Unsolved Missing Persons Cases That Are Seriously Messed Up

By Jake Schroeder
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Photo Courtesy: abeldelgado/Pixabay

There are so many missing persons cases out there, many of which are still unsolved. Detectives keep pursuing those cases that leave us with so many questions and seemingly no answers. But with the rise of internet sleuths, everybody seems to have a theory of their own for those seriously messed up cases. These are just a sampling of those mystifying disappearances that continue to puzzle everyone, from armchair detectives to the FBI.

Richard Petrone Jr. and Danielle Imbo

Petrone and Imbo disappeared in February of 2005. After visiting a bar and staying until the early morning hours, the couple returned to Petrone's 2001 Dodge Dakota. They vanished and were never seen again.

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Photo Courtesy: FBI

What's even stranger than the couple vanishing without a trace is that their vehicle has also never been found. There’s a $50,000 reward for any information about this case, but so far, there haven’t been any leads. The couple seemingly just disappeared.

Tammy Lynn Leppert

Leppert was an actress and model in the 1980s — you might even recognize her from a cameo in Scarface. Before she disappeared, her mother was worried about how paranoid Leppert seemed, claiming that somebody wanted to hurt her. In July of 1983, she left her mother's home and was never seen again.

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Photo Courtesy: Demon Core/YouTube

There have been links between Leppert and the "Beauty Queen Killer" Christopher Wilder, but those connections were never verified. He was killed in a shoot-out with police before they could question him about Leppert, and the case remains unsolved.

William Ebeneezer Jones Jr.

Jones was just a toddler when he disappeared without a trace from his home in New Jersey. Many believe that someone took the child and raised him as their own, but this theory has never been confirmed. If that theory holds any weight and he’s still alive, Jones would be nearing his 60s.

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Photo Courtesy: TheOtherKev/Pixabay

He was last seen wearing a snowsuit and had a dime that his mother gave him in his pocket. His parents also noted that he loved dogs and would likely do anything to pet them, which may have made it easier for someone to lure him away.


Tara Leigh Calico

In 1988, Calico went for a ride on her mother's bike instead of her own. She was last spotted on State Road 47 in New Mexico, where it was reported that a 1953 Ford Pickup was trailing her. The bike was never located, but her Walkman was found on the highway.

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Photo Courtesy: FBI

The strangest part about this case involves a photo found in Florida of a young woman with duct tape over her mouth, clearly in distress. The girl looked very similar to Calico, but no solid connection was ever made between her and the odd picture.

Johnny Gosch

In a strange case in Iowa, 12-year-old Gosch vanished while working on his paper route. Gosch’s father found his delivery wagon abandoned on the sidewalk, and his photo was placed on a milk carton in an effort to find him.

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Photo Courtesy: Taro Yamasaki/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Fifteen years later, his mother claims that Gosch showed up in the middle of the night with an unknown male. She claims that they spoke for an hour but that her son looked to the unidentified male for "permission" to speak. After this incident and a police sketch of her son's face, the FBI wasn't able to track down any solid leads.

Lisa Maria Szasz

On March 23, 2000, Lisa Maria Szasz disappeared, and the few clues left behind were confusing. Her Chevy Blazer was found with the keys still in the ignition in a no-parking zone at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Ohio. Her parents reported her missing one day after her disappearance.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Stranger still, Szasz had fears leading up to that day that she was being stalked. There have never been any leads or evidence to back up this claim. She was 43 years old at the time of her disappearance.


Ilene Beth Misheloff

On January 20, 1989, Misheloff left school at 3 p.m. Classmates said they saw her walking alone at the time of her disappearance. No evidence was ever found concerning her disappearance except for her key fob, which was discovered later at the entrance to John Mape Park in Dublin, California. The park was along her regular route home.

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Photo Courtesy: MediaNews Group/Oakland Tribune via Getty Images

There have never been any leads about her case since, but authorities believe that Misheloff may have been kidnapped. At the time of her disappearance, she had braces and was wearing a gray pullover.

Amanda DeGuio

Amanda DeGuio wasn't reported missing until her family hadn’t seen her for two months — this is likely why her case went cold. She’d left without taking any credit cards, extra clothes or her cell phone in 2014. Another strange part of this case is that DeGuio didn’t drive. It's unclear how she was able to get around.

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Photo Courtesy: CBS Philly/YouTube

Some people reported spotting the mother of two recently, but the woman just looked quite similar to DeGuio. Police have always suspected foul play in this case, but there haven't been any leads.

Lashaya Stine

Lashaya Stine was last seen leaving her home in Colorado around 2 a.m. on July 15, 2016. The 16-year-old honor student was first thought to be a runaway, but family and friends insist that is not the case.

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Photo Courtesy: Rob Sarmiento/Unsplash

The last known image of her is from a surveillance camera. In the video, Stine is visible walking alone. She left without her phone charger, wallet or any extra clothes. There have been no leads as to her whereabouts, and there’s a reward for any tips in her case.


Angela Mae Meeker

Meeker went missing in 1979 in Tacoma, Washington. It’s reported that she was walking to the Tacoma Mall to pick up a birthday card for a friend. She went missing just two days before she would’ve turned 14.

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Photo Courtesy: Unidentified Wikia

There have never been any leads in this missing persons case, but a $20,000 reward is still available for anybody who may help lead to her recovery. Theories exist that she’s still alive somewhere and in her mid-50s.

Sheri Lynn and Michael Johnson

These children disappeared along with their mother, Freda Denman, in 1974. However, they were not reported missing until 1975. Denman’s husband also went missing around the same time. Denman’s clothes were still in the family’s apartment, but the children's and her husband's clothing were missing.

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Photo Courtesy: Missingin

Authorities believed that Henry Harbison, Denman’s husband, might have murdered the family and then vanished. No bodies or evidence to support that theory have ever been found, but local police reopened the case in 2004. They believed the FBI would take on the case, but it never did.

Arianna Fitts

Construction workers at John McLaren Park discovered a dead body — a woman who had been buried in a shallow grave. Her name was Nicole Fitts, and she’d been missing since April 1, 2016. Her body was discovered on April 8 of that year.

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Photo Courtesy: FBI

Her missing persons case was solved, but there’s been no trace of her daughter, Arianna Fitts, since then. The girl was a toddler at the time, and though there have been several persons of interest in her case, her whereabouts are still unknown. Police continue to search for her.


Mark Himebaugh

Mark Himebaugh was just 11 at the time of his disappearance. It was reported that he watched firefighters put out a small fire earlier in the day on November 25, 1991. His mother was running errands and ended up getting home later than she wanted to. It was then that she discovered her son had vanished.

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Photo Courtesy: New Jersey 101.5/YouTube

Authorities discovered a tennis shoe along with some footprints, but those were the only clues ever found. Even though one man became a person of interest early on in Himebaugh’s case, no charges were ever filed.

Brandon Lawson

On the night of his disappearance, Lawson called his brother after running out of gas on the highway. Following that call, he dialed 911 and told dispatchers that somebody had chased him into the woods. Both the police and his brother arrived at the scene, finding Lawson’s truck — but not Lawson.

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Photo Courtesy: Margin Walker/YouTube

Again, Lawson called his brother, saying that he was bleeding 10 minutes away from his truck. The area was searched but nothing was ever found. That was the last time anyone ever heard from Lawson, and his case is still under investigation.

Michaela Joy Garecht

On November 19, 1988, Garecht was last seen at a Rainbow Market in Hayward, California. A person was seen snatching the young girl and putting her into a vehicle. Even though there’s a police sketch of the person who allegedly abducted Garecht, no leads have ever panned out. A man was questioned but wasn't connected.

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Photo Courtesy: Tere Angelica/YouTube

The FBI is still offering a $10,000 reward for any information about her disappearance, and authorities are still investigating her case. Garecht’s is a high-profile case that garnered a lot of media attention.


Kristen Modafferi

Modafferi was last seen on the afternoon of June 23, 1997. She was working at a mall coffee shop in San Francisco, California. After leaving work, she was never seen or heard from again. At the time of her disappearance, Modafferi had relocated to Oakland to start summer photography classes at UC Berkeley. Her first class was scheduled the day after she disappeared.

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Photo Courtesy: Tyler Nix/Unsplash

Her case inspired Kristen's Law, which was created to aid in solving missing persons cases involving individuals older than age 17. The law expired in 2005, and her case remains unsolved.

Kimberly Ann Langwell

Langwell was supposed to have dinner with her mother on July 9, 1999, but she never showed up. When her mother spoke to her earlier that day, Langwell stated that she was meeting a friend first but would be there for dinner.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Her boyfriend found her 1994 Nissan Altima abandoned in front of a drug store. Her keys and purse were both gone, but other personal belongings were still in the car. Before disappearing, Langwell warned her sister not to believe anyone who said she committed suicide. There have been no leads in the case.

The Sodder Children

On Christmas Eve of 1945, a fire destroyed the Sodder home in Fayetteville, West Virginia. Both parents and four of the nine children in the house escaped the blaze. The bodies of the other five children have never been found. While many believe the remains were destroyed in the fire, the odd circumstances surrounding the blaze left lingering questions.

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Photo Courtesy: The Mirror

The Sodder family always believed their children survived, and living relatives still believe that the five children survived due to letters and other bizarre occurrences that have taken place since their disappearance. This case baffles investigators today.


Kristin Denise Smart

While a freshman at California Polytechnic State University, Smart disappeared after a night of partying. Her friends reportedly dropped her off at a frat party, and later, another student named Paul Flores offered to walk her home. Flores states that she walked to her dorm and he walked to his, but when cadaver search dogs picked up her scent, they ended up in Flores' room.

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Photo Courtesy: Rob Buhlman/Wikimedia Commons

Despite the connection to Flores, no criminal charges have been filed. It's believed that Smart went home with him, but there’s no evidence to support what happened after that.

Jonathan Fraser

In July of 2016, Fraser was last seen at his apartment in Honolulu. His car was later found parked in a strange neighborhood, which made no sense to family and friends. There have never been any solid leads in the case, and Fraser has never been seen or heard from again.

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Photo Courtesy: AussieActive/Unsplash

There’s a $20,000 reward for any information about Fraser's disappearance. Fraser's case is still under investigation, but it appears that he vanished — there’s been no trace of him since the day he disappeared. Authorities suspect foul play.

Brian Shaffer

Shaffer was a medical student at Ohio State University when he went missing on March 31, 2006, during a night out drinking. After his friends got separated from him, they assumed he had gone home for the night.

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Photo Courtesy: DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay

This case is unusual because Shaffer was seen on security camera footage entering a bar just before 2 a.m. — but never seen leaving it. Authorities say there were no other possible exits from the bar because there was construction going on, so the cameras would’ve had to have recorded Shaffer leaving through the single exit. Many bizarre theories surround this case.


Crystal Ann Tymich

Tymich went missing on June 30, 1994. It was reported that she was picking peaches from a neighbor's tree, along with her three brothers. The brothers reportedly went inside, and she was never seen again.

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Photo Courtesy: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In a twist of events, bones were found in a crawlspace next door. However, after testing, authorities confirmed that the bones were animal, not human. No clues or leads have ever surfaced that have led police to what really happened to Tymich. Hers is now considered a cold case.

Russell John Mort

On May 5, 1982, Mort was last seen by his mother, who says he was playing in a sandbox. His mother went inside to fix one of his toys. When she returned, the boy had vanished — and their fence gate was still locked from the outside.

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Photo Courtesy: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

However, authorities are skeptical about an abduction occurring. They believe the child climbed over the fence himself and ended up in the Niagara River, which was close to their home. His body was never found, and the case is still unsolved.

Amy Lynn Bradley

Bradley was on a cruise with her family and was reported missing once the ship docked. Many believe that she fell overboard, but there are other, more-sinister theories to this case. Some believe she was sold into a human trafficking ring, while others think she made herself disappear. Her last known whereabouts were in her cabin on the ship.

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Photo Courtesy: FBI

There have been alleged sightings of Bradley since her disappearance, but they’ve never been verified. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that could lead to the resolution of this intricate case.


Maura Murray

Murray vanished on February 9, 2004, after a car crash near Woodsville, New Hampshire. A few strange occurrences surround her disappearance, including the car crash and the fact that she had emailed professors about a "death in the family," claiming she needed a week off. There had been no deaths, according to her family.

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Photo Courtesy: Francois Olwage/Unsplash

A woman driving by spotted the crash and asked Murray if she needed help. Murray declined, and the crash was reported. By the time the police arrived, Murray was gone and has not been seen since.

Amber Elizabeth Cates

Cates had left her mother's home in Tennessee on April 11, 2004, to go on spring break. Her friend James Gordon picked her up and claimed he left her with another friend named Ronald Inzurriaga. Authorities found Inzurriaga at a prison in Alabama. He stated he dropped Cates off at a garage.

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Photo Courtesy: @FBIMemphis/Twitter

Initially, it was suspected that she was a runaway. But after speaking with the two suspicious males, and considering the fact that neither her cell phone nor her Social Security number have been used since 2004, authorities acknowledge that foul play may be involved.

Carla Vicentini

Vicentini was a Brazilian exchange student who was reportedly unhappy with her living situation. She changed her job and moved out of the small hotel room she was living in. She was last seen at a bar at around 2 a.m. Witnesses claim she left the bar with a large man who was 200 pounds or heavier.

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Photo Courtesy: chuttersnap/Pixabay

A few days later, Vicentini’s boss received a troubling call in which somebody was screaming for help. Personal belongings were found in Vicentini’s residence, but neither Vicentini nor the man she was seen leaving with were ever spotted again.


Morgan Nick

Morgan Nick went missing in June of 1995. Her mother had taken her to a baseball game in Alma, Arkansas, and later that night around 10:30 p.m., she and her friends went out to catch lightning bugs. The game ended, and Nick’s friends came back without her.

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Photo Courtesy: StockSnap/Pixabay

She's never been seen since. Her friends also reported that a "creepy" man had been speaking to Nick while she put her shoes on. There have been many leads but nothing that ever helped authorities close the case.

Jennifer Lynn Marcum

Marcum was last seen at Denver International Airport between 11 a.m. and noon in February of 2003. She didn’t take a flight out of the airport, and her cell phone was never used after that day.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

There has been a lot of speculation about her disappearance involving a boyfriend's pending drug case. Reportedly, she had been to see him at a detention center before she vanished. Despite the speculation, nobody was ever charged, and Marcum has never been seen since.

Devonte Jordan Hart

In 2018, a car crash took the lives of a Washington couple and five of their six children. All were found dead near a highway in California after the car careened over a cliff and landed beside the water. Devonte Hart was not with his family after the crash and has never been found.

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Photo Courtesy: Maria Lupan/Unsplash

Authorities later discovered that the children had all been drugged. The family was under investigation for abuse and neglect before the fatal crash. Some believe that Hart's body was somehow swept out to sea, while others believe something more sinister happened to him.