearance, they thought they were living in a safe community and would often leave their doors and windows unlocked. They didn’t hear anyone enter the home the night in question.
When they woke the children for school the next day, Marlene Aisenberg found Sabrina and her yellow blanket were gone. “I heard my wife’s screams,” recalled Steve Aisenberg. “We searched in the house, and that’s when my wife noticed the garage door had been left open and even worse, that the door leading from the garage to the laundry room and into our house was wide open.” Sabrina would be 20 years old this year. “We just can’t shake the feeling that Sabrina is alive,” Steve said. “We think that whoever took our daughter did so because they desperately wanted a child of their own. But we want her back. She belongs with us.” A lead matching Sabrina’s description occurred in 2003, but DNA tests proved it false. Nothing more has come of the case. Sabrina is gone without a trace, but the investigation remains open and active.
11. Zebb Quinn
One episode that has troubled those in Asheville, North Carolina for 17 years is that of Zebb Quinn. At the time of his disappearance on January 2nd, 2000, he was 20 years old. The strange part of his story is that prior to his disappearance, he received a page from his aunt’s phone number. The even stranger thing is that his aunt claims she never paged him. Moreover, at the time of the page, his aunt said her house had been broken into.
Nothing was taken, but a lot of items in her home had been moved around and misplaced. Did whoever lead to Zebb’s disappearence page him so that he’d come to his aunt’s home? What happened there? Or is there another explanation for the disturbance? The case gets weirder: two weeks after his disappearance, Zebb’s car was found parked in front of where his mother worked. Large lips were drawn on the window and a puppy was discovered inside the car. Don’t worry, he was alive. But is Zebb? We may never know.
The first mysterious disappearance on the history books goes all the way back to 531 BC, when one of the most central figures of Chinese culture, Laozi, climbed atop a water buffalo and headed into the Western wildlands from mainland China, never to be seen or heard from again. The Chinese sage founded Taoism, a philosophical tradition centered around being in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is the pattern, substance, and source of all in existence.
So the basic principle of Taoism is to live in harmony with everything. Laozi worked in the Zhou dynasty court until he was older and wiser. That’s when he looked around him and saw ingrained corruption and blatant hypocrisy…not much different than what you see today. Disgusted, he decided to leave this place. But before he disappeared without a trace, a border keeper requested that he write the teachings of Taoism. Laozi acquiesced, putting the work down on paper. Then he vanished like fog and mist into the mountains.
9. Orion Williamson
It was July 1854 when a farmer in Selma, Alabama disappeared from his pasture. Orion Williamson had been lounging around on his front porch when he decided to pull his horses in. He stood up, traipsed across the field, and was never seen or heard from again. Orion’s wife and child watched him go, as did his neighbors on the opposite end of the field.
They even waved at him. It was the last time they would. All accounts state that the man simply vanished into thin air. And after witnesses and authorities searched the grounds, that seemed to be the case. There was no hole, no sinking sand, not a single sign pointing to the cause of this man’s mysterious disappearance. Nothing. He was there, and then he was gone. The place was searched using dogs, and journalists tore into the story in Selma, but to no avail. The case of Orion’s disappearance has long gone cold.
8. Joe Keller
It was the summer before Joseph Keller’s sophomore year at Cleveland State Community College. He’d been traveling with friends across the West. They’d visited the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Las Vegas, after which they headed on over to Joe’s relative’s dude ranch in Colorado. But Keller didn’t get to explore the area for long. On July 23, 2015, the day before Keller’s 19th birthday, he disappeared. He’d been out running that day, together with his friend, Collin. The two started out together, but soon Collin, being a cross-country runner, sped ahead. At the time, a fly-fisherman had seen Collin running, but no Joe lagged behind.
After his run, Collin headed back to the ranch to wait for Joe, but when he didn’t show up after an hour, the group knew something was wrong. They began searching. Soon the search party grew to 35. “If he was hurt, he would have heard us,” David Van Berkum, Joe’s uncle, said. “He was either not conscious or not there.” If he’d gotten lost, perhaps Joe had scrambled to higher ground to see if he could find his way. He was in his running gear, so he certainly wasn’t dressed for a night in the wilderness. Luckily, the night was warm, and the search party expected Joe to find his way and return home. Still, the group called the police at 10 P.M., and deputies appeared at midnight, Joe’s birthday.
The search continued, with the focus directed at logical logistics. When Joe still didn’t show, the search expanded. Search dogs, firefighters, volunteers – even with everyone on deck, 200 people on foot and horseback, 15 dogs, an infrared airplane, Joe was never found. After a few days, volunteers abandoned the mission. There were no clues, leads led nowhere. Joe Keller simply vanished. Did he fall and hurt himself? Was he taken? Did some wild animal take him instead? Only Joe knows.
7. The Alaskan Family
Individual cases of disappearances are mysterious enough. Imagine an entire family vanishing into thin air. That’s what happened to an Alaskan family of four in 2014. 37-year-old Brandon Jividen and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Adams, vanished, along with Adams’ three- and five-year old children, Jaracca and Michelle. The family disappeared on May 27th in small-town Kenai. When a neighbor called the police to report the strange absence of the family, who had been missing for days, the police found the couple’s cars parked at the apartment and, inside, nothing amiss.
No sign of forced entry, and nothing suspicious disturbed the scene. The only clue was that the family dog had disappeared along with them. However, a few days later, Lanell Adams, Rebecca’s sister, contacted the police and mentioned that Rebecca had been behaving strangely several days before she and her family disappeared. She told police, “She sounded very distressed. She just told me: ‘Know that I love you,’ and she had to get off the phone very quickly. I asked her, Becca, are you OK?’ She said, ‘Don’t ask me that right now. Just know that I love you.’”
FBI involvement led to search and rescue dogs and search aircraft. Nothing turned up until, in May 2015, scraps of clothing and the remains of a man the police believe to be Brandon Jividen were found in the grass just off a northwest trail short of a mile from the family’s home. Remains of a dog were also found there. Police believe that Brandon took the dog’s life, as well as his girlfriend and her kids. But with such mysterious circumstances and the rest of the family still missing, we may never know what really happened.
6. Maura Murray
In a case that enraptured the nation, 21-year-old Maura Murray vanished from New Hampshire in 2004, never to be seen or heard from again. The nursing student was attending UMass Amherst, when she emailed her professors to let them know she was heading home, because there’d been a passing in the family. She then left in her Saturn sedan, after having packed it with a week’s worth of clothes and toiletries and MapQuest directions to Burlington, Vermont. It was a snowy drive, and Maura left at dark.
She took a turn too quickly and ended up swerving into a snowbank. A motorist pulled up to ask Maura if she wanted help, which she refused. A couple minutes later, the police arrived. But Maura wasn’t there. All they found was a locked car, a cracked windshield, and deployed airbags. It didn’t take long for a full-scale investigation to unfold – search dogs, helicopters, the whole nine yards. Media flocked to the scene, with interviews being done with Maura’s father and her boyfriend, Bill Rausch.
Rausch told Soledad O’Brien from CNN that he’d received a voicemail from a prepaid calling card that night: “I could hear only breathing and then towards the end of the voice mail, I heard what was apparent to be crying and then a whimper, which I’m certain was Maura.” The case was perplexing from the beginning. For one thing, there had been no passing in Maura’s family. She had taken $280 out of her account and purchased drinks that fateful night. She hadn’t told anyone – not her father, not her boyfriend, not her friends – where she was headed.
The case only became more baffling when leads started to roll in. And there were lots of them. Internet message boards had just come into vogue in 2004, and they were blowing up with theories and potential leads. One of Rausch’s friends had made a website about the case, and a cousin of Maura’s had done the same. Armchair sleuths began trying to piece the puzzle together.
But how constructive were these theories? Some thought Maura had faked her own passing and headed to Canada; others believed someone had snatched her on Route 112. Some of these theorists went to investigate the scene. Some – like Joseph Anderson – have become obsessed with the case, spending around five hours a day trying to dig up information. Then there was Butch Atwood. He was driving his school bus home the night of Maura’s disappearance. When he came across the scene, he pulled over and asked Maura if she needed him to call the police.
She told him no and claimed she’d already phoned up AAA. Butch thought that was odd, since there was almost no cell reception in the area. He called the police when he arrived home anyway, which was just a short distance away. In fact, he could see the scene from his house. When police arrived, they found the Saturn soaked in red stains. She’d obviously been drinking, but there was no sign of a struggle, no footprints to follow.
Fred Murray, Maura’s father, believed the police botched his daughter’s case. “It’s freezing cold out,” he said, “there’s a crack in the windshield, there’s a potential head injury, there’s arguably evidence of drinking, which would promote hypothermia. A young person. In a state of shock.
… And you don’t go down the street the way she was going?” The police believe Fred’s anger is misplaced. Fred also closed out a group of volunteers who were helping follow leads. No leads have proven fruitful, however. And Maura Murray remains mysteriously missing to this day.
5. D.B. Cooper
One infamous disappearance is that of D.B. Cooper, the skyjacker. D.B. Cooper is an alias. The man who carries this alias jacked an airplane from Northwest Orient Airlines right out of the clear blue sky. This was the day before Thanksgiving, 1971. Flight 305 departed from Portland and was Seattle-Tacoma bound, when the gentleman by the name of Cooper told a flight attendant that he demanded four parachutes, a refueling truck, and $200,000.
Upon landing, everything went smoothly for Cooper. Not so much for the authorities. He received his ransom, the parachutes, and the refueling truck, and he let the flight’s passengers go. He retained the pilot and some crew members and told them to fly to Mexico City. But they were only 30 minutes into departure when Cooper parachuted out of the plane at 10,000 feet with his ransom in tow.
No one knows where he disappeared to, who he was, or whether or not he landed safety. All anyone can guess is that, if he did, he set foot somewhere near Mount St. Helens in Washington state. D.B. Cooper’s identity remains a mystery…but that hasn’t stopped the FBI and other investigators from trying to solve it. They’ve pointed the finger at everyone from flight attendants to engineering surveyors to copycats to aerospace engineers to old guys who live on boats in San Diego Bay.
To no avail. The identity and subsequent disappearance of D.B. Cooper remains a mystery, and it's unclear if he even survived the jump. Investigators are going off details from the single clue D.B. Cooper left behind: a JCPenney clip-on tie which was found on seat 18E. No wonder he disappeared so successfully. What’s the takeaway from a $3 tie?
4. Jimmy Hoffa
With paparazzi and all the media attention that comes with fame, it’s hard to imagine a famous person disappearing. But the American labor union leader and President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, Jimmy Hoffa, disappeared at age 62 in July, 1975. Hoffa had long been a union activist and, by his mid-20s, had become a significant figure in progressing union interests.
He became vice president and then president on 1958, serving in the role until 1971. In 1964, he nailed down the very first national agreement for teamsters’ rates, and the union grew to its largest membership under his leadership, at a peak of more than 1.5 million. Despite all of these kudos, Hoffa was also known for being involved with underground industries. In 1964, he was convicted of fraud, attempted bribery, and jury tampering and was subsequently sentenced to 13 years in 1967.
This sentence was cut short by none other than Richard Nixon, who pardoned him in 1971, on the terms that he’d resign as union president. Four years later, Hoffa mysteriously vanished. Some suspected that his mob dealings had caught up with him. Others claimed that he was buried at the end zone of the Giants’ original stadium. Many Hoffites continue to follow his story, hoping to sniff out a lead. But the man seems to have left no trace behind.
3. Amy Fitzpatrick
Another international mystery surrounds a 15-year-old Irish girl, Amy Fitzpatrick, who disappeared in 2008 on New Year’s Day in Spain. Staying at the Riviera del Sol in Mijas Costa, Amy was last seen departing her friend’s house, never to be heard from again. What we know of the Irish teen is that Amy despised her stepfather, Dave Mahon, and it seems, for good reason.
Dave went on to take the life of Amy’s brother, Dean, five years after the girl’s disappearance, in 2013. Amy’s friend, Ashley, and Ashley’s mother, Debbie, spoke of Amy’s relationship with Dave. “She was scared of him, and you could tell,” Ashley said. “What were Amy’s words?” Debbie added. “‘He makes my skin crawl’, they were Amy’s words about Dave.” So is Amy’s case a runaway, did someone take her? Or something even more sinister?
Spanish police have never thought Amy was a runaway. For one thing, other than Ashley Rose – whose house she was staying at the night of her disappearance – she knew no one else in Spain. The investigation led to a local bar, and police believe it’s possible that Amy ended up there and was perhaps taken. One suspicious piece of information is that Amy went nowhere without her phone…but the night of her disappearance, she didn’t take it with her.
It was discovered in her family’s apartment, and Ashley claims to have seen her use it that night at her house. “She had an Irish phone which she kept all her contacts on [because her other Spanish phone was smashed],” Ashley said. “She had that phone with her [on the night she disappeared] because she used our house phone to call her mum and she got the number off that phone. I saw her do it.” So if Amy ran away or was taken, how did the phone return to her home? Amy’s disappearance has yet to be solved and perhaps never will be.
2. Lord Lucan
This Lord was a bad man. And bad things are bound to happen to those who deserve them. After he went after a nanny with a lead pipe and then went after his ex-wife, Lady Lucan, the 7th Earl of Lucan, John Bingham, sped off to East Sussex in his Ford Corsair. Bingham was paranoid and obsessive, whom Lady Lucan had divorced. He spied on his ex after they split and melted down the day before after a pet cat that he’d bought for his children had been found with its throat sliced. After these events and his escape, his car was found dripping in red liquid. But Lord Lucan was nowhere to be found.
1. Amelia Earhart
Perhaps one of the most infamous disappearances of all time, Amelia Earhart, the aviator and multi-talented extraordinaire, vanished into thin air at only 39 years old. The aviation pioneer was attempting to complete a round-the-world flight, when somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared on July 2nd, 1937. The subsequent search to find the pair is the most expensive and extensive in American history.
Although plenty of theories floated around about the disappearance, the common belief was that Earhart ran out of fuel in the Electra, and sank near Howland Island in the Pacific. That was the main theory…until this year. A photograph was discovered in the National Archives that turned the Earhart theorists on their heads. The photo shows a look-alike Earhart, alongside a look-alike Noonan on a dock, while a Japanese ship tows a barge carrying something that’s estimated to be 38 feet long, the same dimensions as the Electra.
The photo appears to be undoctored, and NBC News analyst and former executive assistant director for the FBI, Shawn Henry, is confident that Earhart and Noonan do, indeed, appear in the photo. If that’s the case, then it looks like the pair did survive whatever ordeal they’d faced. But did they survive for long? According to some experts, if Earhart was captured by the Japanese, she may have been kept in captivity until her passing.
This is one mysterious disappearance that may have been solved with a photograph, perhaps giving faith to others who’ve lost a loved one without a trace. Thanks for checking out this video. Be sure to subscribe because we upload new countdowns every Tuesday and Saturday. Or if you're still not convinced, here are some of our other videos that I think you'd like.
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