These People Mysteriously Vanished Without a Trace
People who vanish come from all walks of life. While some are wealthy and famous, others lead ordinary lives. What's extraordinary is how each of the following people seemingly disappeared without a trace.
Family and friends left behind can only speculate as to their fate. Did they decide to leave on their own? Did they have accidents, or were they murdered? Read on to learn about some of the most intriguing missing persons cases.
Sean Flynn was the son of film legend Errol Flynn. Like his dad, Flynn appeared in a few swashbuckler films, but he wasn’t interested in acting. Rather than follow in his father’s footsteps, however, Flynn purchased a camera and set off to Southeast Asia to work as a war correspondent.
On December 12, 1910, American socialite Dorothy Arnold vanished in Manhattan. Coming from one of New York's prominent families, the 25-year-old Arnold set off to go dress shopping and was last seen by a shopkeeper and friend. The friend said Arnold planned to stroll through Central Park before heading home.
Hailing from the famed Rockefeller family, Michael Rockefeller was the son of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Rather than becoming a socialite, the 23-year-old Rockefeller set off to photograph and collect the art of New Guinea’s Asmat tribe.
On November 24, 1971, a man walked into Oregon’s Portland International Airport, identified himself as "Dan Cooper" and purchased a ticket to Seattle on Northwest Orient Airlines. After takeoff, he handed a note to a flight attendant and said, "Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb."
No one knows what became of John Lake. The 37-year-old, cigar-chomping Newsweek sports editor was last seen in Manhattan on December 10, 1967. He’d had dinner with a female acquaintance, escorted her back to her apartment and was last seen heading to the subway. Ex-wife Alice filed a missing persons report four days after his disappearance.
Thirty-two-year-old British army officer and Antarctic explorer Lawrence Oates went missing during the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to reach the geographic South Pole. In 1910, Oates enthusiastically joined the expedition. Unfortunately, the group encountered severe weather conditions returning from the South Pole, and Oates developed debilitating frostbite.
Alabama teen Natalee Holloway should have been having fun on her 2005 high school trip to Aruba, but instead, the 18 year old went missing. Holloway was last seen at a popular restaurant in the capital of Oranjestad. Police learned three local boys, Joran van der Sloot and his friends Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, said they'd dropped Holloway off at her hotel.
Jim Thompson is a beloved figure in Thailand. The savvy American businessman is credited with bringing Thailand’s silk industry back from the brink of extinction after founding the Thai Silk Company in 1948. The company’s vivid fabrics were used in the hit film The King and I, creating international demand for Thai silk clothing and accessories.
Where is Vitaly Yurchenko? The Russian spy left his high-level government position and defected to the United States, giving up the names of two Americans who were working as KGB agents. In November 1985, Yurchenko was dining with his CIA guard when he strangely remarked, "I’m going for a walk. If I don’t come back, it’s not your fault."
The disappearance of famed American aviatrix Amelia Earhart has baffled investigators and armchair detectives for decades. Earhart set several aviation records and was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. In 1937, the 39-year-old Earhart decided to set another record by becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.
Mesmerized by South America, Percy Fawcett often traveled through the jungles of Brazil and Bolivia and went on a mapping expedition for the Royal Geographic Society. Between 1906 and 1924, Fawcett recorded detailed information about the region’s diverse flora and fauna.
Ettore Majorana was a gifted physicist and a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Naples. Majorana disappeared on March 25, 1938, while on a boat trip to Palermo, Italy. It’s not certain why the 38 year old was traveling, but he’d withdrawn all the money from his bank account before his trip.
Jean Spangler’s star seemed to be rising when she suddenly disappeared in Los Angeles, California. The accomplished singer and dancer had minor roles in several films. At the time of her 1949 disappearance, Spangler had been involved in a custody dispute with her ex-husband.
Former International Brotherhood of Teamsters union president James "Jimmy" Hoffa went missing on July 30, 1975, while waiting to meet three mobsters outside a Bloomfield Township, Michigan, restaurant. The 62-year-old Hoffa maintained strong Mafia ties that resulted in a prison sentence for jury tampering.
Archduke Johann Salvator
Johann Salvator was the youngest son of Leopold II. As a young man, Salvator served in the Austrian army and made an unsuccessful attempt to reign over Bulgaria. In 1889 he renounced royal life, took the name Johann Orth and married Vienna Court Opera dancer Ludmilla Stubel.
As one of the best-selling musical artists of the 1940s, trombonist, composer and bandleader Glenn Miller was a beloved American performer. But at the height of his fame, Miller put his career on hold and enlisted in the army. During World War II, Miller boosted morale by heading up the Army Air Force Band.
Heiress Helen Brach had a sweet life after she married into the E.J. Brach & Sons candy fortune. But in 1977, Brach went missing after she’d gone for a check-up at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Brach was last seen by a gift shop assistant.
John Favara was the neighbor of mob boss John Gotti. Favara’s home was a block behind Gotti’s in Howard Beach, New York. On March 18, 1980, John Gotti’s youngest son Frank was hit by Favara when the 12 year old rode out from behind a dumpster while riding a motorized minibike.
The Princes in the Tower
Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury were the sons of King Edward IV of England. The two brothers were 12 and 9 years old when their uncle, Lord Protector Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had the two boys housed in the Tower of London. The boys were supposedly moved in preparation for Edward V’s upcoming coronation in the late 1400s.
Thomas Hale Boggs
Thomas Hale Boggs was a Louisiana congressman who had a 25-year career as a member of the House of Representatives. Boggs was the husband of future Congresswoman Lindy Boggs and father of journalist Cokie Roberts and Congresswoman Barbara Boggs.
Musician Donald "Scott" Smith gained fame as the bassist for classic rock band Loverboy. The Canadian group was well-known for its hit songs "Working for the Weekend," and "This Could Be the Night." Loverboy had four multi-platinum albums and sold over 23 million records.
Harold Holt was the 17th Prime Minister of Australia and went missing while in office. Holt was elected in 1966 and was known for changing the country’s currency from the pound to the Australian dollar. Under his leadership, the country also began counting indigenous people as members of Australia’s general population.
Ambrose Bierce was one of America’s most respected writers. Bierce gained fame as a journalist, literary critic and writer of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." His stories typically focused on dark situations he’d encountered as a Union soldier during the Civil War.
Pro basketball star John Brisker was a talented player with a temper. For six seasons, he played with the Pittsburgh Pipers (later the Pittsburgh Condors) and Seattle Supersonics. Brisker had been ejected from games so frequently he was nicknamed the "heavyweight champion of the ABA."
Family and friends mourned the disappearance of Elizabeth Eaton "Connie" Converse. A popular 1950s singer and songwriter, Converse is considered one of the main originators of the singer-songwriter genre.
Wallace Fard Muhammad
Nation of Islam founder Wallace Fard Muhammad had humble beginnings. Visiting the homes of African-Americans who’d moved from the South to Detroit, the door-to-door salesman would develop a rapport with listeners, who later became members of the charismatic Muhammad's group.
Richey Edwards gained fame as the lyricist and guitarist of alternative rock group Manic Street Preachers. But on February 1, 1995, the Welsh rocker disappeared in Cardiff before he was due to go on a promotional tour.
Swedish diplomat and businessman Raoul Wallenberg gained a place in history for his role in saving thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. Wallenberg and fellow Swedish diplomat Per Anger issued "protective passports" designed to shield the Jews from deportation to the Third Reich’s concentration camps.
Heinrich Muller was the highest-ranking Nazi never to be captured by the Allies. As head of the feared Schutzstaffel, Muller helped coordinate Nazi Germany’s Holocaust, deporting tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. During the final days of World War II, Muller found himself hiding with Adolf Hitler in the Fuhrerbunker as Soviet troops moved in.
Barbara Newhall Follett
Barbara Newhall Follett was a Jazz Age literary prodigy who published her first novel, "The House Without Windows," in 1927. As a young woman, Follett went on to publish three novels that received critical acclaim from authors and literary critics.