List of people who disappeared mysteriously

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This is a list of people who disappeared mysteriously, and whose current whereabouts are unknown or whose deaths are not substantiated, as well as a few cases of people whose disappearance was notable and remained mysterious for a long time, but was eventually explained.


Before 1800[edit]

  • 71 BC – Although he was presumed killed in battle during the Third Servile War, the body of the rebel slave Spartacus was never found and his fate remains unknown.[1]
  • 53 BC – Ambiorix was, together with Catuvolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of northeastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. According to the writer Florus (iii.10.8), Ambiorix and his men managed to cross the Rhine and disappeared without a trace.
  • 108–164 – Legio IX Hispana (Ninth Spanish Legion) was a legion said to have disappeared in Britain during the Roman conquest of Britain, although archaeology has shown the legion was subsequently transferred to mainland Europe.[2] Many references to the legion have been made in subsequent works of fiction.[3]
  • 378 – Roman Emperor Valens was defeated by the Goths at the Battle of Adrianople (modern Edirne, Turkey). The body of Valens was never found.
  • 834 (circa) – Muhammad ibn Qasim (al-Alawi) led a rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate but was defeated and detained. He was able to flee but was never heard from again.
  • 1021 – Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (36), sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam, rode his donkey to the Muqattam hills outside Cairo for one of his regular nocturnal meditation outings and failed to return. A search found only the donkey and his bloodstained garments.[4]
  • 1071 – Hereward the Wake was a formerly exiled Anglo-Danish minor noble rebel who led a huge revolt in the marshy region of Ely in England against the rule of William the Conqueror. Eventually betrayed by fearful local monks who led the Norman troops through secret trackways, many rebels were mutilated or executed, but Hereward escaped, never to be heard of again.
  • 1203 – Arthur, Duke of Brittany, an heir to the throne of England. He was supported by French nobility who did not want John of England as overlord. On 31 July 1202, while besieging his grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine, Arthur was surprised and captured by John's barons and imprisoned at Falaise in Normandy. The following year, Arthur was transferred to Rouen and then vanished mysteriously in April 1203.
  • 1291 (circa) – Vandino and Ugolino Vivaldi, Genoese sailors and explorers lost while attempting the first oceanic journey from Europe to Asia.[5]
  • 1412 – Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales, instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England in 1400. Although initially successful, the uprising was eventually put down, but Glyndŵr disappeared and was never captured, betrayed, or tempted by royal pardons.[6]
  • 1483 – The Princes in the Tower, Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, first duke of York (9), sons of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, were placed in the Tower of London (which at that time served as a fortress and a royal palace as well as a prison) by their uncle Richard III of England.[7] Neither was ever seen in public again and their fate remains unknown.
  • 1499 – John Cabot, Italian explorer, disappeared along with his five ships during an expedition to find a western route from Europe to Asia.[8]
  • 1501 – Gaspar Corte-Real, Portuguese explorer, disappeared on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia. Two of his ships returned to Lisbon, but the third, with Gaspar on board, was lost and never heard from again.[9]
  • 1502 – Miguel Corte-Real, Portuguese explorer, disappeared while searching for his brother Gaspar. Like his brother, he took three ships, and as with his brother, the ship with Miguel on board was lost and never heard from again.[10]
  • 1526 – Francisco de Hoces, Spanish sailor, was commander of the San Lesmes, one of the seven ships of the Loaísa Expedition under García Jofre de Loaísa. It has been speculated that San Lesmes, last seen in the Pacific in late May, may have reached Easter Island or any of the Polynesian archipelagos, or even New Zealand.[11][12]
  • 1546 – Francisco de Orellana, Spanish explorer and conquistador, disappeared while exploring the Amazon in November. His fate remains a mystery.
  • 1578 – Sebastian of Portugal, Portuguese King, whose body was never found after the Battle of Alcácer Quibir; many Portuguese came to believe that Sebastian had survived the battle and would return to claim his throne. The belief arose that Sebastian could return at any moment to help Portugal in its darkest hour.
  • 1590 – The Roanoke colonists disappeared, becoming known as The Lost Colony, in 18 August 1590, when their settlement was found abandoned.[13]
  • 1611 – Henry Hudson was an English explorer and seafarer. He discovered New York Harbor for the Dutch East India Company. In 1611, mutineers set him, his son, and six others adrift in a small boat in what is now Hudson Bay. They were never seen again.
  • 1628 – David Thompson, Founder of New Hampshire in 1623. He moved his family to an island in Boston Harbor (today called Thompson Island in his honor) in 1626, becoming the first European settlers of Boston, Massachusetts. He disappeared in 1628 and was never heard from again. Some historians theorize he was the victim of foul play. Others suggest he accidentally drowned in Boston Harbor.
  • 1652 – Maurice von der Pfalz (31), brother of Prince Rupert of the Rhine. During the English Civil War, Rupert's fleet was destroyed in a terrible storm south of Puerto Rico. All ships except two were lost, among them Prince Maurice's ship Defiance. Neither he nor the ship was ever found.
  • 1696 – Henry Every was an English pirate who vanished after perpetrating one of the most profitable pirate raids in history; despite a worldwide manhunt and an enormous bounty on his head, Every was never heard from again.
  • 1788 – Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, daughter of a wealthy plantation owner on the French island of Martinique. After being sent to a convent school in France, she was returning home in July or August 1788 when the ship she was on vanished at sea. It is thought that the ship was attacked and taken by Barbary pirates. It has been suggested that she was enslaved and eventually sent to Istanbul as a gift to the Ottoman sultan by the Bey of Algiers. It is unconfirmed if she was the same person as Naksh-i-Dil Haseki, consort of the sultan.
  • 1788 – The French expedition of Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse disappeared after a last stop off Botany Bay (near what is now Sydney, Australia). The wrecks of the expedition's two ships were subsequently discovered near Vanikoro, where the survivors may have set up a camp.

1800 to 1899[edit]

  • 1803 – George Bass (32), was a British explorer of Australia, who set sail from Sydney for South America and was never heard from again.[14]
  • 1809 – Benjamin Bathurst (25), a British diplomat, disappeared from an inn in Perleberg.
  • 1812 – Theodosia Burr Alston (29), daughter of U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr and sometimes called the most educated American woman of her day, sailed from Georgetown, South Carolina, aboard the Patriot, which was never seen again.
  • 1826 – William Morgan (52), resident of Batavia, New York, disappeared just before his book critical of Freemasonry was published.
  • 1829 – John Lansing, Jr. (75), an American politician, left his Manhattan hotel to mail a letter at a New York City dock and was never seen again.
  • 1843 – Sequoyah (circa 73), the creator of Cherokee syllabary, disappeared during a trip to Mexico to locate isolated tribes of Cherokees who had moved there during the time of Indian Removal in the U.S. His body has never been found, although at least three different burial sites have been reported.
  • 1845 – Franklin's lost expedition, with more than 100 seamen, made last contact with a whaling ship before entering Victoria Strait in search of the Northwest Passage. Although the remains of some individuals were later discovered, the majority of corpses were never found, and the exact reason for their demise remains a mystery.
  • 1848 – Khachatur Abovian (38), an Armenian writer and national public figure of the early 19th century, credited as creator of modern Armenian literature, left his house early one morning and was never heard from again.
  • 1848 – Ludwig Leichhardt (34), Prussian explorer and naturalist, disappeared during his third major expedition to explore parts of northern and central Australia. He was last seen on 3 April at McPherson's Station on the Darling Downs, en route from the Condamine River to the Swan River. His fate after moving inland, although investigated by many, remains a mystery.
  • 1849 – Sándor Petőfi (26), Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary, was one of the key figures of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Petőfi was last seen in Transylvania during the Battle of Segesvár. Although different theories and rumours abound about his supposed death or deportation to Siberia, neither his body nor genuine records to support the theories were ever found.
  • 1857 – Solomon Northup (48–49?), American author, is most notable for his book Twelve Years a Slave, in which he details his kidnapping and subsequent sale into slavery. Northup did not return to his family from his book-promoting tour. No contemporary evidence documents Northup after 1857. Historians are divided on whether Northup was kidnapped once again and sold back into slavery or simply died of natural causes.
  • 1865 – Captain James William Boyd (43), a Confederate States of America military officer, vanished after his release as a prisoner of war in February 1865, as he failed to show up for a rendezvous with his son to go to Mexico at the end of the American Civil War. Boyd’s disappearance was at the center of a conspiracy theory that he was killed in the place of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.[15]
  • 1872 – Captain Benjamin Briggs (37), his wife Sarah Elizabeth (31), their daughter Sophia Matilda (2), and all seven crew members were missing when the Mary Celeste was found adrift in choppy seas some 400 miles (640 km) east of the Azores. Their unexplained disappearances are at the core of "one of the most durable mysteries in nautical history".[16]
  • 1880s – William Cantelo, inventor of an early machine gun, never returned to his Southampton home after one of his frequent and lengthy sales trips. His sons speculated years later that he may have re-emerged as Hiram Maxim, another machine-gun pioneer, whom he strongly resembled.[17]
  • 1880 – Lamont Young, a government geologist inspecting new gold fields on behalf of the New South Wales Mines Department, together with his assistant, Max Schneider, boat owner Thomas Towers, and two other men, all disappeared near Bermagui, New South Wales, Australia.[18] The location where the abandoned wreck of their boat was discovered was subsequently named Mystery Bay.[19]
  • 1888 – Boston Corbett (56), the Union Army soldier who fatally shot John Wilkes Booth, later went insane and was incarcerated in a mental asylum in 1887. He escaped from the facility a year later and was never seen again, though some historians suspect he may have perished in the Great Hinckley Fire of September 1, 1894.[20][21]
  • 1890 – Louis Le Prince (48), motion picture pioneer, disappeared after boarding a Paris-bound train at Dijon, France.
  • 1896 – Albert Jennings Fountain (57) and his son Henry (8) disappeared near Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States.

1900s[edit]

1910s[edit]

  • 1910 – Dorothy Arnold (25), Manhattan socialite and perfume heiress, vanished after buying a book in New York City. She intended to walk through Central Park, but was never seen again.[23]
  • 1912 – Bobby Dunbar (4) disappeared during a fishing trip in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. A child found in the custody of William Cantwell Walters of Mississippi some eight months later was ruled to be Bobby Dunbar by a court-appointed arbiter, and Walters was found guilty of kidnapping. The child grew up as Bobby Dunbar, had four children of his own, and died in 1966. In 2004, DNA tests proved that the child found was not related to Bobby Dunbar's brother, Alonzo.[24]
  • 1914 – Ambrose Bierce (71), American writer known for "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and The Devil's Dictionary, was last heard from in a letter of December 1913 bearing a Chihuahua postmark to his secretary and companion, Carrie Christiansen. Although alternative theories are plentiful,[25] he almost certainly perished in war-torn Mexico, possibly at the Battle of Ojinaga on 10 February,[26] or perhaps was executed as a spy in the municipal cemetery of Sierra Mojada, Coahuila, where a gravestone bearing his name was erected in 2004.[27]
  • 1914 – F. Lewis Clark (52), businessman from the U.S. state of Idaho, disappeared while visiting Santa Barbara, California.
  • 1914 – František Gellner (33), Czech poet, was recruited to the Austro-Hungarian Army at the beginning of World War I and went to Galicia, where he disappeared.[28][29]
  • 1914 – Alejandro Bello Silva (27), a lieutenant in the Chilean Army, disappeared during a qualifying examination flight over central Chile. Although search efforts commenced within hours, no trace was ever found. His disappearance is reflected in a Chilean set phrase, "more lost than Lieutenant Bello", applied to people who stray off course or disappear en route.
  • 1916 – Béla Kiss (39) was a Hungarian serial killer who murdered 24 young women prior to his enrollment in the Austro-Hungarian Army in the First World War. Upon the discovery of his crimes, he was traced to a Serbian military hospital but escaped a few days before investigators arrived. Although there were several reported sightings of the killer (notably in New York in 1932), his true fate remains a mystery.
  • 1917 – The crew of the Zebrina disappeared during a short trip across the English Channel to France.[30]
  • 1918 – USS Cyclops, a collier, left Barbados on March 4 and was lost with 309 crew and passengers en route to Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1918 – Arthur Cravan (31), French proto-dadaist writer and art critic, disappeared near Salina Cruz, Mexico; he most likely drowned.[citation needed]
  • 1919 – Mansell Richard James (25), a Canadian flying ace, was last seen in western Massachusetts on 2 June, just days after a record-setting flight between Atlantic City and Boston.[31]
  • 1919 – Ambrose Small (56), a Canadian millionaire, disappeared from his office. He was last seen at 5:30 pm on December 2, 1919, at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.[32]

1920s[edit]

  • 1920 – Victor Grayson (39), British socialist politician, received a phone call and told his friends that he had to go to the Queen's Hotel in Leicester Square and would be back shortly. He was last seen entering a house owned by Maundy Gregory.
  • 1921 – The captain and crew of the Carroll A. Deering, which was found beached near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
  • 1921 – Charles Whittlesey (37), American soldier and Medal of Honor recipient who led the "Lost Battalion" in World War I. He was last seen on the evening of November 26, 1921, on a passenger ship bound from New York City to Havana, and is presumed to have committed suicide by jumping overboard.
  • 1924 – Andrew Irvine (22), English mountaineer who took part in British Mount Everest Expedition 1924. He and his climbing partner George Mallory disappeared somewhere high on the mountain's northeast ridge. Though Mallory's body was found in 1999, the search for Irvine's continues to this day.
  • 1925 – Percy Fawcett (58), British archaeologist and explorer, together with his eldest son, Jack, and friend Raleigh Rimmell, was last seen travelling into the jungle of Mato Grosso in Brazil to search for a hidden city called the Lost City of Z. Several unconfirmed sightings and many conflicting reports and theories explaining their disappearance followed, but despite the loss of over 100 lives in more than a dozen follow-up expeditions and the recovery of some of Fawcett's belongings, their fate remains a mystery.[33]
  • 1925 – Frederick McDonald, Australian politician, set off from Martin Place, Sydney, for a meeting with Jack Lang two blocks away but failed to arrive. He was possibly murdered by his political rival Thomas Ley. In 1947, Ley was convicted at the Old Bailey of "the chalkpit murder" of a barman in England and sentenced to hang but was then declared insane and sent to Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital, where he died of a cerebral hemorrhage two months later.[34]
  • 1926 – Agatha Christie, the British crime writer, famously disappeared, and although she was located 10 days later in a Yorkshire health spa, the actual reason for her disappearance remains a mystery.[35]
  • 1927 – Charles Nungesser (45), French aviator, and his navigator, François Coli (45), disappeared while attempting a flight from Paris to New York. They are presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic, or possibly in Newfoundland or Maine, but no wreckage that could be confirmed to be from their biplane, The White Bird, was ever found.
  • 1928 – Walter Collins (9) disappeared from his Los Angeles home.[36] His disappearance and the attempt by the Los Angeles police department to convince his mother that a different boy was her son formed the basis of the 2008 film Changeling.
  • 1928 – Glen and Bessie Hyde (29 & 22), American newlyweds, disappeared while attempting to raft the Colorado River rapids of the Grand Canyon.
  • 1928 – Roald Amundsen, Norwegian Arctic explorer and the first man to reach the South Pole, disappeared on a search-and-rescue mission in the Arctic.
  • 1928 – The Danish sailtraining vessel København ("Copenhagen") vanished en route from Buenos Aires to Australia sometime between December 1928 and January 1929 with the loss of 14 crew and 45 cadets, some of whom were as young as 16 years old.

1930s[edit]

  • 1930 – Joseph Force Crater (41), an associate justice of the New York Supreme Court, was last seen on August 6 after a meal at a restaurant. Judge Crater was never seen or heard from again. (His mistress, Sally Lou Ritz (22), was falsely said to have disappeared a few weeks later, but was interviewed by police as late as July 1937.[37]) Crater's disappearance, which prompted one of the most sensational manhunts of the 20th century,[38] was the subject of widespread media attention and a grand jury investigation. Crater was declared legally dead in 1939 and his missing persons file was officially closed in 1979; however, cold case squad detectives have investigated new leads as recently as 2005.[39] To "pull a Crater" became slang for a person vanishing.[40]
  • 1933 – C. B. Johnston (c. 38), American college athlete and coach.[41]
  • 1934 – Wallace Fard Muhammad (43), founder of the Nation of Islam, left Detroit and was never heard from again.[42]
  • 1934 – Everett Ruess (20), a young American artist, disappeared while travelling through the deserts of Utah.
  • 1935 – Charles Kingsford Smith (38), Australian pioneer aviator, and co-pilot Tommy Pethybridge disappeared during an overnight flight from Allahabad, India, to Singapore while attempting to break the England-Australia speed record. Eighteen months later, Burmese fishermen found an undercarriage leg and wheel (with its tire still inflated) on the shoreline of Aye Island in the Andaman Sea, 3 km (2 mi) off the southeast coastline of Burma, which Lockheed confirmed to be from their Lockheed Altair, the Lady Southern Cross. Botanists who examined the weeds clinging to it estimated that the aircraft itself lies not far from the island at a depth of approximately 15 fathoms (90 ft; 27 m).[43] A filmmaker claimed to have located Lady Southern Cross on the seabed in February 2009.[44]
  • 1937 – Amelia Earhart (39), famous American aviatrix; she was the first woman to try a circumnavigational flight of the globe. During the attempt she and her navigator, Fred Noonan (44), disappeared over the central Pacific in the vicinity of Howland Island, July 2.
  • 1937 – Sigizmund Levanevsky (35), famous Soviet aviator, together with his crew of five and their Bolkhovitinov DB-A aircraft, disappeared in the vicinity of the North Pole after reporting loss of power from one of their four Mikulin AM-34 engines while attempting to prove a transpolar route between Asia and North America commercially viable.[45]
  • 1937 – Juliet Stuart Poyntz (50), was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), and a founding member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). After resigning from active work with the Party, she disappeared in 1937, never to be seen again. She is believed by several sources to have been abducted and murdered by a Soviet NKVD assassination squad.
  • 1937 – Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe (24 & 28) escaped from Alcatraz prison in the U.S. state of California and disappeared. Authorities presumed that they drowned, but no bodies were ever recovered.
  • 1938 – Ettore Majorana (31), Italian physicist, disappeared during a boat trip from Naples to Palermo.
  • 1938 – Andrew Carnegie Whitfield (28), nephew of U.S. steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, disappeared during a solo morning flight in a small light aircraft from Roosevelt Field, New York, on Long Island to an airfield at Brentwood, approximately 22 miles away.
  • 1938 – Willie McLean (34), an American soccer player who played in the 1934 World Cup. His family received occasional Mother's Day cards for several years afterwards, purportedly from McLean.
  • 1939 – Barbara Newhall Follett (25) was an American child prodigy novelist. Her first novel, The House Without Windows, was published in 1927 when she was thirteen years old. Her next novel, The Voyage of the Norman D., received critical acclaim when she was fourteen. In 1939, aged 25, she became depressed with her marriage and walked out of her apartment with just thirty dollars. She was never seen again.[46]
  • 1939 – Lloyd L. Gaines (28) was the central figure in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada an early success for the U.S. civil rights movement. One evening, he left his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity house in Chicago, having told the housekeeper he was going to buy some stamps, and was never seen or heard from again. Some accounts suggest he was living in New York or Mexico City in the late 1940s.[47]
  • 1939 – Richard Halliburton, missing at sea since March 1939 after trying to sail Sea Dragon (a gaudily decorated, 75-foot Chinese junk) across the Pacific Ocean. In 1945, some wreckage identified as a rudder and believed to belong to the Sea Dragon washed ashore in California.

1940s[edit]

1941[edit]

1944[edit]

  • Glenn Miller (40), the popular American jazz musician and bandleader, was en route from England to France on December 15, 1944, to play for troops in recently liberated Paris when the single–engined Noorduyn Norseman aircraft in which he was a passenger disappeared over the English Channel. The plane and those on board have never been located. As a U.S. military officer who vanished in wartime, Miller continues to be listed officially as missing in action.
  • Rocco Perri (born 30 December 1887, date of death unknown, last seen alive 23 April 1944) was an organized crime figure in Ontario, Canada, in the early 20th century.
  • Szilveszter Matuska, Hungarian mass-murderer known as "The Train Killer", escaped from jail in 1944 and was never recaptured.
  • Herschel Grynszpan (22), Jewish exile from Germany whose 1938 assassination of diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris was the trigger for Kristallnacht. For various reasons, largely legal delays, a planned trial was never held in either France or (after 1940) Germany, while Grynszpan was held in various prisons and concentration camps. Adolf Eichmann testified at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem that he had interrogated Grynszpan in Magdeburg in either late 1943 or early 1944; after that there is no record of his whereabouts or ultimate fate. The West German government had him declared legally dead in 1960.[48]
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (44), French author and aviator, last seen when flying a reconnaissance mission out of Corsica in preparation for the Allied invasion of Southern France. The remains of his aircraft, found at sea off Marseille, would be identified in 2004.

1945[edit]

  • Heinrich Müller (45), Nazi Gestapo chief, last confirmed sighting in the Führerbunker on the evening of May 1, 1945. His CIA file and related documents state that while the record is "...inconclusive on Müller's ultimate fate... [he] most likely died in Berlin in early May 1945."[49]
  • Raoul Wallenberg (32), Swedish diplomat credited with saving the lives of at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, was arrested on espionage charges in Budapest following the arrival of the Soviet army. His subsequent fate remains a mystery despite hundreds of purported sightings in Soviet prisons, some as recent as the 1980s. In 2001, after 10 years of research, a Swedish-Russian panel concluded that Wallenberg probably died or was executed in Soviet custody on July 17, 1947, but to date no hard evidence has been found to confirm this.[50] In 2010, evidence from Russian archives surfaced suggesting he was alive after the presumed execution date.[51]
  • Constanze Manziarly (25), cook and dietitian to Adolf Hitler, disappeared while escaping Berlin following the Soviet invasion and fall of Nazi Germany. She was believed to have been shot by Soviet soldiers in an U-Bahn subway tunnel.[52]
  • Alfred Partikel (57), German painter of East Prussian origin, vanished while picking mushrooms in the woods near the artist's colony of Ahrenshoop, Darß, Western Pomerania. His remains have never been found.
  • Supriyadi (22) was an Indonesian national hero. On 6 October 1945, in a government decree issued by the newly independent Indonesia, Supriyadi was named Minister for Public Security in the first cabinet. However, he failed to appear and was replaced on 20 October by ad interim minister Muhammad Soeljoadikusuma. To this day his fate remains unknown.[53][54]
  • Genrikh Lyushkov (45), high-level Soviet defector and former Far East NKVD chief. A participant in the Great Purge, he fled to avoid what he believed would be arrest and execution into the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. After his defection, he became a military consultant and analyst for the Imperial Japanese Army. He disappeared during the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and was reported as being last seen in a crowded train station in Dairen (Dalian). Several theories exist about his fate, but he is presumed to have died in 1945, killed either by Soviet or Japanese forces.[55]

1946[edit]

1947[edit]

  • In the aftermath of the 1947 Glazier–Higgins–Woodward tornadoes, 4-year-old Joan Gay Croft and her sister Jerri were among refugees taking shelter in a basement hallway of the Woodward hospital. As officials sent the injured to different hospitals in the area, two men took Joan away, saying they were taking her to Oklahoma City. She was never seen again. Over the years, several women have come forth saying they suspect they might be Joan. None of their claims have been verified.[58][59]

1948[edit]

1949[edit]

  • Jean Spangler (26), American dancer, model and bit-part actress, disappeared in October 1949 from Los Angeles, California. Last seen by her sister-in-law before going to meet her ex-husband. Two days later her purse was found near the entrance gate to Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1970[edit]

1971[edit]

1972[edit]

  • Hale Boggs (58), US House Majority Leader (D-LA), and Nick Begich (40), U.S. Representative from Alaska, disappeared with their Cessna 310 in Alaska, along with Begich's aide Russell Brown and pilot Don Jonz, presumably on October 16.
  • Zahir Raihan (36), Bangladeshi filmmaker, went looking for his brother Shahidullah Kaiser and never returned.

1973[edit]

  • Anna Christian Waters (5), disappeared from her backyard.
  • Joanne Ratcliffe (11) and Kirsty Gordon (4) attended a football match at Adelaide Oval in South Australia, and then disappeared.
  • Civil rights activist Perry Ray Robinson (35) disappeared during the Wounded Knee Incident in South Dakota. It is believed that he was killed, perhaps executed for violating some of the terms of the occupiers, and he has been declared legally dead although his body has never been located. His family has sued the government to force the release of information, some of which seems to confirm that he was killed during the standoff.[76]

1974[edit]

1975[edit]

Disappearance of the Lyon Sisters in 1975 from a Washington D.C. suburban mall

1976[edit]

1977[edit]

  • Donald Mackay (43), Australian anti-drugs campaigner, was possibly murdered after providing information to police which resulted in what was then the biggest drugs bust in Australian history.[81][82]
  • Helen Brach (65), was an American multi-millionairess widow who disappeared on February 17, 1977 and was declared legally dead in May 1984.

1978[edit]

1979[edit]

  • Etan Patz (6), disappeared while on his way to school in lower Manhattan. By 2001, he was considered legally dead. He was the first missing child featured on a milk carton.[87] In May 2012, authorities re-opened the case.[88] Pedro Hernandez, 51, was charged with second-degree murder in the 1979 death of Etan Patz, based largely on a signed confession he gave after he spoke voluntarily to detectives for hours, according to police. However, Patz's body, which Hernandez said he put in the trash, has not been recovered.
  • Ian Mackintosh, creator and writer of The Sandbaggers British television series, was flying with two others over the Gulf of Alaska in a light aircraft in July 1979. The plane sent out a distress signal, which was picked up by the United States Coast Guard. The plane's last-known position was searched, but no wreckage of the plane was ever found, and its passengers have not been heard from since.[89]
  • Martin Allen, 15-year-old British boy disappeared while travelling home on the London Underground. Despite a large-scale police operation at the time of his disappearance and a renewed appeal in 2009, no trace of Allen was ever found and his fate remains unknown.

1980s[edit]

1980[edit]

  • Azaria Chamberlain, nine-week-old Australian baby girl. Her remains have never been found. Azaria's mother Lindy Chamberlain insisted that a dingo took her baby from her camping tent near Uluru. In a trial sensationalised by the media, Lindy was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life. Her sentence was overturned six years later when Azaria's jacket was found in a dingo lair. Azaria's disappearance was the subject of four inquests, the last of which, in 2012, concurred that a dingo had taken and killed her.[90] Azaria's disappearance and the subsequent police investigation were the basis for the 1988 motion picture Evil Angels (released as A Cry in the Dark outside of Australia and New Zealand[91]).
  • Louise and Charmian Faulkner, mother (43) and daughter (2), disappeared from outside their home in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia.

1981[edit]

  • Katrice Lee disappeared from a NAAFI shopping complex in Schloß Neuhaus, Paderborn in West Germany on 28 November 1981, the day of her second birthday.

1982[edit]

  • Johnny Gosch (12) was reported missing to West Des Moines Police Department[92] by his parents after he disappeared while delivering newspapers. At that time, there was a customary three-day waiting period before police responded to missing persons reports. Gosch was never heard from again, but his case prompted new laws for Iowa and other states, resulting in missing persons reports involving children being given immediate attention.[93]
  • Tony Jones (20) disappeared on 3 November from Townsville, Queensland while backpacking around Australia.

1983[edit]

1984[edit]

  • Kevin Andrew Collins (10) disappeared while returning home alone from basketball practice at his school in the Haight district of San Francisco. His was one of the first of the "Have you seen me?" milk carton photos.
  • Edward L. Montoro (52) motion picture producer/distributor, disappeared after taking more than $1 million from his own company, Film Ventures International. It was speculated that he fled to Mexico, but his whereabouts to this day have been undetermined.

1985[edit]

  • Cherrie Mahan (8), disappeared on February 22, 1985 after getting off a school bus along a road in rural Winfield Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
  • Boris Weisfeiler (43), U.S. mathematician, disappeared in the Biobío Region of Chile during a solo hiking trip.[95] Chilean authorities originally concluded that he drowned, but documents released by the United States Department of State in 2000 included a 1986 memo suggesting he may be a captive "somewhere in Chile (probably Colonia Dignidad)", and a 1987 account by a CIA source claiming that Weisfeiler had been interrogated and fatally beaten by a Chilean army patrol.[96]
  • Vladimir Alexandrov, Russian physicist, disappeared while attending a nuclear winter conference in Madrid.[97]
  • Christopher Dale Flannery, a famous figure of the Australian underworld and an alleged hitman who was responsible for numerous murders, exited his apartment in May 1985 to meet with his employer and was never seen again.
  • Diane Suzuki (19), dancer and student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa disappeared on July 6, 1985
  • Andrew Fluegelman (41), was a publisher, photographer, programmer and attorney best known as a pioneer of what is now known as the "shareware" business model for software marketing. On the afternoon of July 6, 1985, he left his office in Tiburon, California. A week later, his abandoned car was found at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco. His family held a memorial service for Fluegelman, and he is presumed dead, though his body has never been found.
  • Cotah Ramaswami (89), Indian cricketer who played in India's first test match in 1932. He walked out of his home in Chennai, India on October 15, 1985 and was never seen again.[98]

1986[edit]

  • Suzy Lamplugh (25), British estate agent, disappeared from Fulham, west London. In 1994, she was declared dead, presumed murdered. Despite further police investigations in 1998 and 2000, no trace of her has ever been found.
  • Philip Cairns (13), Irish schoolboy, disappeared in October 1986 on his way back to school after going home for lunch. His schoolbag was found abandoned in a previously searched lane near his house a few days later, but there has been no trace of Philip, and no arrests have ever been made in connection with the case.

1987[edit]

  • Federico Caffè (73), Italian economist, suddenly disappeared on the dawn of April 15, shortly after quitting university teaching. He was declared dead on October 30, 1998. The mystery of his disappearance has not been solved.

1988[edit]

  • Ron Arad (30), Israeli jet-fighter navigator, was under Israeli intelligence sight from October 16, 1986 (the day he was captured by Amal Shiite forces in southern Lebanon), and until the early hours of May 4, 1988 (coincidentally his 30th birthday), when he abruptly vanished from the house he was held in, at the village of Nebbi Shiit. Several speculations regarding his fate and whereabouts have been made since, involving both Iran and Syria, but no hard piece of evidence to support these claims has been found to date.
  • Tara Calico (19), disappeared near her home in Belen, New Mexico on September 20, 1988. A Polaroid photo of a boy and girl, bound and gagged, surfaced on June 15, 1989. The girl has been identified by some as Tara Calico.

1989[edit]

  • Jacob Wetterling (11) was abducted by a masked gunman while cycling home in the dark with his brother Trevor (10) and friend Aaron (11) after going to rent a video from a convenience store a 10-minute ride away from his home in St. Joseph, Minnesota.[99]
  • Melissa Brannen (5) disappeared from the Woodside Apartments in Lorton, Virginia, while attending a party held at the complex for its residents.

1990s[edit]

1990[edit]

1991[edit]

  • Ben Needham, a 21-month-old boy, disappeared from the island of Kos in Greece on July 24. He has never been found. It was believed Ben was abducted, and several suspects in Kos and Veria were suggested as being responsible, but no one was ever charged with abduction.
  • Michael Dunahee (4) disappeared from a school playground in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. His parents were nearby, but no witnesses to his presumed abduction have ever been identified, and there have been no subsequent confirmed sightings of him.[100]

1992[edit]

  • The Springfield Three, Sherrill Levitt (47), her daughter Suzie Streeter (19), and Suzie's friend Stacy McCall (18), disappeared from Levitt's home in Springfield, Missouri. Suzie and Stacy had graduated from Kickapoo High School the day before, and had arrived at Levitt's home at around 2:00 am after a graduation party. It is being investigated as an apparent triple disappearance.[101]

1994[edit]

  • Michael Anthony Hughes (6) was kidnapped from his school in Choctaw, Oklahoma, by his stepfather Franklin Delano Floyd.[102] Authorities have received conflicting reports from Floyd as to whether Hughes was murdered or is still alive and safe in the custody of an undisclosed caregiver. Hughes' mother died several years prior to his abduction. In addition to being his wife, she was raised by Floyd from an early age and was herself a kidnap victim.[102]
  • Ylenia Carrisi (23), Italian TV celebrity, the daughter of singers Albano Carrisi and Romina Power and the granddaughter of the American actor Tyrone Power, disappeared during a vacation in New Orleans.

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

  • Kristin Smart (19), a student at California Polytechnic State University, disappeared after leaving a party. As a result of her disappearance, Cal Poly received criticism for not treating Smart's disappearance as a potential crime, and possibly pertinent evidence was destroyed when the university allowed students' rooms to be cleaned before police investigated.
  • Sarah Spiers (18) disappeared after leaving a nightclub in Claremont, Western Australia, in January, 1996. Her body has never been found. Almost six months later, Jane Rimmer, 23, disappeared from the same part of Claremont. Her remains were found in a southern Perth suburb in August, 1996. A third victim, Ciara Glennon (27), also disappeared from Claremont in March, 1997, with her remains being found three weeks later in a northern Perth suburb. The cases became known as the Claremont serial murders.

1997[edit]

1998[edit]

2000s[edit]

2000[edit]

  • Zebb Quinn (20), disappeared January 2, 2000 in Asheville, North Carolina after receiving a page from his aunt's phone number. She denies paging him, but told police that her home was broken into during that time frame. Nothing was stolen from her home, but items were moved around. His car resurfaced two weeks after his disappearance when it was mysteriously parked in front of his mother's workplace with a live puppy inside and a large set of lips drawn on the window.
  • Bruno Manser (45), a Swiss-born activist who fervently campaigned for the preservation of rainforests in Sarawak, was last seen in May, 2000, in the isolated village of Bareo in Sarawak, near the border with Indonesia. He was declared legally dead in March, 2005.
  • Rilya Wilson (4) was a foster child of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) who was last seen in 2000. Because she was not discovered missing until 2002, she became the centerpoint of an investigation into neglect and mismanagement in the organization.

2001[edit]

  • Jason Jolkowski (19), a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, disappeared on June 13. His parents subsequently founded Project Jason, a nonprofit organization that assists families of missing persons.
  • Sneha Anne Philip (31) was an Indian-American physician last seen on September 10, 2001, on surveillance camera footage from a store near her Lower Manhattan apartment. Due to the proximity of the World Trade Center and her medical training, her family believes she perished trying to help victims of the next day's terrorist attack. A court has agreed and she is officially considered to have died that way. The ruling was not unanimous, and no proof of her death has ever been found.[112]

2002[edit]

2003[edit]

  • Ben Charles Padilla (50), a licensed aircraft mechanic, flight engineer, and pilot of small airplanes, was on board Boeing 727-223 designation N844AA when it was stolen from Luanda, Angola, on 25 May and has not been heard from since.[113]
  • Reda Helal, an Egyptian journalist. In 11 August 2003, he disappeared en route from Al-Ahram Newspaper's offices to his home in downtown Cairo. He was presumably kidnapped.
  • Felipe Santos (24) Last seen being arrested for driving without a license after a traffic accident early on October 1 outside Naples, Florida by Collier County sheriff's deputy Steve Calkins. Jail records show he was never booked. Calkins claimed to have changed his mind and left Santos at a nearby Circle K convenience store. Three months later, another man, Terrance Williams, disappeared after being arrested by the same police officer.[114]

2004[edit]

2005[edit]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

  • Jim Gray (63), database pioneer, Microsoft Research scientist, and Turing Award winner, left San Francisco Bay in his 12 m (39 ft) sailboat Tenacious to scatter his mother's ashes at the Farallon Islands, a wildlife refuge 43 km (27 mi) away, and was reported missing when he failed to return later the same day. No Mayday call was heard, his distress radiobeacon was not activated, and, despite one of the most ambitious search and rescue missions of all time, no trace of Gray or his yacht has ever been found.[123] In 2012 he was declared legally dead.[124]
  • Kaz II, a 9.8 m (32 ft) catamaran, was found adrift with its three-man crew, owner Derek Batten (56) and brothers Peter Tunstead (69) and James Tunstead (63), missing. The yacht's sails were up and its engine running, and the global positioning system showed the yacht had been drifting since around the time of their last known radio contact, about 11 hours after they departed Shute Harbour for Townsville, Queensland, five days earlier.[125]
  • Madeleine McCann (3) disappeared after being left asleep in the unlocked ground-floor bedroom of her family's rented holiday apartment in the Algarve (Portugal) while her parents dined with friends at a local restaurant. There have been no confirmed sightings of her since then.[126]
  • Aeryn M. J. Gillern (34), an American research assistant at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, disappeared under mysterious circumstances after a night out on the town.
  • Andrew McAuley (born 7 August 1968; presumed dead 9–12 February 2007) was an Australian adventurer best known for mountaineering and sea kayaking in remote parts of the world. He is presumed to have died following his disappearance at sea while attempting to kayak 1600 km across the Tasman Sea in February 2007.

2008[edit]

  • Amy Fitzpatrick (15), an Irish-born teenager, was last seen in Mijas Costa in Málaga, Spain. She had been babysitting with a friend on New Year's Eve. Amy left at about 10:10pm that night and never arrived home, only a short distance away. She has not been seen or heard from since. Investigators are working on her case.

2009[edit]

  • Jure Šterk (72) regularly communicated with radio amateurs while sailing around the world, but all communications ceased around January 1, 2009, as reported by an Australian ham radio operator.[127] His sailboat Lunatic was spotted on January 26 by a merchant vessel, the Aida, and it appeared abandoned. It was found adrift and abandoned on April 30, 2009, by the crew of science vessel RV Roger Revelle.[128]
  • Claudia Lawrence (35) was last seen on March 18, 2009, near Heworth in York, England.
  • Susan Powell (28) disappeared from her home in Utah in the United States under suspicious circumstances in December, 2009.
  • Jim Robinson (84), a former professional boxer notable for his bout with Muhammad Ali in 1961, disappeared from the Overtown district of Miami. ESPN and autograph collectors have failed to locate him.
  • Craig Arnold (41), American poet, disappeared after a hike on the Japanese island Kuchinoerabu-jima. He is presumed to have died in a fall from a high cliff, but the body has never been found.

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

  • Alessia and Livia Schepp (6) from St. Sulpice, a suburb of Lausanne, Switzerland, were twin sisters picked up for the weekend from their mother's home by their father, Mathias Kaspar Schepp, on January 28, 2011. The father was found dead a few days later, having apparently committed suicide.
  • Rebecca Coriam (24), a crewmember aboard the cruise ship Disney Wonder, was last seen on March 22, 2011, when a security camera in the crew lounge recorded her having an upsetting telephone conversation. Some reports suggest she went overboard, but there is other evidence that she may have been alive in the following May.
  • Lauren Spierer (20), a student at Indiana University, disappeared in Bloomington, Indiana, on June 3, after a night of partying at a local bar. Her disappearance generated national press coverage.
  • Lisa Irwin (2) was reported missing from her home in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 4, 2011.
  • Daniel Lind Lagerlöf (42), a Swedish director and screenwriter, disappeared at Tjurpannans Nature Reserve outside Tanumshede in Sweden during preparations for the filming of Camilla Läckberg's Fjällbackamorden – Strandriddaren. The search for him was suspended after two days without result.[130]
  • Erica Parsons (13), last seen by persons outside her family in 2011, said to be with her grandmother who investigators can find no evidence of. Her parents are suspected but have never been charged.

2012[edit]

  • Guma Aguiar (35), Brazilian-born American industrialist and part-owner of Israel's Beitar Jerusalem football club, was last seen leaving his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 19. The next day his fishing boat, the T.T. Zion, was found with lights on and engines running, having gone aground on a local beach. His wallet and cell phone were on board. Two weeks of searches failed to find any trace of him.[131]

Solved cases[edit]

This is a list of people who were previously listed above but have since been located.

  • The physicist Margie Profet ceased contact with her family in 2002 and had last been seen in 2005. In May 2012 she was told by a friend about her "disappearance" and contacted her family. She had been living in an isolated location, suffering from a physical ailment that caused her severe pain, and had not realized she was considered "missing".[132][133]
  • Daniel Morcombe disappeared from the roadside near his Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, home in 2003. His remains were found in 2011; Brett Peter Cowan was convicted of murder in the case.
  • Russian media magnate Leonid Rozhetskin disappeared from his home in Jūrmala, Latvia, in 2008, widely assumed to be the victim of a political murder plot.[134] His remains were found in a Latvian forest in 2012 and positively identified in November 2013.[135]
  • Holly Bobo disappeared from her home in Parsons, Tennessee in 2011. Her skull was found in September 2014.
  • Hannah Graham was last seen at the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 13, 2014. Her remains were found on October 18, 2014. Jesse Matthew was charged of her abduction.
  • Gavin Smith (57), an executive with 20th Century Fox, was last seen leaving a friend's house in Oak Park, California, on May 1, 2012.[136] In 2014 he was declared legally dead from the night of his disappearance.[137] His body was found later that year by hikers in a rural area near Angeles National Forest.[138]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]

Media related to Disappeared people at Wikimedia Commons