You never know when it might be the last time you see someone. Life can throw you the cruelest curveballs imaginable—random, unforeseen tragedies that don’t seem fair at all. These poor Redditors lived through everyone’s worst nightmare: The disappearance of someone they held dear.
1. This Is Fine…
One of my friends was super sheltered all through high school. Her father had passed when she was young, and her mom was overprotective. She wasn’t even allowed to shave her legs or underarms. After high school, she started working a retail job in a touristy area. Then, out of nowhere, her mother called me, absolutely frantic. My friend had disappeared.
I happened to be on messenger a few days later and she got on, so I messaged her. Turns out a guy had convinced her to go back home with him, was pretty much holding her there, had taken her phone, and was making her clean his house and make his meals. He was at work when she got the idea to get on messenger. She had been there for two weeks.
My dad and I drove three states away to get her and bring her home. It was nuts but it could have been SO MUCH WORSE.
2. If You Win The Lottery…
My grandfather went missing for a while. He was a terrible dad—drinking away all of his money and making my mother and grandma suffer a lot. But that wasn’t all. He was also terribly vicious and used to cheat on my grandma with several women. One day, he left work and didn’t return home for about 15 years—and the reason is downright despicable.
Turns out he had won a lottery prize during the ’70s and moved to Brazil without telling anybody. My grandma only got a letter a year later saying that she should meet him in Brazil, but she ignored him and married the man she ended up spending her whole life with. She hoped to never lay eyes on him again, but their story was far from over.
Funny enough, he came back during the ’90s completely broke, and with a debt to some Brazilian mafia dudes. My mom told him to beat it and he threatened to sell the house unless we welcomed him back into the family. Little did he know that my grandma actually bought back the house from the bank so he spent the rest of his short remaining life as a homeless man.
3. A Cold Sleep
This was many years ago, but I had a cousin that lived in a remote area of the western United States. He had just graduated high school and was working a job putting up fences in a mountainous area. The crew had pretty much finished for the day and had gone back to the campsite when my cousin wandered off from the rest of the group…He did not return.
Despite months of searching, no one was able to find him, and eventually, my family had services and placed a marker in his honor at the cemetery. Nearly eight years later, a hunter came across his remains. He was under a tree and his hands were up behind his head in a laid-back position. His wallet was underneath him.
They assumed that he had gotten high and fell asleep only to succumb to hypothermia at the high elevation. It provided closure for his parents and they did inter his remains where the marker had been placed, but we all endured years of agony, dread, and frustration due to his mysterious disappearance.
4. A Cover Story
A girl that transferred into our high school around 10th grade just up and disappeared one weekend without any real trace. Many weeks later, I finally learned the truth. It turned out she had left town to meet a guy she met on the internet. Classic story: he was much, much older, she was underage, they actually stayed together, and the girl’s family ended up coming around to accepting it. Really weird.
What made it even weirder for me is that I was not friends with this girl, but she lived in my neighborhood. But then it got even weirder. Years later, my mom had become friends with the girl’s mother, and we both found out that the girl told her parents for months that she was on the phone with or messaging me anytime she was talking to the older man!
Her parents eventually realized she and I were never communicating, but since we were the same age, I was unknowingly her cover story for months. To this day, I’ve still never had an actual conversation with this girl. Really unsettling to find out that I had been her fake boyfriend all those years prior.
5. A Normal Morning
My dad disappeared. Not in the joking kind of way—he went out and just never returned. This was before cellphones were commonplace. I was really young. The morning had been super normal. He got up and went to work like he always did. Then at around mid-morning, his boss called and asked where he was. He just never showed up.
My mom couldn’t leave work, so my aunt went driving around looking for his car. It was super bright colored and unique looking. After an hour, they called the authorities. It wasn’t until that evening that we got the call that explained everything. He had gone to his parents because he was having a mental breakdown and didn’t know what to do.
His mother, who was a powerhouse of a woman with a gentle touch, made him check into a mental hospital.
6. Suddenly Alone
Several years ago, a friend’s boyfriend went on a hike in the Cascade mountains. It was late September, which is a perilous time of year where the weather conditions can flip at a moment’s notice. His hiking buddy said that one minute they were walking and talking, then all of the sudden he looked behind him and realized he was alone.
We organized search parties for weeks, but no trace of him was ever found. The only thing that makes sense is that the guy lost his footing and slid down the mountain, but no one could find evidence of any kind of slide or any damaged vegetation. I still wonder if the guy chose to disappear in order to avoid some kind of debt.
7. Nights In Amsterdam
Worked at a company where I got really close to the two owners, it was a very odd relationship but it worked. They had a third business partner who left due to mental issues, and he’d pop in every so often and cash a cheque. Despite selling his shares and ownerships, they still gave him a fairly decent wage for doing nothing.
He was a chill guy, and his name was Simon. Long story short, we all went to Amsterdam for a few days to let off steam after a grueling quarter. We had a hangover-esque night out and woke up to no Simon. We searched high and low, informed the local authorities after 24 hours, and booked a few extra nights in hopes he’d turn up again.
He never did. Booked another two nights, still no luck. Left for home and informed his family, and opened inquiries with the authorities back in the UK. Three weeks after returning, Simon’s wife received an upsetting voicemail from a private number. The voice was extremely muffled and said something along the lines of, “In trouble, can’t come home, they’re onto me.”
This led to some extreme days of questioning at a local drunk tank, but nothing was heard after a further six weeks. The case was closed, and no new evidence was found at all. We tried to appeal and got shut down. The dude just left.
8. Nana And Papa
My Nana and Papa went missing ten years ago on July 30th, 2011. The whole family got together for a barbeque and they just… never showed up. We spent days looking for them but never found anything. Some kind stranger spotted their crashed truck at the bottom of an incline three weeks later. From what the officers told us, they misjudged a corner whilst coming down a dirt road up in the mountains.
Nana got out of the truck to try and direct Papa, but the edge of the road gave way, and all of them went down the mountain. Sadly, the autopsies revealed some grisly details. Nana succumbed to internal bleeding a few hours after the crash, while Papa survived a couple of days longer. While he’d been injured in the crash, his precise cause of death was never determined.
The family, myself included, thinks he succumbed to a broken heart. They’d been married for more than sixty years when the accident happened. Papa probably couldn’t imagine a life without Nana. The only bright spot in all of this was their dog, Sassy. She’d been in the truck with them when they crashed. Somehow an elderly schnauzer managed to survive the crash and three weeks alone in the Idaho backcountry.
She lived out the rest of her days loved and treasured by Nana and Papa’s eldest daughter. Nana and Papa were two of the kindest, most welcoming people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. I wasn’t actually related to them. My mom was a friend of their daughter-in-law but that never mattered to them. I was their ‘bonus grandkid’, and they treated me as such.
There was always a plate for me on the table at dinnertime and a present under the tree with my name on it at Christmas. Their door was always open. For me, a kid from a royally messed up family, they were something out of a fairy tale. They loved me, no questions asked, and I loved them just as much.
9. A Ransom Note
Back in high school, a guy I knew disappeared and my friends and I were interviewed. Apparently, a horrifying note was found on his bed that read, “Give us $1000 or you’ll never see your son again,” and that’s all it said. There were no contacts or drop-off locations or anything. Luckily, however, they found the guy three days later walking around the mall.
He had been hiding behind an Albertson dumpster the entire time and got bored when he decided to walk around a nearby mall. But that wasn’t the most disturbing part. He was the one who faked the note. He even did it in the style of cutting out letters from a newspaper and gluing them to form the sentence. It was messed up.
10. A Fateful Argument
I had a friend in college, and we got into an argument one night. I said some things about how she had been acting, culminating in that night. I was done. A few months later, I decided to reach out. She had moved out of her apartment and disconnected her phone—back then we just had landlines. I heard from a mutual friend she had moved back in with her dad.
I called her and apologized. I asked her to have a beer with me to catch up. She told me she had stopped drinking, so we met for coffee instead. The argument had really affected her. She decided to do better. She quit drinking, moved home and re-enrolled. I told her I was proud of her and asked if everything was cool at home since her dad had a history of cruelty.
She told me it was good, and we promised to keep in touch. It was a really positive outing—but my hopefulness was terribly short-lived. I woke up to investigators knocking on my apartment door. They found her body a few blocks from her dad’s house. I was the second to last person to see her alive. They questioned me. Her car was in her father’s driveway. And the final verdict didn’t exactly shock me…
Her father did it, and dumped her body like trash. They were unable to catch him right away and he passed in the parking lot of a local bar a week later. They said he had a heart attack. He escaped justice and her case is technically unsolved.
11. I Promised To Look
I had a friend in Middle School who disappeared. I remember her parents had a messy divorce. She slept at our house because she and her mom lived in what was known as a bad neighborhood. We spent every day together for three years. But one day, she stopped picking up the phone. We went to her house, and it was completely empty. I was 12 when it happened.
I have spent the last sixteen years trying to find her with all the information I can remember about her. I think my Mom or Dad called the authorities when she vanished because her Mom and Step-Dad were also gone and they told us that there was nothing suspicious. Her mom had worked for years at the same place, and on the day she disappeared, she was a no-show. She had a really common name too.
The thing is, we had a “best friend contract” that I signed when I was nine or ten and I’m going to keep looking for her. I promised.
12. A Storm On The Horizon
Me and a bunch of friends were at a beach party on the bay, where the hosts had kayaks that anyone could use. My one friend arrived with her young kid, and a little while later, the same friend grabbed a life vest and headed out on a kayak. Her kid stayed behind, which was fine. We’ve all been friends for years, and she knew her child would be looked after.
So, she was out solo on the bay in a kayak. Also not a big deal, until those of us on shore see some dark clouds moving in the distance. They’re moving closer. Another friend grabs some binoculars and starts looking for our friend alone in the kayak. We couldn’t see her. We may have seen, but if it was her, she was way out there.
It’s not a river, mind you. It’s a freaking bay with barges, cruise ships, a shipping channel, all within eyesight of this party. The dark clouds are moving closer and our kayak friend is either a speck in the distance or else her whereabouts is completely unknown. The kid starts asking about their mom. We assure them everything is fine, and although we’re all worried, we dig into lunch.
It starts raining, and we all go in the house. Our friend is still gone. It’s really starting to storm now. Wind is blowing. Lightning. The water is really churning. At some point, we call the authorities. Firetruck, ambulance—they all arrive. The kid keeps asking if their mom is back yet. Nope, not yet but I’m sure she’s fine. Let’s play Uno. We get word that the coast guard is now looking for our friend.
An hour or so passes and nothing happens. No sightings. By this point, we’re all completely freaking out but trying to hide it so the kid doesn’t get upset. Then finally we get a call that she’s been found. Apparently, once the clouds started moving in, she tried to make it to the closest shore but misjudged the distance and didn’t make it back before the storm hit.
She was out in the kayak and it flipped, knocking her into the water. She tried getting back up on it but couldn’t. Eventually, after bobbing around out there during this storm, a local couple heard the call that the coast guard was looking for someone and took off on their boat to assist. They found her and took her to shore. She was fine. Shaken up, cold, and scared. But fine.
Thank goodness for life vests, emergency services, and Good Samaritans.
13. Coming Out
My friend’s boyfriend in high school disappeared. The two boys got along like peanut butter and jelly. But when the boyfriend came out to his parents after their six-month anniversary—chaos ensued. They locked him in the house for a week. No school, no phone, no texts. He read the bible every day. When they took him to church to ask about conversion camps, he ran off.
They found his body a week later not far from his grandparents’ place. The town found out what happened after the parents were investigated. My friend had to leave school for a month to get help. He was never the same. The last time he saw his boyfriend was the night he came out.
14. Actually Forgetting
My mom’s ex-husband disappeared off the face of the earth for over a year and was declared deceased. Turned out he’d been jumped by some guys for his car and left bloodied on the side of the road. When he woke up, he didn’t remember who he was. He went in and out of shelters until something jogged a bit of his memory and he got in contact with his then-girlfriend.
He remembered her house but nothing else. Apparently, he had a major brain injury when he was a kid that didn’t really get treated which resulted in a big chunk of his brain dying, so when he got attacked, it scrambled what was left.
15. The New Kid At School
I had a classmate in junior high who arrived mid-year. She was the only child of a single mother. My best friend and I got to know her well, but she kept her distance from everyone else. A couple of months later, she came to school crying. Her mom told her that morning they had to move again when she got home from school that day.
I was a naïve kid. It didn’t occur to me this was all off somehow. I just found it strange they were leaving again so quickly and without warning, but mostly I was just sad. Then a few years later, one of those national missing children postcards came in the mail. I about fell over when I recognized the girl staring out at me from the pamphlet: It was my old friend.
Her first name matched but the last did not. It all came together instantly. I was shaking for hours, then I picked up the phone and called the hotline. I don’t know if it helped at all, but I gave all the info I could in the hope that it would bring more leads.
16. Covid Tragedy
A friend of mine from when we were teenagers struggled with addiction but overcame it, moved across the country, and was working as an outreach worker to help others overcome addiction and homelessness. I think Covid-19 made her spiral back into addiction and she went missing. When she was finally found, everyone suspected it was drugs-related—but it was so much worse.
They ended up finding her body in a ravine and they think it was human trafficking-related. It’s now being treated as a homicide.
17. The Wrong Room
A friend in college had left a party we were at because he had remembered he left his jacket in another person’s dorm. Nobody heard from him the following day; most figured he drank too much and just passed out somewhere. I even left a voicemail on his phone like, “Where are you? LOL hope you’re alive!” Days turned into weeks, and there were campus-wide manhunts with hundreds of volunteers…
His body finally turned up in an electrical closet six weeks later. Accidental electrocution.
18. Dangerous Water
My half-brother went boating on the lake with his girlfriend, and it ended in unspeakable tragedy. It had started raining and storming, and the boat tipped over. His girlfriend made it back to shore. He didn’t. They took two days to find him. They dragged the lake for his body. He was eventually found washed up on the shore somewhere along the tree line of the lake.
19. Just A Traffic Violation!
I had an employee, Jason, that had worked for us for six years, four of those directly reporting to me. He was a pretty good worker and a nice guy. One day, an officer came to our office and said he was looking for Jason. Jason was scheduled off. The officer told us that Jason had a warrant for an unpaid traffic violation, and it was no big deal.
He was just wanted to come down to the court building and make arrangements to take care of the issue. The next day, we told Jason what had happened. He asked me if he could clock out right then and go down and settle it immediately, I said sure, so he went. Later that same day, he came back to work saying it was all taken care of.
Maybe a month went by, and then another officer showed up looking for Jason. The next time Jason was scheduled I told him someone had come by again. He said he had worked out a payment plan for the fine and had forgotten to make the payment. He again asked me if he could leave to take care of it. He left. But this time I never saw him again, ever.
We called the prisons in the area to see if they had him, but they didn’t. We eventually got in touch with his ex. She said that she was looking for him too and hadn’t seen him. To this day I don’t really know what happened or where he went. Online searches have not turned up anything, he has a pretty common name so it’s like a needle in a haystack.
It seemed like a simple traffic fine was hardly a reason to abandon a good job, but we may never know.
20. Telling A Small Lie
He was a close friend of mine, practically family. In the last period of the school day, we sat next to each other and would always goof off. I still remember it clear as day, he asked me if he could come over and hang out. That whole hour he talked about how he didn’t want to go home and that his parents were being “total jerks,” or something like that.
I remember thinking nothing of it, and then I made a decision that I still regret to this day. I told him I had a bunch of stuff to do after school, which was a lie. I remember the bell ringing and I do not remember if he said something like, “I will see you later,” or something like that. I got a text from his brother late that night asking if I had seen him.
I told him: “No, he asked if he could come over, but that was the last I saw him.” I tried to call my friend but there was no answer, and then I texted him asking if he was okay, to which I never got a response. The school was on edge for those next few days, and his family wasn’t responding to anyone. I grew extremely worried. I can’t remember if it was two or three days, but they finally found him with self-inflicted wounds.
I still wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t lie and instead told him, “Yes, let’s hang out, man.”
21. Choosing To Disappear
When I was a teenager, there was a kid that lived a few doors down from me that was always hanging around my driveway. He didn’t have very many friends, came from a broken home, and had some behavioral issues. Clearly, he was in desperate need of companionship, and so I started inviting him on bike rides around our neighborhood and playing video games with him.
He always used to tell me that if he ever chose to disappear, no one would be able to find him. Years later, when he was around 25, he made good on that promise. His mother is one of the kindest people I have ever met, and it’s been about seven years and she is still fervently looking for him. It’s crushing seeing her like this.
22. Punching Out
My mom left in 2001; she divorced my stepdad, gave custody to him, and bounced. No one in my family has seen or heard from her. Well, once in the neighboring town circa 2002, we were shopping at Walmart when my great aunt saw my mom working there. She told her to stay put, and that her kids were here and desperately wanted to see her. That’s when my mom did the unthinkable…
She punched out right then and there and never returned to that Walmart. We’ve tried looking, but after one DWI in 2003, she fell off the face of the planet. I still wonder about her nearly every day.
23. Taken Away
I went to the same elementary school as Michael Dunahee. He was kidnapped off the playground and still not found to this day. I remember after it happened every parent showed up to walk the entire school of kids home. I also remember running ahead of the pack for whatever reason and all the parents were screaming at me to get back. They were terrified.
24. Gone In The Woods
A fella I went to middle and high school with went missing around Thanksgiving one year. It was about 10 years ago now in a medium-sized town in Kentucky. There were a lot of Facebook posts, pleas from his dad, community-organized searches, etc. He was a new father himself, and it made for a terribly sad story around the holidays. They eventually found him—but it was already too late.
His truck was found burned out, hidden in the woods. Then his body was found separately, also burned, but with a wound to the head. I don’t believe anyone has been charged, or at least I haven’t heard of one.
25. The Kid In The Hallway
Last year, I worked at a school for kids with bodily and mental disabilities. There was a kid I always talked to in the hallway. He was 15 years old at the time and he was a pretty chill guy. He was in a wheelchair only because of a cross-section paralysis so his brain was completely fine. However, it bothered him a lot.
Two weeks ago, he was declared missing. Even though I didn’t work with him, I still was worried about him and his well-being. Last week, he was found in a river strapped to his wheelchair. It actually kinda destroyed me. Since, in school, he was a super positive guy, always cracking jokes, and then he was found dead. Turns out it was suicide.
26. I See Him Everywhere
One of my best friends found out his wife was cheating on him. He went ballistic and took off to parts unknown. Both the authorities and I went looking for him for several hours but couldn’t find him. Eventually, I got a text message from him—but the second I read it, my stomach dropped…He texted me saying he loved me and where we could find his body. Which we did. I was the last person he ever spoke to in life.
Next year will be the tenth anniversary of his passing, and while admittedly, I don’t think about him every single day, I do think about him and that horrible day a few times each month. Worse, I live in a rural area where lots of people have the same build and wear much of the same clothing he did, so I will occasionally see close doppelgangers of him walking around and it never fails to flood me with emotion.
My friend also ruined “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. He and I were big fans of the group and that was his favorite song of theirs, so it got played a lot at his viewing. Now, I can’t listen to it. The last time I happened to be watching a movie that featured the song, I started crying without even realizing I’d started.
27. Missing A Leg
My neighbor’s best friend went missing. It appeared to be random because she was well-liked and had no enemies. She went to a grocery store, was seen on CCTV, and was never seen again. A few years later they found part of her leg, nothing more. She’s still considered missing because the authorities think she could still be alive without her leg from the femur down.
28. Don’t Look For Me
When I was in my early 20s, I was friends with a group of brothers, one of whom was one of my girlfriend’s roommates. On New Year’s Eve, they threw a party at their apartment. The next morning, I was taking the train home and happened to end up on the train with the youngest brother. He was acting normal, but I remember saying to him, “See you later,” when getting off the train and him smirking and saying, “Yeah.”
A few days later, one of the brothers says they haven’t heard from him since the party. I told him about the train interaction, and it turned out I was the last person to have seen him. No one else had seen him since the party, including his roommates. They eventually found a note in his apartment that read something like, “I am fine but don’t try to find me.”
Several weeks go by with no word from the younger brother. I’m cooking dinner with my girlfriend and there’s a knock on the door. Guess who shows up but the missing brother. He had run away to the Dominican Republic without telling anyone to see what life was like there. He ended up running out of money and decided to return home.
29. Off To Boarding School
I had a friend in high school who had seriously strict parents. He really wasn’t a bad kid AT ALL, just doing the normal stuff we all were doing, but his parents decided he needed to go to some kind of military boarding school. We wrote to each other but it kind of trickled off as a couple of years went by. He came back to our town and we hung out a little, but then he was gone and no one ever heard of him again, including his family. I still think of him to this day.
30. Ex-Navy Tragedy
My Tio is currently missing in Mexico. He has had a rough life. As a young man, he worked on United States’ navy ships at the shipyards in San Diego. He did it for over 35 years. He hurt his back and had no health insurance and started using after he ran out of pills. He was eventually caught, imprisoned, and sent back to Mexico. From there on out, it only got worse.
He was denied his social security because of this, even though he paid in. He has been struggling—trying to survive and stay clean in Mexico. He was sober as far as we know. About two years ago his landlord’s son broke in downstairs, my uncle beat him up, but the tweaker came back with a machete and almost hacked off his arm. He barely survived.
He went missing not long after that. A lot of my family has been hurting about it because there’s no closure whatsoever.
31. Met At The Movies
I was at a movie theater with my brother when a guy he knew saw us. We all talked for a little while, then told him we were leaving. The guy asked us for a ride to his apartment, so we gave him one. He asked us if we wanted to come in a hang out for a while, but we didn’t want to so we left. A few weeks later we found out after we dropped him off, he got into an argument with his neighbor and they killed him.
I wonder sometimes: Would he still be alive if we stayed or would we have been in trouble too?
32. Can’t Do Anything About It
I was eight years old when I went with my parents to drop off my little sister for visitation with her biological father. The next morning, my dad woke me up for school and said she didn’t come back that night. My dad went to Denver for the weekend to go try to look for them and contacted the Denver PD. My local PD didn’t assist in finding her at all.
In fact, the DA told my parents that, “You can’t abduct your own child,” despite the fact that my parents had full custody. I will never forget the day that we got the call that she was found. I was with my mom and two of my other sisters at the grand opening of the Cabela’s in my hometown when my mom answered her phone and burst into tears.
She was in a small town in Michigan, had been homeschooled by the wife of her bio dad, and was going by her middle name. An officer responded to a missing person report because the oldest son of the wife had run away. Someway, somehow, the officer knew something was wrong and looked into the situation. The whole situation was much more difficult for my sister than for me.
She was basically two years behind in school when she came back, and the principal of our elementary school wanted to put her in 1st grade, rather than 3rd, which is what she should’ve been in at the time. They ultimately kept her in 3rd grade with our sister. She got tutoring and managed to get back on track. She’s in her senior year now and looking forward to college in the fall.
33. Where Are You?
I used to airsoft when I was a kid, which in my area meant just going out into the woods with a bunch of friends and relative strangers to shoot at each other with toys. Teams are established and you wander around until you find some enemies and then you shoot them. At one point, someone realized that one of my friends was missing, so we called off the game and began searching for him.
He and his brother were out there that day, so it was, “Hey, game is paused, we have to find one of the Smith kids.” We encountered some enemies and yelled to them that the game was paused, the Smith kid was missing and we had to find him. Enemies said okay and wandered off in some other direction to look for him.
Enemies encountered some of their enemies, my teammates, and explained that someone from our team was missing and had to be found. In this game of broken telephone, no one realized that the missing person was in this new group of my teammates. So, he just ended up on a search for himself.
34. Tragedy On The Trail
A work friend was on a group trip out west with his teenage son. They were on an elevated trail that veered next to a waterfall. His son reached out to put his hand in the water and fell into the falls. My friend had to be restrained by other adults as he wanted to jump in to get his son, and he stayed for months trying to find the body. For a few years he would go back and search for a few weeks at a time, but never found him.
He was functional at his job again, even moving up, but to be honest, I don’t think in the next ten years I ever saw him smile.
35. I Was The Last
My mother suffered from severe post-partum depression after having three children. My grandparents got temporary custody of my brothers and me. She then disappeared and we never heard from her again. I’m not sure what happened to her. We never got a phone call or anything about her, and there is no evidence of her online.
I’d like to think she found some help, maybe moved on or something, but I just don’t know. There’s a good chance she’s homeless. My aunt once alluded to her having other children but wouldn’t tell me more. I guess it’s more frustrating than anything because I’m a 25-year-old woman now and still can’t seem to get any answers.
I’ve thought about going to the authorities but don’t want to hurt my elderly grandparents. She’s still missing, and I’ll likely never know the truth.
36. Tragedy To Tragedy
My mother went missing. I was separated from her as a young child. She had a daughter and nephew that drowned together and it completely devastated her and the family. She ended up getting divorced, lost her entire support system, and started showing signs of severe paranoia. Eventually, my older sister and I were placed into foster care.
Our mother tried to stay in contact, but she didn’t stay stable long enough. I was 11 the last time she tried, and I haven’t seen or heard from her since. We tried desperately to find her. I found sisters and cousins and other relatives of hers, but never her. We finally found a potential address in Hawaii and I wrote a letter telling her all about her daughters’ lives and her grandchildren.
The next month, my sister was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She passed on May 24th, and I just cant bring myself to rewrite the letter. I’m not prepared for that, but I hope my mother is well. I hope she isn’t a Jane Doe somewhere. I just don’t want her to feel like we hate her because we definitely do not. She didn’t ask for the trauma and she definitely didn’t ask for mental illness. I’ve missed her my whole life.
37. Slowly Unraveling
This friend’s kid went missing seven years ago now. He was an artist and about 17 years old. He was on his way out west, I think to go to school or to travel before school. However, I watched her Facebook posts for the next six years as she just slowly unraveled. She was looking for her son, traveling all over the country, hiring private investigators, hiring various firms, spending time in homeless encampments for teenagers.
About two years ago she was posting these really long rambling posts going like, “How dare people tell me to get over it and move on. Didn’t they know my heart was broken. People that I thought were family would never give up like this on my son….” And then they found his bones. Now she’s totally returning to a normal posting pattern about normal stuff.
38. The Last Drink
I was the last person to see this person alive. My best friend and I were drinking on my porch in college. It was about 3:30 am and I told him I was going to bed because I had to work the next day. He begged me to have another drink with him, but I insisted that I needed to get to sleep. The next morning, I woke up to my roommate screaming for me to come downstairs.
I ran down and my friend had hung himself while sitting down under the porch railing. We cut him down and did CPR even though we knew he was gone already. It was the most traumatic things I’ve witnessed and has really affected my life. I pieced together things from that night, like the rope he hung himself with was his friend’s dog leash that we had searched for and could not find.
We think he hid the leash as a premeditated event. Just thinking that he begged to spend just a little more time with me, but I refused? It still hurts.
39. At The Hot Dog Stand
When I was in my late teens, I had a friend named Joe who had a beautiful married sister with two kids. They were super close, and she was so great! One day, she disappeared completely. Someone saw her get into a car with a guy at a hot dog stand, and she was never heard from again. The authorities never ended up finding her.
Her mom wanted to see a psychic, so we took her to one. She said your daughter is fine and will be found soon. It never happened. My friend Joe believes she’s deceased because she would never leave her kids and would definitely reach out to him if she was okay. This happened in the ’70s and was never resolved. It was so sad.
40. My Best Bandmate
When I was in middle school, I had a best guy friend. He was the class clown. We were stand partners for orchestra, and he always made me laugh. We ended up going to different high schools because of redistricting, so we lost contact. I never forgot about him, though. The last time I saw him, my high school orchestra had a performance evaluation at his school.
He still played, so I got to smile and wave at him. The next year, he went missing. His car was found abandoned, but he wasn’t there. A few weeks later, they found his body. Turns out he had thrown himself in front of a truck.
41. Mom’s Emotional Stress
My mom was in the midst of an episode of psychosis and disappeared. I called all the hospitals, called her case manager, and after a couple of days got the authorities involved. The detective said she’d probably show up, and that it happens with mentally ill people. My mom had never just gone off before in my entire life, and her schizoaffective disorder had several swings from the time I was a baby.
After five days, I was sure she’d cycled down to depression and hurt herself. I managed to keep my anxiety in check, and never really freaked out. A week and a half later, I get a call from an area hospital. I recognized the outgoing call phone number from one of her recent inpatient stays there. She used to call multiple times per day, so you get used to a number, you know?
I was like, “Well, this is it.” It’s my mother on the phone. She had checked into a dank motel in another neighborhood and stayed there. She left when she ran out of money and took herself to the hospital. Her apartment wasn’t safe, according to her. I was furious and actually yelled at her. When we got off the phone, my nerves got the best of me and I ugly cried and pretty much had a brief, intense emotional episode for an entire afternoon.
42. Substitute Teacher Needed!
My brother’s middle school teacher went missing. He just didn’t show up to school one day, which was very unusual. The school scrambled to find a substitute for him because they had no notice. We had a whole-school meeting like two days later when he was officially missing where they told us all about it. He left the house that morning as usual, according to his wife.
He was never seen again. Many search parties were organized, and people looked for months, but they never found him. He is still officially missing to this day.
43. What The Librarian Saw
Years ago, I worked in a very small public library. There was a young man, maybe eight to 10 years older than me, that came in every few days for several months. He was very intelligent and extremely interesting. We talked often. One day he came in, we talked for a while, and he asked me to make sure he had returned everything he had checked out.
I did, and before he left, he thanked me for always helping him and being nice. He walked up the street to his apartment and died by suicide. I always wished that I had realized he was saying goodbye.
44. Shady Dealings
Had a friend from high school go missing over a year ago. He’s originally from California, but at some point, he moved to southern Oregon. Word is he was into something shady. Anyway, his girlfriend reports him missing. He left the house on foot sometime during the night while she was asleep. The dogs did not bark and the house was unlocked. He left his car keys and vanished.
Investigators found no clues. My guess is he was buried, but I suppose I’ll never know. He was never too bright. I could see a “friend” calling him telling him to meet them down the road to get high and that’s when they would have snatched him. I’m assuming he owed money and didn’t pay. Just my theory.
45. Trekking Through The Desert
The older sister of a girl I knew went missing. She was well-liked, and it was a smallish town. Search parties were formed, and people were trekking through the desert trying to find her. I’m not sure where they eventually found her, but it was a few days later. She had taken her life. Hit everyone pretty hard. You never know what a person is going through.
46. A Good Uncle
I know I was the last person to see my uncle alive. He was a hotshot driver so he would deliver oilfield parts across states at a moment’s notice. I was at the local truck stop waiting in line to pay for gas early one morning, and out of nowhere, a random man grabbed me from behind, put me in a headlock, and said, “Hey boy, you want some man love?”
I freak out and shouted, “GET AWAY!” And I turn around and see my uncle laughing hysterically. That’s how he always was, and it was great seeing him that way. He was always joking around. He was on his way to Pennsylvania, pulled over for a quick nap, and he just never woke up. He was missing for a week or so before they found his body.
He was only like three hours away from home. It was really sad because of how sudden it was, and he was only 45.
47. Off The Playground
My cousin disappeared. This happened seven or nine years ago. I think he was 14 or 15 when it happened. He was kidnapped from the playground he was playing in. They put him in a van and drove off to the nearby city. However, his kidnappers made one huge mistake: They left him in the van to get some food, and that’s when my cousin made his great escape.
He said a kind auto-rickshaw driver helped him call his dad who was living in the same city at the time. But that’s not the most terrifying part. Turns out, the perpetrators were organ traffickers who were planning on harvesting his kidneys. Even typing this out is terrifying.
48. In The Middle Of The Night
About 15 years ago, my uncle drove up from Arizona with his three kids to Illinois where my family and my Grandma lived. He stayed the weekend at my Grandma’s and was supposed to stay another week before heading back to Arizona, but then left in the middle of the night on a Sunday without a word. He did, however, leave a note saying he wouldn’t be back and my Grandma was to take care of the kids.
None of us, not even his kids or ex-wife, heard or saw anything about him until two years ago when my mom found him on Facebook. Apparently, he moved to the Philippines with some Filipino woman and started a new family there.
49. The Star Student
My friend’s teenage son went missing. The son was a sports star, a great kid: he had scholarships to his college of choice, was in the top 10% of the student body, etc. He was gone for a week, and the whole community really rallied to look for him. Unfortunately, it came to light that two of his friends were actually behind it.
He had become a star student when they went to high school, but his two friends from elementary school didn’t. They had gotten increasingly more jealous of his loving parents, stable finances, scholarships, grades, and praise…So they came up with a twisted plan to get rid of him. They had planned their friends’ disappearance, carried it out, hidden his body, then helped look for him, all while knowing they had done it.
Their Facebook messages to one another revealed the truth after about a week, and it wasn’t long until his body was found.
50. The year 2000
I had a friend and classmate go missing after Y2K. She never came back to school, abandoned her rental house, and I never heard from her again. Her mom was kind of wacky and would regularly leave my friend and her sister at home for weeks at a time to be a band groupie or to go on “retreats,” so I didn’t really think much of it at the time.
I got a call from the FBI, which was very scary for a 16-year-old, asking me questions and if I knew anything. I didn’t. Apparently, they joined some Y2K cult in New Mexico never to be heard from again. I have looked her and her sister up on social media from time to time but have never found them.