Being the last person to see someone alive is devastating. Whether you personally knew them or merely encountered them for the first time, their disappearance can have lasting effects. Just take it from these brave souls who were the last person to see someone before they vanished.
1. An Unforgettable Memory
I am nearly 100% positive that my little brother and I were the last ones to see my father alive. We were waiting for the school bus and saw him driving back home with this strange look on his face. We waved to him, but he didn’t wave back. After that, he went missing. A couple of weeks later, he was found dead. It was suicide.
It is a scene in my head that gets replayed in my head often. I miss him so much.
2. Last Smile from a Friend
One day when I was walking home from a friend’s place, I heard someone skateboarding towards me. When I looked up, I noticed it was one of my skating buddies. So, I smiled and was about to call out to him, but he put his finger over his lips like a shush. He just held it there as he stared at me, and he rolled by but didn’t break eye contact with me.
I became visibly confused and he smiled and finally looked in front of him. I stood there for what felt like forever not knowing what to do as questions raced through my head. I just decided to confront him in the morning at school, but then I learned the awful truth: he committed suicide that night. The memory is still burned into my mind. I always wonder what if I'd done something different?
3. Missing Patient
I was the last person to see a patient of mine before his brother locked him in his basement for a few weeks. The patient was eventually found. I felt really privileged to have helped. By chance, he gave me his brother’s address as a forwarding address and the police went looking for him there. When found, my guy was dehydrated and had a broken jaw, but ultimately did well.
His brother is currently in a secure psychiatric ward.
4. A Campus-Wide Manhunt
A friend in college left a party because he had remembered that he forgot his jacket in another person’s dorm. Nobody heard from him the following day; most figured he was drunk and just passed out somewhere. I even left a voicemail on his phone like, "Where are you? LOL hope you aren't dead!" Days turned into weeks, there were campus-wide man-hunts with hundreds of volunteers.
His body finally turned up in an electrical closet six weeks later. Accidental electrocution.
5. Taking a Trip to the Library
I worked in a very small public library, years ago. There was a young man, maybe eight 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, etc. He walked up the street to his apartment and shot himself.
I always wished that I realized he was saying goodbye.
6. Never Back from Lunch
When I was 19, I worked at a small grocery store with a woman in her early 20s who would sometimes go home on her lunch break. More than once she fell asleep and didn't come back to work. She wanted to go to lunch before me and I told her she needed to really be back in 30 minutes so I could go to lunch because I was really hungry.
When she didn't come back after 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour... no one was really surprised, just annoyed. When I came in the next morning. the girl who usually worked in the office was at the register and she looked at me, my stomach sunk. I knew something bad had happened. The police were called after she didn't pick up her son from daycare which was NOT like her at all. A couple of days later they found her car, purse, cellphone, keys, in an alley. It's been almost 11 years and they still haven't found her.
7. Lori and Mark Hacking
Lori Hacking and her husband Mark Douglas Hacking came into my cell phone store two days before she found out about how he lied to her about pretty much everything in his life and then killed her and their unborn child. They were both awesome people. She was happy and bubbly, and he was a really "nice" guy.
About a week passed before my manager put up the missing poster of Lori on our store door. As I saw it, I felt a chill run down my spine. I called the authorities and as we talked, I realized the absolute worst part. Mark came back into the store a few days later. He wanted to ask me a question about their cell phone plan. When I thought about the timing, I realized that Lori was already gone when he came in with a totally casual question about his cell plan.
8. Drug Money
Our neighbors across the street were raising their grandchild because their child (kid's parent) was going through some substance abuse issues. The kid was about seven years younger than me and I used to babysit her sometimes. When I was around 14 and she was around 8, several men broke into the house and kidnapped her. I babysat her the night before, and I can't remember if she was home alone or if one of the grandparents was there.
The police found her about 10-12 days later. Her mother owed a lot of money for drugs and so some of the drug dealers tracked down her kid and kidnapped her to try to get the mother to pay them. I never learned the details of what happened while she was kidnapped, and she has gotten therapy and is now married with kids.
9. Catching the Train
So it's the mid-80s. There's a bar next to the train tracks. Touching the parking lot. This guy who we'd drink with, a regular of the bar, wandered out and said goodbye to us, he wanders on to the tracks as a train is coming. We try to call for him and run to him, but it's too late. In a blink of an eye there's a train where he was.
We call the cops. The cops stop the train. There's no evidence of a body. His home is locked up. For two weeks the entire town assumes this guy is hit by a train and his body just disintegrated into bits too small to find. Just in a blink of an eye this guy is erased from the face of the planet. Two and a half weeks later he wanders into the bar. And we all think we're seeing a ghost.
Turns out, he had just missed getting hit by the train (didn't even know it was there) and ran into a buddy who was going to Florida for business for a couple of weeks, who had invited him to come along.
10. Bone-Chilling Discovery
I was in Colombia as a service missionary. I just got to a new area and pulled up the phone directory the people before me left. There were some records about this guy they were visiting, so I stopped by to introduce myself. He came to the door but was busy, so we set a time for me to come by the next day. About an hour before our scheduled time the next day, I call him to confirm and he says we're good to go, so I come by an hour later and knock on the door.
His girlfriend answered and told us she hadn't heard from him in over an hour and that wasn't answering his phone, etc. Days go by and nobody's heard anything, so she starts putting up missing posters. Still, nothing. About three months later I move to a new city. Not even a week later I get a call from the people that replaced me saying they found the guy, but in pieces.
The latest theory you heard was that he was taken by people who wanted his money. He was an architect, I don't particularly think he was super well known, but his family was at least more well off than most in this town.
11. Random Act of Violence
Back in junior year of high school, I got to know a senior. While we were working, he told me about how he's going to go hang out with his friends after work. I didn't think much of it. The next day, I heard the heartbreaking news. He was killed in a drive-by shooting, just two weeks before he graduated high school. During the graduation ceremony, his name was announced and everyone was asked for a moment of silence as his father walked down the aisle in his position.
12. Last to See Him, First to See Him
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 said they hadn't heard from him since the party. I told him about the train interaction and it turned out that I was the last person to have seen him. 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 ran away to the Dominican Republic without telling anyone to see what life was like there, ran out of money, and returned. Last person to see him before he disappeared, first person to see him when he returned.
13. Visiting Greece
Way back in the early 90s, I worked in a youth hostel in Greece, on Santorini when I met up with an old friend. We hang out for a week before we both headed out to travel further in opposite directions. Two days later, his flight crashed in the Himalayas near Nepal. All 200+ people on board died. After it happened, I wrote a long letter to his parents and family telling them about our week together on Santorini and sent some pictures of us.
The parents were too hurt to acknowledge my letter, I understand, but his sister wrote to me and thanked me. That was 28 years ago.
14. You Know Where to Find Me
One of my best friends found out his wife was cheating on him. He went ballistic, grabbed his gun and took off to parts unknown. Both the police and I went looking for him for several hours but couldn't find him. Eventually, 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 death 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. But that's not the worst part. 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.
15. After Prom Celebrations
This was in high school. We were at my house after prom (so it was around three in the morning), and one of my teammates from my basketball team stopped by with her best friend. He stayed for a couple of hours and then headed home. He was extremely devout and didn't want to miss Sunday service. He ended up falling asleep at the wheel, crossed a median and hit another car head-on. He and the other driver died.
We were the last people to see him. I found out on my way to the beach, and it almost made me crash my car. The next couple of weeks were awful.
16. Father-Daughter Relationship
I had a friend in college. We got into an argument one night. I said some things about how she had been acting. I felt like I was done with that friendship. 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 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 stopped drinking, so we met for coffee instead. The argument 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 (her dad had a history of abuse). She told me it was good and we promised to keep in touch.
I woke up to the police 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. He was the criminal. The police were unable to arrest him right away and he died in the parking lot of a local bar a week later. They said he had a heart attack. He escaped justice and her murder is still technically unsolved.
17. Unfinished Correspondence
I'm a nurse. After dinner when I was going around checking on everyone. This one gentleman with heart problems was writing a letter to his daughter. He was worried that he wasn't going to make it. Unfortunately, he was right; he had a cardiac arrest about an hour later. The letter was unfinished, but I saved it for his daughter until she came in later.
18. Haunted for 30 Years
I used to work at Mason Shoes in Wisconsin as a summer job. I got to know this kid who had just graduated from high school. We'd spend our lunch hours with him regaling me with stories of how he got so drunk the previous weekend. One Monday he didn't show up to work after I dropped him off at home. About a week later he's on the front page of the city newspaper; he'd got drunk, wandered off from the party, and suffocated on his own vomit.
It's been three decades and I still think about him.
19. Reverse Regret
My father had esophageal cancer and had been fighting it for about three years. During that time, I ran the family business so we would have income and so that he could keep his insurance and get treatment. I was maybe 16 at the time. Well, one night, I'm doing the dishes and me and my parents get into a fight. Something inside me snapped that had been holding together for the last three years.
I suddenly knew what I had to do: kill myself. It would solve everything. It was like autopilot, my body moved, I didn't have to think about it. It was natural, like destiny. I told them I wanted to die and ran for the gun safe which was upstairs far away. My father who had been very strong before and fairly heavy tried to block me.
I pushed past him knocking him to the floor. I barely felt it when I hit him, I didn't know how weak he had become as somehow in my mind I still saw him as strong and indestructible until that moment. In that moment my dad went from being the superhero that is "dad" to being human. Anyway, I didn't stop to help him up instead I ran crying upstairs trying to open the gun safe.
I couldn't read the dial through my own tears and all of a sudden, all of the energy I had getting there drained and my body felt extremely heavy and I fell to my knees. My father had pulled himself up and made his way up the stairs. He grabbed me pulling me away from the safe and told my little brother to call the police.
A couple of months later, my father lost the ability to swallow at all and quickly his health went. I always felt responsible thinking "If I hadn't knocked him down he would be alright right now." For years after he passed, I relived that moment in my head. How he fell, and how I didn't even help him. How selfish I was and how I hurt him, my brother, and my family.
At points, it would wash over me like a dream and I'd come out of it crying "I’m sorry, I'm so sorry." I've stopped reliving it. I still wish I could take it back, but I've come to terms with it. Regret is hard though.
20. Keeping Her Name Alive
I was in computer class with a girl who was nice, but always a little strange. One day I got there first, but then the teacher came in and asked me to go help my friend outside. She was sitting against the wall hysterically sobbing. As I sat down, she started telling me what happened through hiccups. On the bus ride to school, her ex-boyfriend rolled up his sleeve to reveal self-inflicted wounds. He told her that she had “done this to [him].”
We just sat there for a while with her crying and me petting her hair. Eventually a school employee came by and said she’d take my friend to go clean up and call her mom. My friend went with our assistant principal, went home, and hung herself. People at school blamed me for not intervening more, but I had no idea that she would do something so extreme. I didn't tell anyone what her ex-boyfriend did either.
It hurt so bad to have people blaming me and I couldn’t do that to him. Even at the time, I knew we were all sixteen and stupid and he didn’t know what he was doing. After the gossip died down, people eventually forgot about her, but I didn't. I’ve heard you die twice, one time when you die physically and one time when you no longer exist in the minds of others. So whenever I think of her I try to say her name out loud and then she still exists to me.
21. Still Remembers the Boy
I was seven and playing at the basketball court at my apartments. It was almost dusk which meant it was getting close for me to head home. On the other side of the court was a boy of about two all alone with a couple of toy trucks. I was a kid so I honestly didn’t think anything of it. Then, I witnessed something that seemed innocent, but I was so, so wrong. I saw a man came by, picked him up, and left as I started walking home.
About 30 minutes later a man was knocking on our screen door. My dad answered and the man was super flustered. He kept asking if we had seen his son who he had left for just a moment outside. I was shy and this was adult talk so I stayed on the couch and said nothing. When he left I told my dad what I saw and he informed the man. The boy was found in the river a week later. I honestly could never remember the man who took the boy, but I remember the boy very clearly and it’s been nearly 15 years.
22. Trailer Purchase
My dad and I were two hours away from our home town working at a flea market when he left to go meet a guy who he was going to buy a trailer from. My dad said he'd be back in an hour or two. Being 15, I was used to working the booth alone and it was just a normal "see you in a bit" type of ordeal. Three hours pass and I was starting to get worried.
After calling multiple times, we still hadn't heard anything at 6:30. My neighbor drove me all the way back home. It was around 1:00 a.m. when we got the call letting us know they found my dad’s body in the back of his work van parked at a hotel just down the street from the flea market. Apparently, he was killed about 30 minutes after he left.
The guy he was meeting with shot him and took the cash he had to buy the "trailer" which didn't exist. He and "someone else" who was never identified put my dad’s body in the back of his van and parked it at a random hotel. Obviously affected me a lot, but I've grown a lot and the experience dramatically shaped who I am today and like to think he'd be proud of where I currently am. In 10 years, I'll be the age he was when he died and that puts a very strange perspective on life that's hard to explain.
23. Replaying That Phone Call
I had a very close friend in the service who was coming back to our hometown for a visit. He was an avid motorcycle rider and he rode his motorcycle from his base that was about 15 hours away. He made it all the way to a neighboring town about 45 minutes from our hometown and called me because he was having bike trouble.
I was on a date heading to the neighboring town and told him I could come pick him up. He said I didn’t have to because I was on a date. I told him it wouldn’t be a problem and he told me he called his dad and that he would pick him up. He called me back a short while and said that his bike started back up and was working fine and if I could give his dad his location in case something else happened and he didn’t have service.
I was in the middle of my date when I got a call from him, except it wasn’t him... it was his mother bawling telling me he got into an accident less than a mile away from home and died. I broke down immediately and my date drove my car back home for me. This happened about six years ago and I still replay the phone call in my head over and over. I miss my friend.
24. Swimming with Friends
I was swimming in a lake with a few friends, and one of them drowned, despite my trying to save him. It's had the single biggest impact on my life of any event. It was 12 years ago and I still have issues because of it.
25. Local Lake Breakfast
When I was six, my dad and I went camping at a local lake for the weekend. Sunday morning, really early, my dad was cooking breakfast over the campfire. We were trying to be quiet since it seemed like we were the only camper up at the time. That’s when this little boy walked up. He looked just a little younger than me.
He asked if he could eat some breakfast with us. My dad said sure and asked if his parent wanted some too. The little boy said something along the lines of, “I don’t want to wake them up.” So, we didn’t think much of it. But we should have. After we all ate, he thanked us and went back to his tent. Then we packed up and headed out.
On our way back home, we stopped at this little country store to get gas and drinks. We were about to walk into the store when my dad stopped dead in his tracks. There was a missing person flyer on the ice chest. It was the little boy we’d just had breakfast with. My dad told me to get back in the truck. We drove as fast as we could back to the lake. But when we pulled up, the whole camping area was cleaned up.
We never saw what kind of car they were driving or what the people looked like. We just knew they had a red tent. My dad went back to the store and called the cops and told them everything. I think it was just a couple of weeks later that the boy’s body was found in the woods not too far from there. As far as anyone knows, we were the last people to see him alive. I now read every missing person flyer I see, and I never ignore those Amber alerts we all get on our phones.
26. Close Call
I was at a festival helping set up for it as a volunteer when I was offered to join some other people on a plane ride above the festival. Seven of us were going to go and three were to switch off with one pilot. I was in my early 20s and desperately wanted to go first in excitement. I helped with the pre-flight check-up and wanted to sit in the front as I had helped fly before. Then I was reminded that the other group should go first since they were invited first.
I got out and gave my seat up to a nice woman who humbly took it. Everyone was pretty excited to go. The couple that was with me went and got something out of the car while I watched it take off. The next moment will haunt me forever. The plane made it past the first set of trees but dipped sickeningly quick. Nobody survived the crash.
27. Mysterious Suitcase
Last summer, I was working for the county under a roadside/FSR clean up team. Anything from crushed cans to abandoned cars were picked up and properly disposed of by us. So, one day we're out picking trash and we come across the putrid smell of death (common to find animals like this). So, we at first thought it was just some extra parts of a game animal someone just threw out of their car. We get suspicious and decide to call the cops. Lo and behold it was a dead body. NOW is where it gets interesting.
A few months prior to this event my girlfriend’s aunt goes missing, and has been missing for quite some time. And if you have any sort of deductive reasoning or can extrapolate from incomplete data, your hunch is correct. The body we found was my girlfriend’s aunt. It took many hours of us (me and girlfriend) sitting in silence smoking cigarettes to even begin to grasp how and why this played out like it did. It's just so bizarre how intertwined both of our parts of the story became.
There’s an ongoing murder investigation and by the looks of things (and my speculation), said girlfriend's DAD is the killer. He’s the main suspect of the investigation (and already behind bars for a litany of offenses, that happened just after my girlfriend’s aunt went missing) and I truly do not feel safe if he is let out.
28. Finding Family
I was eight years old when I went with my parents to drop off my little sister to visit with her biological father. The next morning, my dad woke me up for school and said that she didn’t come back that night. My dad went to Denver (where the bio dad had family) to go try to look for them and contacted the Denver PD.
I will never forget the day that we got the call that she was found. I was with my mom and my other sisters when my mom answered her phone and burst into tears. My sister 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 (ironic) 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 on my sister than me. She was basically two years behind in school when she came back, but she got tutoring and managed to get back on track. She is currently in her senior year and looking forward to college in the fall. q
29. Forged Letter
Back in high school, a guy I knew disappeared and the cops interviewed my friends and I. Apparently an utterly chilling note was found on his bed. It read "Give us $1,000 or you'll never see your son again." That was it. There was no information about contacts or a drop-off location or anything. 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. Idiot.
30. A Forgotten Conversation
I went out with friends on Halloween 2011. I came home around 2:00 AM and remember getting a phone call from a friend around 3:00 AM, but I was drunk and half asleep so I didn't take the call. I regretted my actions for the rest of my life. I should have picked up that night. The next morning I tried calling back, but my friend didn’t answer. Later that day the police arrived.
It turns out that my friend was missing and I was the last person he contacted. My friend had taken illicit substances and had a bad trip that induced some sort of psychotic break. He left his phone at a park and just started walking. He found himself in a hospital in a different town. Spent three days in the psych ward before they were able to figure who he was. He had no I.D., so they couldn’t contact his family.