people disappear every day, but some are better known than others; some are even better known for their demise. some may be victims of a crime, some meet with an accident, and some may have left on their own. despite efforts to find these missing people, some are never found, leaving a mystery surrounding their final days and final disappearance. some disappearances have been the subject of massive searches, media sensationalism, wild speculation, dead ends, wrong turns, false accusations, and some have even been made into TV shows or mini-series. here are 20 people who mysteriously disappeared in no particular order.
If you’ve ever seen the comedy movie No Paddle or a host of other movies, TV show plots, songs, and books have all been based on this man’s legend. On Thanksgiving eve of 1971, DB bought a ticket under an alias, Dan Cooper, and then proceeded to hijack North Orient Airlines Flight 305, which was bound for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Just after the flight took off in what was supposed to be a thirty-minute flight, Cooper told a flight attendant that he had explosives in his possession and demanded $200,000 and four parachutes plus a refueling truck to take off. when they did. land at the airport they were originally going to.
The authorities paid the ransom and gave Cooper the parachutes. After the refueling began, he told the pilot and crew where he wanted the plane to take him, which was Mexico City. however, approximately thirty minutes into the flight, he jumped out of the plane from ten thousand feet near mount st. helens in washington state.
Not only was he never found, but Cooper’s true identity remains a mystery and it is not known if he survived the jump. In July 2016, a two-part special aired on the History Channel about DB Cooper, naming Robert Rackstraw as the man behind the mystery. however, the fbi stated in the same month that they were no longer pursuing him. rackstraw, a 72-year-old man who lives on a boat in san diego bay, says he considered filing a defamation lawsuit against the television station, but never filed. whether or not he is db cooper remains a mystery.
2. amelia earhart
amelia earhart is probably the most famous missing person in history. As a pilot and passenger, her flying exploits made her well known. In addition to her popularity in aviation, she was also a teacher, author, fashion designer, magazine editor, and cigarette spokesperson. Ella Earhart and Ella’s navigator Fred Noonan decided to go on a round-the-world voyage in 1937. However, on July 2, Ella Earhart sent out a radio message asking for help; they were apparently dangerously low on fuel over the pacific ocean. The US Coast Guard sent help in the form of a cutter, the Itasca, but they were unable to locate the plane. the cutter proceeded to send out smoke signals, hoping the pair would see the smoke, but to no avail. neither the plane nor the two on board were ever found. Earhart’s husband funded a private search, but it produced no results. In 1939, Earhart was declared dead in absentia.
There have been numerous theories about what happened, and the resulting searches became the most intensive and costly in American history at the time. The most common belief is that his plane ran out of fuel and had no choice but to plunge into the Pacific Ocean, sinking later after the accident. Even after intense searches at the time, in 2012, investigators spent another two point two million dollars trying to prove that Earhart had crashed on a small island. however, nothing was ever tested.
3. harold holt
harold holt was prime minister of australia, the seventeenth, to be exact. After holding various cabinet posts, he became leader of the Liberal Party and later Prime Minister in 1966. After being Prime Minister for less than two years, Holt bathed in one of his favorite places to to swim. unfortunately, he never came back. he launched a major search operation, but was never found. Furthermore, no formal investigation was ever conducted into his disappearance.
at the time of the incident, holt was taking pain medication for a shoulder injury. Although Holt was a skilled swimmer, it is believed that he was either swept out to sea or eaten by a shark. his death was ultimately ruled an accidental drowning; the place where he went swimming was known for strong rip currents. an exhaustive search yielded results. his body was never found. after his disappearance a slang expression was coined, “do a harry holt”, which meant to flee or disappear abruptly.
4. jimmy hoffa
jimmy hoffa was a union official who led the Teamsters for over ten years. he was corrupt and involved in organized crime, and went to prison in 1967 while retaining his presidency over the Teamsters. However, he resigned from his position in 1971 to obtain the release and pardon of then President Nixon. Hoffa was last seen outside a Detroit restaurant where he allegedly met with two organized crime bosses. After disappearing, he was finally pronounced dead in 1982, but the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and his subsequent apparent death remain a mystery to this day.
However, it has been established that he was murdered by mobsters the day he disappeared, although a body was never found. Many stories circulated about his disappearance and, according to a mob source, Hoffa was laid in a shallow grave on a vacant lot about twenty miles from where he was last seen. The source claims this was supposed to be a temporary location, but Hoffa’s body was never moved. however, this has never been tested.
5. henry hudson
henry hudson was a famous english explorer for whom cities, bridges, rivers, bays, straits and others have been named, though it seems he must not have been a very nice guy to work with. while he explored, his crew, who were starving, half-frozen, and homesick, became so restless that they mutinied because they were unwilling to continue the search after being trapped for several months in the ice. The crew put Hudson, his teenage son and seven other crew members who were loyal to Hudson into a small boat that drifted. they were never seen again after the ship left them behind.
The remaining crew members who returned to England were arrested and charged with Hudson’s murder, but escaped unpunished due to a lack of details regarding their captain’s death. However, it is generally believed that he and the eight others who were marooned with him died aboard the open boat, a scene that was immortalized by the painter John Collier.
6. Azarian Chamberlain
Perhaps the most infamous missing persons case in Australian history is that of Azaria Chamberlain. You have probably heard the famous phrase, “a dingo ate my baby” and this is the case that made it famous. In 1980, Azaria Chamberlain, just nine weeks old, disappeared while her parents were camping in the interior. Her mother, Linda Chamberlain, was tried and convicted of murdering her infant daughter and was later sentenced to life in prison. however, after turning three years old, a piece of the baby’s clothing was found in a dingo’s den, completely by chance. the lair was located near the camp the baby azaria disappeared from.
Ultimately, the mother’s conviction, as well as the charges against her husband Michael, were overturned two years later and the charges were dropped. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that Azaria’s death certificate was legally changed, when a coroner issued an amendment to back up the Chamberlains’ initial claims that a dingo had snatched her baby from her tent in the middle of the night. to be taken away and killed. The famous phrase is actually from 1988 and from the movie in which Meryl Streep played Linda Chamberlain. the phrase is a misquote, however the line was actually “the dingo took my baby”.
7. Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn was the son of actress Lili Damita and Errol Flynn. Flynn tried several different careers, as a musician and actor, before settling on photojournalism. It was as a photojournalist that Flynn seemed to have found his calling. In search of extraordinary imagery, Flynn often traveled with special forces units and irregulars operating in remote areas. he was known for going to extremes, including dangerous ones. In April 1970, during the Vietnam War, Flynn was working in Cambodia with another photojournalist, Dana Stone. stone had a reputation similar to flynn’s for going the extra mile in dangerous places.
Apparently the two were captured by communist guerrillas, but what happened next is a mystery to this day. Flynn’s mother paid large sums of money trying to locate him, but to no avail. she was neither seen nor heard from again. Flynn, at the urging of his mother, was eventually declared dead in absentia in 1984.
8. Oscar Zeta Acosta
oscar zeta acosta was a controversial writer and activist. He is best known for being friends with another controversial writer, Hunter S. Thompson, both veterans of the US Air Force. Acosta was well known for his novels written in the early 1970s and his portrayal of him in Thompson’s book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” as Dr. gonzo.
acosta disappeared while traveling through mazatlan, mexico in 1974. his son marco was probably the last person to speak with him. Marco says that his father called him from Mazatlan and told him that he was about to board a boat that was “full of white snow.” Marco further speculated that, knowing his father and the people he was with, he probably became intelligent or talkative with the people he was with, which later resulted in a fight, and subsequent death and disappearance. of him.
according to thompson, acosta suffered from an addiction to amphetamines, in addition to a predilection for lsd. Various beliefs about his disappearance include that Acosta was murdered by drug dealers, that he was politically assassinated, that he overdosed, or that he had a nervous breakdown.
9. theodosia burr alston
Theodosia Burr Alston was the eldest daughter of former US Vice President Aaron Burr, who was disgraced after being indicted for treason. In addition, she was also married to the then Governor of South Carolina, Joseph Alston. five years after her father’s fall, she lost her son. she went into a mourning so deep that it affected her health. The only bright spot for her was that her father would be allowed to return to the US after being exiled to Europe.
in 1812, alston boarded the patriot, which was a schooner bound for new york. she would meet her father on the eve of that new year. she was traveling alone because her husband, who had just taken the oath, was unable to accompany her due to his duties as governor. however, the schooner never got to where she was supposed to go. some believe that the ship capsized or sank due to a major storm that had been documented in the area at the time and others believe that she was captured by pirates. no matter what happens to him, neither the ship nor the passengers on it were ever seen again.
10. solomon to the north
soloman northup is believed to have been born in new york in the early 19th century. although he was black, both of his parents were free; however, his father had been a slave at one time. Northup married a woman named Anne Hampton sometime in the late 1820s, and the two had three children. Years later, in 1841, Northup believed he had been offered a job as a violinist in Washington DC, albeit temporarily. however, he turned out to be a ruse and was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
after more than ten years of slavery, northup finally regained his freedom thanks to the help he received from a sympathetic carpenter in canada. Northup turned his experiences as a slave into a memoir titled “Twelve Years a Slave.” furthermore, he also became a traveling lecturer, supporting the abolition of slavery. It was during this time that he had gone to Canada in 1857 where he disappeared. some believe that he was kidnapped again, sending him back into slavery. others argue that he would have been too old by then and would most likely have been killed for his beliefs and subsequent pro-abolition conferences.
11. heinrich müller
heinrich muller is considered one of the most shameful people of the 20th century, if not of all time. He joined Nazi Germany’s state police, the Gestapo, in 1933. He quickly rose through the ranks to chief, and in 1939, he formally joined the Nazi Party. Part of Muller’s acts include helping to promote false information used to justify the invasion of Poland, as well as helping to carry out the Holocaust.
Muller was last seen on May 1, 1945, the day before Hitler took his own life. no one knows what happened to him, but most believe he died around this time. Hitler’s pilot Hans Baur claimed that Muller had said that he knew of the Russians’ methods and that he had no intention of allowing himself to be taken prisoner. Since that day he has not been heard from again. he is the highest-ranking member of the Nazi party not known to have been captured or killed, and his whereabouts remain a mystery.
12. glenn miller
glenn miller was the best-selling recording artist from the late 1930s to the early 1940s, making him one of the most iconic big band leaders of all time. Miller volunteered to join the United States Army after the United States entered World War II, but was turned down. he then tried to volunteer for the army and was eventually accepted into the air force. In December 1944, Miller and two others would fly to Paris, France, to arrange for his band to play concerts for American troops.
However, his plane disappeared while flying somewhere over the English Channel. Neither Miller nor the other two occupants nor the plane were found. Later, in a Chicago Tribune article, he reported in 2014 that the most likely cause of his disappearance was due to a plane crash caused by a faulty carburetor. The carburetor in question was said to be faulty when used in cold weather and had a history of icing and accidents, although this was shown to be definite.
13. dorothy arnold
Dorothy Arnold was a Manhattan heiress and socialite who disappeared in New York City in December 1910. She was twenty-five years old at the time. On the morning of December 12, Arnold told her mother that she was going to go shopping for a dress for her sister’s upcoming party. Her mother suggested that he go with her, but Arnold declined her offer, saying that he would call her if he found a suitable dress. she left her family’s house around eleven o’clock in the morning.
After doing some shopping, she stopped to chat with a friend for a moment before apologizing and saying she was meeting her mom for lunch. this was shortly before two in the afternoon and was the last time anyone saw her. at dinner time, when she had not yet returned home, the family became concerned; Arnold never skipped family meals for no reason. Her parents started calling her friends, but to no avail. Fearing unwanted media attention, the couple decided not to call the police about her disappearance until weeks later. however, they contacted his attorney and family friend, john s. Keith who hired detectives to search for Arnold. When they had no luck, Keith persuaded Arnold’s father to finally call the police.
They held a press conference, offering a reward for any information leading to his whereabouts. however, nothing came of it. approximately seventy-five days after his disappearance, the police terminated the investigation. One of the prevailing rumors was that Arnold died due to a botched abortion. In fact, when police raided an illegal abortion clinic in 1916, the doctor testified that Arnold had died there due to serious complications he experienced after an abortion. his father, however, strongly denied these rumors, believing that his daughter had been kidnapped and murdered shortly after his disappearance. When he died in 1922, he left no provisions for his daughter, believing her to be dead, but his wife held out hope until her own death in 1928. After the death of Arnold’s mother, Keith he confessed that he thought she had committed suicide. due to her unsuccessful career as a writer.
14. jean spangler
Jean Spangler was an American model, dancer, and actress in small roles in early television and Hollywood movies. her career began in 1948, but she disappeared the following year under mysterious circumstances. in fact, her case is still open to this day.
Spangler left her home in Los Angeles on October 7, 1949 around 5 pm, leaving her daughter with her sister-in-law. she claimed that she had plans to meet with her ex-husband regarding child support that she was late and then she would be heading to work on a movie that would be shot at night. she was last seen by a store clerk near her home. The clerk verified that Spangler appeared to be waiting for someone. she was never seen again. her sister-in-law reported her missing the next day and filed a complaint with the police.
The strange thing about this case is that her ex-husband had no plans to meet with her; her new wife said they were together at the time and there was no movie being shot that night, they didn’t even have any work in progress at the time. these would point to her lying about where she was going. however, two days after her disappearance, her bag was found near the griffith park entrance with the straps loose as if someone had ripped it from her arm. More than 160 people, including 60 police officers, searched the area, but found nothing else.
the only clue that was found was in her bag, an unfinished note addressed to “kirk”, saying that she was going to “dr. scott” and that this was for the best while her mother was away. her friends Police had been told that Spangler was pregnant and may have attempted an abortion, although these were illegal at the time Other rumors reported that she fled the country with Mickey Cohen, who was a known mobster None of these were ever proven true and his case remains open and unsolved.
15. frank morris
Of the thirty-six inmates who attempted to escape from Alcatraz during the twenty-nine years it was in operation as a federal penitentiary, five are listed as missing but are presumed to have drowned, although bodies were never found. of the others, twenty-three were captured, six shot/dead, and two drowned. Of the five disappeared, Frank Morris is one of the most famous.
morris grew up an orphan and spent most of his formative years in foster care. At thirteen, he was convicted of his first crime. he continued to break the law and was arrested for many crimes as he reached his teens, including armed robbery and possession of narcotics. Morris was considered extremely intelligent at the time, ranking in the top two percent of the general population with an IQ of 133. He served time in various prisons and was eventually sent to Alcatraz in 1960. His inmate number was AZ1441.
morris and three other inmates planned their escape, but only morris and two brothers, john and clarence anglin, were able to carry out their plans. prison officials believe all three drowned, but evidence over the years points to their survival. In fact, the San Francisco Police Department sent a letter in 2013, claiming that the writer was John Anglin. He went on to claim that he, his brother, and his Morris had escaped from Alcatraz in June 1962, albeit just barely. he said that he was eighty-three years old and that he had cancer. He went on to explain that Morris had died in 2008 and that his brother had died in 2011. However, the letter could not be verified, but it was shown that a leak could have been successful at that time.
16. jim thompson
jim thompson was an american businessman who revitalized the silk industry in thailand in the 1950s and 1960s. he disappeared while walking along the cameron highlands in malaysia on sunday march 26, 1967. after the church that day, decided to go for a walk and never came back. An exhaustive search was carried out, declaring that Thompson was missing. more than five hundred people helped in the search, which officially lasted eleven days. however, he was never found, nor were any clues about his disappearance.
Bone was later found in 1985 in an area near Cameron Highlands, but the remains were missing a skull. An investigator believes that Thompson was the victim of a hit-and-run, and was buried in a shallow grave by the perpetrator. However, the bones were never shown to be related to Thompson’s disappearance.
17. richey edwards
richey edwards was a welsh musician in an alternative rock band called manic street preachers in which he was both the lyricist and rhythm guitarist. many cited him as the leading lyricist of his time. Edwards disappeared on February 1, 1995, just as he and a bandmate were flying to the United States for a promotional tour.
Edwards was reportedly seen multiple times over the next two weeks by fans who were unaware he was missing. on February 14, his abandoned car was found in a parking lot with a dead battery. Police say there was evidence someone had been living in it, but it was never proven whether it was Edwards or not. In addition, the parking lot was near a bridge famous for people who committed suicide by jumping from it, but most believe that Edwards was not capable of taking his own life.
Other sightings have been reported over the years, but nothing concrete has been discovered. he was listed as officially missing until 2008, when he was presumed dead.
18. Philip Taylor Kramer
Philip Taylor Kramer was an American bassist who played for the rock band Iron Butterfly and later became an inventor and computer engineering executive. Kramer was supposed to drive to the Los Angeles airport to pick up a business associate and his wife, but instead called them straight to his hotel. he told them that he would see them later. however, it seems that he was at the airport for almost an hour, but no one understands why. On the way back from the airport, he called his wife and told her that she was going to kill herself. she was never seen or heard from again.
Her disappearance led to a massive search that included many news reports as well as talk show episodes, including Oprah, Unsolved and Unexplained Mysteries, and Americans Most Wanted. however, nothing led to any discovery as to his whereabouts, although there have been many conspiracy theories. His father was reported to have said that his son would never commit suicide, saying that Kramer had told her a long time ago that if he ever said those words, it meant he needed help because of the threats.
19. bison removal
Bison Dele was an American professional basketball player who played center for teams including the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and Orlando Magic. Dele was part of the bullfighting championship in 1997. It is believed that he was killed by his older brother in 2002 while sailing. dele and his girlfriend, skipper, and his brother set sail on july 6, 2002 on dele’s catamaran from tahiti. Dele’s brother, Miles Dabord, was the only one seen or heard from after July 8. Dabord took the ship back to Tahiti on July 20, but he was the only one left on board.
dabord intentionally overdosed on insulin, slipped into a coma, and then died on September 27 of the same year. he was the only one with information about what had happened while they were at sea. On his account, he and Dele had gotten into an argument. Later, Dele’s girlfriend accidentally fell, hitting her head and dying. the employer wanted to report the death; Dele panicked and killed him. Dabord then killed Dele in self defense and dumped all the bodies overboard. however, this account of events is not believed to be what actually happened. whatever happened is a mystery now that the only person who knew about it is dead.
20. natalie hollaway
Natalee Holloway was an American teenager, her disappearance made international headlines when she mysteriously disappeared on May 30, 2005 during a trip to Aruba with her graduating class. Her disappearance caused a sensation in the US media, but the case was never solved. Ella Hollaway was supposed to fly home from the Caribbean on May 30, but she never showed up for her flight. She was last seen the night before outside a restaurant in a car with three local residents, including Joran van der Sloot. All three men asked questions, but claimed that she had been left at the hotel and did not know what had happened to her.
Aruba researchers conducted an exhaustive search along with hundreds of volunteers and divers who searched the ocean floor. no evidence was ever found. Eventually, it emerged that Hollaway had been dropped off at the hotel with Sloot, but that’s where the rest of the story gets confusing. sloot said at one point that he had seizures and became unresponsive. however, nothing could be proven. Later, Sloot extorted Hollaway’s family by telling them that he knew where his body was and demanded money to reveal where he was. he later he was indicted on charges of extortion and wire fraud.
In addition, Sloot was later found guilty of murdering another young woman in Lima, Peru, leading authorities to believe he also had something to do with Hollaway’s disappearance, but no evidence has been found. Holloway was declared legally dead in her absence on January 12, 2012 at the request of her father.