Do you love your Mom?
It was your Mom who gave birth to you and your Mom who coached you through your potty training and insufferable teen angst, so it’s no wonder she’s the one you’ll turn to if things get bad. And we’re not talking, I scratched my knee at soccer practice bad. We’re talking last words before I leave this mortal earth bad. These stories are about people already captured and awaiting death – these people knew they were in trouble and made one last phone call home before things spun completely out of their control.
Some of these terrifying calls come from children as young as 8 just talking to their Mommy or Daddy, while others are full-grown adults who need to make that last call to Mom. Sometimes, a phone call was impossible, so the last message comes in the form of an ominous text message. Some of these parents weren’t home and received heartbreaking voice messages after it was far too late. Others were on the end of the line offering encouragement or calling for help. But for the most part, it was too late. These kids never talked to their parents again.
If you thought these photos taken right before death were creepy, just wait till you check out this list. In these last chilling phone calls, some beg for help, while others simply tell the most important people in the world that they are loved. Others are frighteningly benign, casual conversations that hint at impending doom. Either way, here are twenty of the most chilling final phone calls ever recorded:
20 "It's Okay, Mom. I'm With My friend. I Have My Bike."
After this reassurance, Mahmoud’s mother never heard another word from him. A day later, his body was found in a vacant house only a few metres from his mother’s. What might be most disturbing about this final call is the reference Mahmoud makes to his so-called “friend,” almost suggesting that this man is the one who will protect him against any attackers.
And the message here is so ordinary, so forgettable and everyday, that it’s hard to imagine the horror that lies beneath the words. Who hasn’t called their mom after school to tell her that they’re out with a friend and will get themselves home? Scary stuff.
19 "There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane"
Diane Schuler was a loving mother and aunt who had just finished a camping trip with her extended family. She piled all the kids into the minivan and gave her husband the keys to the second car. Then she drank two bottles of Absolut vodka and sped at 85 mph the wrong way along the highway until she crashed into an oncoming SUV. The eight people who died included herself, her own daughter, three of her nieces, and all three people in the oncoming vehicle. No one knows why she did it.
The children in the vehicle with her knew that the situation wasn’t normal, but didn’t know what to do about it. At one point, Emma, the oldest niece in the car, called her father Warren Hance to let him know that the ride home wasn’t going as planned. “There’s something wrong with Aunt Diane,” she yelled, but when her father asked what she meant, Diane took the phone back from the child and told Warren that the kids were just fooling around...
18 "My Head Hurts"
Aaren O’Connor had recently transplanted to Chicago when she was struck by a stray bullet while sitting in her car. A totally innocent victim of gang violence, she was on the phone with her family in the aftermath of the incident, and while a bit incoherent, she was still speaking. Her father reported that while he was trying to speak to her in order to better understand the situation, she could only repeat over and over that her head was hurting. He thought she might be having a stroke but the truth was that these were some of the last words she would ever utter. Eventually found and transported to hospital, it was too late to save her as she expired from her injury.
While it’s a tragedy for anyone to die as young as Aaren (25), what makes this story sadder than most is that she did nothing to deserve her fate, but was simply caught in the wrong place and the wrong time. Her father never wanted her to move to Chicago in the first place because he thought it was too dangerous for his sweetheart. It turned out he was right.
17 "Mommy, They Shot Me. You Gotta Find Me."
This young teen was shot in the back in Newport News, Virginia, while walking in his neighbourhood with his friend. His friend survived while Johnson-Chisholm took a fatal hit. Before he bled out he called his mother and made this heartbreaking cry for help. She rushed out to find him dying on the sidewalk only a few blocks away.
This whimpering phone call is a reminder of how young thirteen really is to die. When he was playing in the street with his friend, I’m sure he thought he was all grown up, but when things got real he called for his Mom like the child he still was. This is a sad case of someone taken far too young.
The killer reportedly sent Lamonee an apologetic Facebook message the day after he died, which is touching in a way but also unbelievably stupid. Did he expect to bring a child back to life? Instead he only implicated himself in a murder.
16 "I Think We Are Going Down...Don't Worry, Dad. If It Happens, It Will Be Very Fast. My God, My God..."
Peter Hanson was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, one of the planes abducted by the hijackers on 9/11. He somehow managed to place two calls back home – the first warned his father that the planes had been hijacked and the authorities needed to be alerted. The second one was much more dire, and reflects the fact that he knew his life was nearing its end. He warns his father that the attackers plan to fly into a building and assures him that death, when it comes, will be mercifully quick. The full text of this final message is as follows:
“It's getting bad, Dad. A stewardess was stabbed. They seem to have knives and Mace. They said they have a bomb. Passengers are throwing up and getting sick. The plane is making jerky movements. I don't think the pilot is flying the plane. I think we are going down. I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building. Don't worry, Dad. If it happens, it'll be very fast. My God, my God.”
15 "Mum, The Bear Is Eating Me!"
A budding psychologist, Olga Moskolyova was just 18 when she was attacked by a mama bear in Russia. She called her mother Tatiana several times as she watched the bear attack her stepfather and then turn its attention to her. Tatiana called friends and authorities but by the time they arrived on the scene it was too late – Olga was already dead.
This is a sad reminder not to underestimate the power of nature. Bear attacks in the wild are rare but as humans invade their territory they are forced out of their natural habitat and must resort to desperate measures which sometimes include aggression toward humans, as this ill-fated final call indicates.
Perhaps most chilling of all is the end of Olga’s last phone call: “Mum, it’s not hurting anymore. I don’t feel the pain. Forgive me for everything. I love you so much.”
14 "I'm Going To Heaven Now. I'll Help You From There."
Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi were an Italian couple who lived on the 23rd floor of the Grenfell Tower in London. When the building caught fire, they tried to be brave and insist that they would make it out, but as they began to see more smoke and fire they realized how grave their situation really was.
Gloria and her fiancé were getting ready to get married and maybe start a family when their lives were stolen from them in this disastrous accident. In the face of meeting her maker, Gloria fell back on her religion and prayed for salvation. I admire her optimism and faith – when most people would have been panicking and desperately seeking a way out, she seemed oddly calm and accepting of her fate.
13 "I Have Just Popped Out. Don't Worry xxx"
This innocent-seeming text was from 19-year-old Jack Barnes, who sent his mom a calming text before disappearing into the woods to attempt to take his own life. Unlike most on this list, Jack is still alive so this might not technically be considered his “last call.”
While he survived the hanging and was eventually discovered, Barnes was left seriously brain-damaged and probably will never be able to live a normal life again.
12 "Goodbye Mama"
This 22-year-old hid in a bathroom and talked to his mother as he waited for a tornado to hit in Arkansas. At the last moment, he must have had a horrifying premonition, because he managed to send this final text moments before the tornado claimed his life.
What’s sad about this text is that it’s so direct and memorable, and hints that the sender knows what is in store for him. It also sounds just like a little child wishing his mother goodbye on an ordinary day, but when you realize the context and the age of the sender, it becomes much more heartbreaking. This guy clearly loves his mama, and he’s got to let her know before he leaves this earth.
Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes bring instantaneous destruction, which makes us wonder how Jeffrey could have known his unfortunate fate so soon. Perhaps he saw the twister advancing ominously through the bathroom window and realized its path was not deviating from the house he was huddled in. He must have known that his hiding place was no match for the 200+ mph winds that were approaching.
11 "It Hurts"
Jhordann Rust had travelled with her fiancé to San Diego, but once they arrived they got into a drunken altercation and separated from each other for the night. Not knowing anyone else in the city, Rust hooked on with a couple of strange men who bought a bottle of wine and took her back to their hotel room. When things became abusive, she called her mother and let her know that she was scared of one of the men. Her mother stayed on the phone for hours, insisting that she get out of the hotel room any way that she could, but the situation only got worse. Jhordann’s mother heard the first blows and Jhordann’s first cries of pain. She tried to contact authorities, but because she was calling from a different state she lost valuable minutes as she tried to track down the proper 9-1-1 department. By the time she contacted the San Diego police and asked them to locate Jhordann it was too late.
The man she was “terrified” of has been convicted of her murder.
10 "Mum, If I Make It Home, I Need You. I'm Scared."
Alesha Bell of Warren, Ohio was travelling to meet a family member when she disappeared. She was never seen again but eventually her remains were positively identified in the fire pit of the man who is suspected of kidnapping her. Whatever exactly it was that happened to her, she had some idea that she was in trouble based on this frightening final text.
You can only wonder what the circumstances were when this text was sent. While Alesha knew that something was wrong, did she know where she was? Could she have told her mother who had taken her or why? It’s unclear if there’s any more information Alesha could have included in her text, which is clearly a cry for help but frustratingly vague. As it was, she disappeared, was reported missing, and was only identified much later based on a DNA sample.
Alesha was only eighteen when she sent this final text. If only she could have told her mother how to help her...
9 "Mom, I'll Be There In Toronto To Pick You Up."
Sheryl Sheppard’s boyfriend proposed to her at a New Year’s Eve party in Hamilton in 1998 and the next day Sheryl called her Mom, Odette Fisher, who was in New Brunswick visiting family, to wish her a Happy New Year and let her know that she was picking her up from the train station. But she never showed up at the station, and is still missing to this day. The creepiest thing about this case is that once Odette got back to Ontario, she shared Sheryl’s apartment with Michael Lavoie, the boyfriend who had proposed and the prime suspect in Sheryl’s disappearance.
This message is terrifying because it shows what Sheryl would have been doing had she not been taken out of action. It’s so casual and everyday that it would have been quickly forgotten had she actually showed up at Union Station to pick up her mother on that fateful day. Instead, she’s never been seen since.
The entire case is profiled in Somebody Knows Something, a CBC podcast.
8 "I Love You Guys"
This was the final text from Emily Keyes to her father after she and five other girls at the high school she attended were taken hostage by a man named Duane Morrisson. Morrisson shot Keyes, then took his own life before police could give him the justice he deserved.
This text was in response to her father’s first ever text message, which he sent asking if she was okay upon hearing about the crisis. Sadly, his first text exchange with his daughter would also be his last.
What’s so sad about this text is that it reveals all the love in this 16-year-old’s heart even after being abducted and assaulted by a strange man. She is not even crying for help, but seems to have accepted that her fate is in the hands of a madman, and all that she can do is let her family know that she loves them.
7 "Forgive Me"
While most of these stories are about victims of horrific crimes, this one comes from the perpetrator himself. Moments before setting off the bomb that would kill 23 people, including himself, he made one last ominous phone call to his mother, a nuclear scientist. One wonders if he got his bomb-making skills from her.
It was rumoured that Salman had links to ISIS or maybe just committed a solitary crime to demonstrate solidarity with the notorious terrorist faction. While it’s impossible to condone his brutal actions, you have to wonder how his mother felt upon hearing his final plea for forgiveness. Did she know what he was up to? Could she have stopped him?
At the end of the day, while the sentiment expressed in the call is nice and all, it’s hard to forgive someone whose final act was murdering a bunch of innocent people, including children.
6 "There Have Only Been 3 Shark Attacks In The Last 12 Years"
Paul Wilcox was a British man vacationing in Australia and enjoying his time in the ocean. When his mother warned him about sharks on her final phone call, he brushed it off, joking about getting eaten by one and then pointing to the statistics that indicated how rare a shark attack on a human really was. While that may have been true at the time, it’s important to remember that sharks are born predators and are not to be taken lightly in any circumstance. Sure enough, the next time he was in the water, a shark attacked him by the leg and by the time a swimmer got him to shore he was already dead. His family said that he died doing what he loved to do – swimming in the ocean – but that final phone call turned out to be a death sentence.
5 “You Better Not Be Taking Me Anywhere I Don’t Wanna Go!”
We’re breaking the rules a bit here, since this phone call was with a brother rather than a parent, and there’s no audio of the brother speaking. Amber Turacco was an aboriginal Canadian who was hitchhiking in Alberta when a phone call to her brother in prison turned into Amber fearing for her life. In the phone call, she repeatedly demands that the man who has picked her up take her into the city, and asks why he keeps taking back roads. He claims that he is taking her into the city, and he’ll get her to 50th street, wherever that is. Rightfully, Amber becomes increasingly nervous and suspicious throughout the call.
Afterwards, she was never heard from again. The man who picked her up on the side of the road remains unidentified.
The worst part of it all, maybe, is that her brother was listening to the situation develop from inside prison, where he was powerless to leave and prevent his sister’s murder.
4 "Mummy, I Got Buried. Please Make It Quick."
When the Christchurch earthquake hit in New Zealand in 2011, 185 people died. University student Louise Amantillo was not one of the lucky ones who was killed instantly. Caught in the collapse of the Canterbury Television building, she was conscious and alive as she pondered a circumstance that would make the most fearless person in the world claustrophobic.
This text message to her mother back at home in the Philippines reveals the sheer helplessness that Louise must have felt while buried under that building. She could do nothing but pray for a quick end. It’s touching that she reached out to her family, and the “mummy” in the text brings back shades of a little girl in trouble calling out for her mother to rescue her. In this case, her mother could do nothing except wait and hope for the best.
3 Hurry, He's In The Bathroom With Us. Women's Bathroom..."
Hiding in a bathroom as Omar Mateen opened fire and razed dozens of victims to the ground, Eddie Justice knew he was going to die and he was right. He texted his Mom several times telling her to call the authorities. He said that he was hiding, but as the gunman advanced through the club and got closer to Eddie, the texts became more frantic. This last message urges his mothers to tell the authorities to hurry because the gunman has found their hiding spot. This terrifying message only drives home the human horror of the Pulse nightclub tragedy. The full text conversation from Eddie’s perspective (replies from his mother omitted) follows:
Call them mommy/Now/I’m tell I’m bathroom/He’s coming/I’m gonna die/He has us/They need to come get us/Hurry/He’s in the bathroom with us/Women’s bathroom is…
2 "Saw A Guy Fall Out Of Probably The 91st Story All The Way Down. You're Welcome To Give A Call. Love You."
There are dozens of final calls that came out of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, as trapped stock traders and financial brokers waited for their demise. Some are terrifying because of the panic you can hear in the speaker, but this one is most chilling because of its banality. While 24-year-old Fetchet was concerned for his safety, he seemed most concerned with assuring his mother that while he was in danger, he was still alive and hoping for the best. Most striking about this final call is the politeness in his voice – inviting his mother that she is allowed to call him back, as if this were just an ordinary day and he’d need to take a five-minute break from his desk to receive her call. The full text of his final message is as follows:
“Hey Mom. I’m sure you’ve heard a plane crashed into World Trade Center One. I’m obviously alive and well but obviously pretty scared. Saw a guy fall out of probably the 91st storey all the way down. You’re welcome to give a call. Love you.”
1 "Daddy, Daddy, What Are You Doing?"
Eleven year old Tasha Jonas was on the phone with her mother when her father put on his Army uniform, took her out into the front yard, and executed a murder-suicide. Tasha had moved with her father from Virginia to Kentucky after he had taken custody of her, but her mother was trying to get her back, feeling that being with her father was not a safe environment for Tasha. That certainly turned out to be the case!
This tragedy is made so much worse by the fact that it hits so close to home – literally, all in the family. What’s striking here is how young and vulnerable this victim was – once her father had made up his mind to commit this horrible act, there was nothing that poor Tasha could do. And you can only imagine the pain the mother must have felt powerlessly listening to it happen from thousands of miles away, unable to do anything to save her daughter.