9 Haunting & Mysterious Disappearances

July 3, 2017
Julie Jarema
Riveted Editorial Board

In A Void the Size of the World, Abby runs away into the woods behind her house and disappears. I’ve never been worried about going missing, but this book definitely left new thoughts and fears lingering on in my mind. In an effort to deal with this continuing paranoia, I fell down an internet rabbit hole researching missing persons cases. My search mostly brought on another round of questions and frustration at the lack of resolution. Still, I was compelled to go further and continue searching for more, reading up on all the details of these unusual cases. Below, I’ve collected some of the most mysterious disappearances that remain unresolved.

Cynthia Anderson – On August 4, 1981, 20-year-old Cynthia Anderson vanished from her job as a secretary at a law firm in Toledo, Ohio. Her car was left in the lot, even though her purse and car keys had gone missing. Creepily enough, the romance novel she had been reading was on her desk, opened to a scene where the heroine is abducted at knifepoint. One theory holds that Cynthia staged her own disappearance, and she has still remained missing without any trace of her over the years.

Asha Degree – On February 14, 2000, 9-year-old Asha Degree went missing during the night. She shared a room with her brother, and he had no idea what had happened to her. There were sightings of a girl walking down the highway at around 4 AM, so she might have been running away, copying some of the adventure fantasy books she’d been reading about kids. Three days after her disappearance, her belongings started showing up, including her pencil, marker, and hair bow in the doorway of a toolshed a mile away from her home. Over a year later, her backpack was found 26 miles away, though still no trace or evidence of what happened to Asha.

Diane Augat – On April 10, 1988, Diane Augat left her home in Odessa, Florida and disappeared. Two weeks later, a bag containing her clothes was found in the freezer of a convenience store. Two and a half years after she went missing, Diane’s brother’s girlfriend found a bag in another convenience store labeled “Diane” containing items that may have belonged to her. However, she was never found.

Bobby Dunbar – On August 23, 1912, the Dunbar family took a fishing trip in Louisiana. Their 4-year-old son was abducted, but eight months later, found in the custody of William Cantwell Walters. He was arrested, and Bobby was returned to his family. But wait, there’s more—a woman named Julia Anderson claimed that “Bobby Dunbar” was actually her son, and that this was a mistaken identity case. Her claim was dismissed. Over 90 years later, a DNA test taken by one of Bobby Dunbar’s grandchildren confirmed that the child raised as Bobby Dunbar was not Bobby Dunbar!

Felix Moncla – In 1952, Lieutenant Felix Moncla was stationed in Michigan when an unidentified flying object appeared on radar. Moncla took an aircraft up to investigate. Operators claimed that on the radar, the aircraft merged with the UFO, both disappearing. However, no debris was ever found.

Maura Murray – On February 9, 2004, after a car crash in New Hampshire, 21-year-old nursing student Maura Murray disappeared. Strange events leading up to her disappearance include lying about a death in the family to take time off of school; using a stolen credit card to order food; crashing her father’s car; mysterious phone calls; searching for directions to the Berkshires and Burlington, VT; packing up her belongings; and ultimately crashing her own car into a snow bank and then disappearing from the scene entirely.

Jennifer Kesse – On January 26, 2006, Jennifer Kesse went missing in Orlando. Her day went normally that Monday, going to work, talking to her family, and then calling her boyfriend. Tuesday, she did not show up for work and her boyfriend had not heard from her. All of her belongings indicated that she had carried out her normal morning routine until leaving her apartment. It’s believed that she may have been abducted while walking to her car, as her car was found in a nearby condo complex a few days later. Surveillance footage shows someone parking her car and leaving, but the person of interest’s features were blocked by a gate and the timing of the video shots.

The Sodder children – On Christmas Eve 1945, a house fire destroyed the Sodder family’s home in Fayetteville, WV. Four of the nine children escaped, along with the parents, but the other five went missing. Their remains were never found, but in 1967, a photo of a young man, about 30 years old, turned up in the mail and is believed to be one of the missing children.

The ten people who sailed on the Mary Celeste – In 1872, the captain, his family, and the crew disappeared from this ship while sailing from New York City to Genoa, Italy. Strangely enough, everything besides the one lifeboat, including the cargo and supply of food and water for six months remained intact. Theories about pirates, mutiny, and explosions due to alcohol vapors have been ruled out. The most likely cause for the disappearance of the people on board is that the captain called for everyone to abandon ship at the first sight of land since the pumps became inoperable. With the rough weather and no way of knowing if the ship would sink, it’s not unlikely that he would’ve issued the order. Still, there is no definite conclusion about what happened or any trace of the crew.

Do you know of any mysterious disappearances that we didn’t mention? Share them with us in the comments.

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