Around 2,300 people are reported missing in the United States every day - according to crimelibrary.com, a full 100,000 missing persons a year in the U.S. are classified as endangered.
Many of these cases remain completely unsolved. Usually, the cases which gain the most media attention are those that end in utter tragedy. At least they have an ending though – some of the most concerning are the disappearances that never get answered, the cases that initially make headlines but quickly become forgotten until they eventually vanish into thin air, much like the victims.
Some of these missing people were in the limelight before their disappearances and may have made some enemies throughout their lives and careers, others seem to have gone missing without a trace, and without any reasonable explanation. These are just the tip of the iceberg; there are thousands of unresolved cases of missing persons in America who are out there somewhere – dead or alive – yet the most trained personnel with the most sophisticated equipment have been unable to locate them. These mysterious disappearances have left investigators and the public with practically no answers and have left many friends and family heartbroken and without closure.
10 Oscar Zeta Acosta
Oscar Zeta Acosta was an American politician and lawyer known for his friendship with the author Hunter S. Thompson, who based a character on him in his famous book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Acosta vanished at the age of 39 while travelling in Mexico in 1974. His body was never discovered and investigators never discovered any substantial leads. Most believed that he probably got himself into trouble in Mexico and was killed, while some believe he voluntarily disappeared; over the years rumors have spread that he has been spotted in Miami.
9 Frederick Valentich
20-year-old pilot Frederick Valentich went missing after he embarked on a routine flight in a Cessna 182L light aircraft over Bass Strait in Australia on October 21, 1978. About 45 minutes into his flight, he radioed the Melbourne Flight Service that an aircraft he wasn’t able to identify was following him very closely and moving at high speeds. He reported that the aircraft was flying above him and that he could only see a green light coming from it. Right before his transmission was completely lost, he eventually radioed, “this isn’t an aircraft...”
36 years later, his disappearance is still a mystery as no signs of him or his plane have been found. The theory of the mysterious aircraft being a UFO and either attacking Valentich’s plane or abducting him is highly popular amongst UFOlogists. Others suggest that Valentich saw his own aircraft’s light in the reflection of the water while he was flying, which caused him to become disoriented and lose control.
8 Korrina Lynne Sagers Malinoski
In November 1987, 26-year-old Korrina Lynne Sagers was reported missing when she never showed up to work in Mount Holly, South Carolina. Her car was in the parking lot of a plantation at which her husband worked, and no indication of her whereabouts or leads in the case have turned up since. This might seem like an unfortunate, if standard, disappearance - if it weren't for the next entry on our list...
7 Annette Sagers
Annette Sagers, the 11-year-old daughter of Korrina, disappeared almost a year after her mother. She disappeared from a bus stop facing the same plantation at which her mother was last seen. A note was found at the bus stop, apparently in Annette’s handwriting, which read: “Dad, momma came back. Give the boys a hug.” This has led authorities to believe that Korinna came back for her daughter so they could leave together, but this is explanation isn't watertight because Korinna also had two other sons she left behind. In the year 2000, police received an anonymous phone call stating the whereabouts of their bodies, but nothing ever came of this. Both cases remain a mystery.
6 Cynthia Anderson
Cynthia Anderson was a 20-year-old woman working as a legal secretary for a law firm in Ohio when she went missing on the morning of August 4, 1981. When two of her coworkers arrived at the office to find it empty, Cynthia’s car keys and purse were gone, while her car was still parked outside, and the novel she was reading was open on her desk - at the chapter in which the main character is abducted. One of the lawyers working at the firm was eventually arrested for being involved in drug dealing, and the theory that Cynthia may have known too much became a popular one to explain her disappearance. However, no solid leads in this case have ever actually emerged and after more than 30 years she is still missing.
5 Jean Spangler
Jean Spangler was an American dancer, model and actress in the 1940s, in L.A. On the night she disappeared, October 7, 1949, she told her sister-in-law that she was going to see her ex-husband about child support payments for their 5-year-old daughter and then she was going to a shoot for an upcoming film.
When she never returned home that night, investigators eventually found out that her ex-husband actually hadn’t see her in weeks and that she was not involved in any upcoming films. Two days later, her purse was found in Griffith Park, containing a mysterious note to an unknown “Kirk” that read: “Can't wait any longer, Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away.” Neither the “Kirk” or the “Dr. Scott” in the note were ever identified. Rumors spread that Kirk referred to Kirk Douglas – Michael Douglas’ father – as she had a small role in a movie he was starring in, although no other links between the two were ever made. Spangler had also been seen, on occasion, with an associate of the infamous mobster Mickey Cohen, who happened to go missing two days after Spangler. All the loose ends of the case were never tied up, until Spangler and her disappearance eventually faded into another unresolved mystery...
4 Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson was an OSS agent –the predecessor of the CIA - during World War II and one of the most famous American businessmen living in Asia at the time. He almost single-handedly helped revitalize the silk industry in Thailand by founding the Thai Silk Company in 1948. He became a very rich man who had won the respect of many people in the public and in the government. In March 1967, Thompson was staying at a cottage in the Cameron Highlands with some close friends, when he went for a walk and never returned. By the next day, one of the biggest manhunts in Malaysian history began as over a hundred people searched for Thompson through the forests, but absolutely no signs of him were recovered. The lack of conclusion to this case has led to many theories – most believe he may have been the victim of an abduction, being an ex-American spy in Asia at a time that hostility between the two countries was quite high.
3 Teresa Butler
On January 25, 2006 in Missouri, Teresa Butler’s husband returned home in the early morning after working the night shift to discover that the couple's two young sons – 2 and 4 years old – were left alone in the house and his wife was nowhere to be found. Butler’s car was still parked at the house, her winter jacket was left at home, while items such as her cellphone, a PlayStation, a video camera and a stereo were missing from the home. Police later discovered that two silent calls were made from Butler’s cellphone shortly after her disappearance, to two unconnected people living in separate towns in Missouri who had never heard of her or her family. After eight years, there have been no new discoveries and absolutely no trace of Teresa Butler.
2 The Springfield Three
The Springfield Three refer to Sherrill Elizabeth Levitt, her daughter Suzanne Elizabeth Streeter and her daughter’s friend Stacy Kathleen McCall. Suzanne and Stacy, 19 and 18 years old respectively, were last seen at around 2:00am on June 7 1992 at a friend’s house for a high school graduation party. The two girls were supposed to be sleeping at a friend’s house that night, but decided last minute to go back to Suzanne's mother’s house. There is no doubt that the girls actually arrived at Sherrill’s house because their jewelry, clothing and cars were all found at the house. The last person to speak to Sherrill was a friend on the phone at around 11:00pm that night, who claimed that Sherrill seemed completely normal. Yet, all three women disappeared that night.
A convicted kidnapper and robber, Robert Craig Cox has dropped hints to authorities that he is responsible and knows where the three women are, but no evidence against him has been identified - so the case remains a total mystery.
1 Ray Gricar
Ray Gricar was the district attorney for Centre County, Pennsylvania for 20 years, from 1985 until his disappearance in 2005. On the morning of April 15, 2005, Gricar called his long-time girlfriend to tell her he was just going for a drive in the countryside. After he failed to return home that night, the police found his car the following day parked outside an antique store - where there were no signs of foul play – and all of his belongings, except his cell phone, were missing from the vehicle. A couple of months later, fishermen discovered Gricar’s county-issued work laptop in a nearby river, but its contents were impossible to recover.
Four years later, investigators revealed that multiple searches for things such as “how to destroy a hard drive” were made from his home computer. Gricar was legally declared dead in July 2011, but controversies have been sparked surrounding his disappearance since it was revealed that Gricar had sufficient evidence to prosecute former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, but refused to do so twice – once in 1998 and again in 2005, the year of his disappearance.
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