It’s tough to lose a person in today’s digital world than it was in the era of no cell phones and no google search. But what if the person themselves don’t want any one to find where they are? Whether they are dead or alive?
Police in two states tried and failed to locate Eric Myers.
In 1991, the well-to-do real estate agent from Arizona traveled to San Diego for a real estate seminar but didnt make it home. Five years of fruitless searching broke the resolve of Erics wife and five children. They had him declared legally dead and could only wonder what cruel fate had befallen him. However, Eleven years later, they got their answer.
In 2007, Myerss friends and family started receiving unsettling emails, one of which asked directly if they wanted to know what had happened to their long-lost Eric. Myers then reached out to his mother via a friend. Soon his entire social circle learned the surprising reason behind their 16 years of apparent bereavement.
Eric had wrestled with his sexual orientation since childhood. Giving in to his conservative upbringing, he shrouded himself in a cocoon of uber-religiosity and married early. He ignored his persistent marital turbulence and clung to the facade of a perfect family leading a lavish lifestyle. Then Eric got robbed.
It happened during the real estate conference that preceded his disappearance. The experience left him brooding and emotionally bruised. But rather than head home, he
absconded to Mexico. There, he fell for a man and wished to explore his long-suppressed homosexuality. Myers and his partner adopted fake names and began working odd jobs as they traveled together without a care in the world. In the meantime, his family in Arizona struggled to cope. His daughter Kirsten grappled with substance abuse problems for years. Erics wife, Anne, provided vital guidance and care, but her childrens pain ran deep. Sixteen years later, Eric decided he wanted to see his family. In an interview with ABC News, he explained, There was never any plan to come back, just like there was never any plan to leave, and it just happened.
Apparently, Eric never considered how his behavior would affect anyone else. Otherwise, he might have realized that his grieving family would receive $800,000 in death benefits after he was presumed dead and the insurance company would sue to get the money back when he returned. He also threw his family into emotional upheaval again—with some able to cope and others filled with newfound anguish. Myers, though, stood by his actions, certain that suppressing his true self was a fools errand.
Its practically a written rule that teenagers will occasionally lock horns with their parents. So its no surprise that things got vitriolic between 14-year-old Xiao Yun and her mother one day in 2005. In a fit of fury, Yun stormed off. But rather than cooling off and making a hasty reentrance, she stayed away.
As days transitioned into weeks, months, and years, her worry-stricken parents came to a grim conclusion: Their daughter was no more. In a gesture of resignation, her parents removed her from the home registry. However, In 2015, everything changed.
Police in Hangzhou, China, came across a woman using a fake ID in an Internet cafe. Officers hauled her down to the precinct for interrogation. Initially, she misled authorities about her upbringing by claiming she grew up with her grandparents. But she eventually cracked and coughed up the truth:
She was Xiao Yun. According to Yun, after she left home, she lived in and out of Internet cafes and bathhouses. To earn cash, she taught people how to excel at the video game CrossFire, tended the register at some of her regular haunts, and relied on the generosity of strangers. When she wasnt earning money, she was honing her already lucrative CrossFire skills.
Yuns parents couldnt wait to retrieve their daughter, but she was cold to the idea. With a little coaxing, she agreed to return home with them. Now that Yuns folks have her back, they have sworn never to fight with her again.
Winston Bright, a husband and father of three, evaporated into thin air one day in 1990. His frantic wife mounted an impassioned search with the help of the New York Police Department, but her spouse had vanished like a ghost.
A decade later, Winstons wife concluded that he must have died. But she was sorely mistaken. According to Winston, as his wife plastered New York City with images of his face, he was aimlessly walking the streets of San Diego with no ID or memory of who he was. Despite his self-described amnesia, Bright legally changed his name to Kwame Seku rather than try to discover his identity. As Seku, he obtained a GED and a teaching certificate to teach at San Diego public schools. He spent nearly two decades working as an educator.
Conveniently, Brights memory came flooding
back once he retired from teaching and wanted to collect his pension. He claimed that memories came trickling back to him in dreams. Subsequent internet sleuthing supposedly unveiled the life he had led before Kwame Seku existed. Winston wanted to reclaim that life—and his pension. By this time, 20 years had passed. For 10 of those years, he was legally deceased, and the money he hoped to receive was disbursed to his wife and children.
Eager to get paid, Bright returned to New York and sued for his retirement benefits. He supplied a DNA test to confirm his identity and peddled his bizarre tale of amnesia and dream-induced recollections. Medical professionals ceded that Brights professed condition, known as fugue amnesia, was entirely possible, although it was incredibly uncommon. But Winstons family responded more skeptically. Brights wife, Leslie, observed that he seemed unduly concerned with finances upon his long-awaited return. One of his sons openly rejected his fathers fantastical story. Perhaps the only thing Winston forgot was his conscience.
Carlos Sanchez Ortiz de Salazar boasted a host of impressive skills and achievements. He was a doctor, a student of psychology, and a polyglot. He was also well respected. Those who knew Carlos regarded him as gracious and responsible. But when 1996 rolled around, something changed. The prevailing theory is that the unassuming doc from Seville, Spain, was suffering from crippling depression and saw no recourse but to seek solitude. Whatever the case, no one could find him.
After 14 years without any calls or correspondence, Carloss family no longer believed that he was alive. So he joined the unhappy list of missing people presumed dead. In 2015, a pair of Italian mushroom pickers brought renewed hope to Salazars family. While foraging for fungi in Tuscany, the duo happened upon a disconcerting number of plastic bottles and water canisters. Like a trail of bread crumbs, the litter led them to the tent of a filthy-faced man with an ample beard. Wary of the disheveled camper in the woods, the mushroom pickers departed in a panic. Then they fetched a forest ranger and took him to the bearded oddity they had discovered earlier. The man greeted his visitors amicably and explained that he was Dr. Carlos de Salazar. He had the ID to prove it.
In an act of ultimate introversion, the onetime Spanish physician had shunned society altogether. He dreaded human contact and expressed his intention to relocate now that his location was exposed. But his two discoverers photographed his identification documents before he faded into nature again.
Later, they shared their photos and Carloss story with missing persons associations in Italy and Spain.
After 19 years of futile hoping, Carloss parents couldnt believe that someone had found their son alive. Overjoyed, they raced to Italy. As his 65-year-old mother explained, It would be enough to see him for just half an hour. Then if it is his wish, we would not try to see him again.But they didnt get the reunion they wanted. True to his word, Carlos had already abandoned his Tuscan hideaway.
Im going on the kind of a trip where you never come back, wrote Dennis Rarick. It was 1976, and the highly esteemed mathematician and computer scientist had succumbed to depression. Nagging despair had driven him to bid his father farewell in a distressing message. Dennis ditched his car, wallet, personal documents, and seemingly life itself.
In the 14 years that followed, Denniss friends and family grew convinced that he was no longer alive, and court documents were filed to reflect that fact.
In reality, Rarick had hit the reset button on his entire existence. He adopted the name Leonard Cohn and subtracted seven years from his actual age. Cohn, like his previous incarnation, was drawn to computing. He even earned masters and doctoral degrees in computer science before settling down with a family and starting a business. Cohns wife, Martha Weaver, knew him as a man with no family. She didnt question his lack of a paper trail due to his professed status as a military draft dodger. Martha lived in that manufactured universe for 10 years. Then, out of the blue, Cohn came clean.
It was Christmas, and during dinner Cohn had serious matters to discuss, he told her that he had fabricated his entire biography. Cohn spent several weeks spilling his guts to Martha and introducing her to his life as Dennis Rarick.
After flooring his wife with the knowledge that their marriage was built on lies, he sent a letter to his father. Contrary to what he had told his father 14 years earlier, Dennis was coming back. Nothing in particular triggered his decision to come out of hiding. He just felt it was time.
Lydia Bacot MacDonald never expected to become an unemployed single mother. The insurance company statistician from Hartford, Connecticut, had fallen in love with a man named David Bigelow MacDonald while attending college part-time. They married in 1956. The following year, Lydia gave birth to their daughter, Anne. Her husband, however, wasnt around to witness it.
On April 10, 1957—mere days after a pregnant Lydia left her job—David purportedly visited Boston to see about a car and never returned. The police were stumped. Three years passed without a peep from him. Then, out of the blue, he sent one of his friends a bizarre gift: a salmon packed in ice. Apparently, Lydias husband was somewhere in Seattle, Washington, but refused to reveal his exact whereabouts. He sent his distraught wife some money orders but did nothing to mend her shattered heart. Davids scant communications eventually ceased.
Not even tragedy provoked a reaction – when his father grew deathly ill, David remained conspicuously absent. His daughter, Anne, died of breast cancer at 44, apparently never having met her father. Lydia also passed away, never knowing what had become of her eventual ex-husband. Fifty years went by before anyone discovered what had become of David.
Then, in 2007, Seattle resident Heather Garrett made a jaw-dropping discovery. While sifting through the personal effects of a recently deceased family friend, Eric Nils Sonnegaard, she found a series of index cards. Scrawled across them was the secret
biography of David MacDonald.
David had inexplicably decided to abandon his previous life and start a new as Eric Nils Sonnegaard. Portraying himself as a man of meager means and little schooling, he endeared himself to Heathers grandmother, Gladys Vance. Coincidentally, Gladys had been abandoned by her husband just as David left Lydia. Eric filled the void in Vances life, becoming her constant companion and doting on her grandchildren with fatherly affection. To earn money, he swept sidewalks, recycled waste, and performed tasks which didnt require use of a social security number. By the time of his 2007 death from cancer, he had taken to hoarding broken televisions. Military documents and fingerprint comparisons confirmed that Eric Sonnegaard was indeed David MacDonald.
The revelation flabbergasted Heather and aggrieved her deceived grandmother. It also created a conduit of closure for MacDonalds surviving relatives. Some suspected that war-induced PTSD had spurred Davids rash exit, but no one will ever know for sure.
No one could rightly accuse Christina Davisons ex-husband, Craig, of being a saint. His laundry list of misdeeds included charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and multiple instances of family violence. But was Craig enough of a scoundrel to kill his former spouse?
In 2014, it somewhat looked that way. In May of that year, about three months after Craig had been charged with assaulting Christina, she vanished.
From the looks of things, she didnt go willingly. Her bed bore knife cuts and traces of blood. Her purse was located on a roadway in an entirely different city. Attempts to contact the 43-year-old Whataburger waitress were futile. Friend Patti Rucker captured the mood of the moment best: I dont believe well find her alive. Thankfully, Patti was wrong.
Nine months after Christina Davison was seemingly plucked from existence, she turned up in Lexington, Kentucky. She had taken a waitressing job at a Red State BBQ and established herself as a popular commodity around the place. Her coworkers had been led to believe that she moved to Kentucky to escape an abusive boyfriend in Arkansas. Christinas cozy setup came crashing down when she was caught in a traffic stop one night in 2015.
She was wanted in Texas for drug possession, and attempts to verify her identity revealed her missing person status in the state. The jig was up, but questions still remained. Christina provided no insights into her actions or why she had failed to contact her friends or family during her nine-month absence. Authorities speculated that she had hoped to avoid jail or her former common-law spouse, Craig, by staging her own demise.
Its not every day that a murder victim opens their door to you. But in September 2015, authorities in Dusseldorf, Germany, faced that scenario.
While responding to reports of an apartment burglary, they were greeted by a woman who called herself Mrs. Schneider. When prompted to confirm her identity, however, she revealed herself as Petra Pazsitka. It was a startling admission, to say the least. The woman in question had allegedly been murdered 26 years earlier.
Petras case began in July 1984. Back then, she was studying computer science in Braunschweig and had recently completed her university thesis. On July 26, she reportedly had plans to visit her parents after seeing a dentist. But Pazsitka didnt reach her stated destination. When she subsequently missed her brothers birthday celebration, police were alerted. Law enforcement suspected foul play, and Petras picture and description were displayed on German crime show Aktenzeichen XY. The effort yielded no useful leads, however, and the case went cold. Fears that Pazsitka had been murdered were apparently confirmed in 1987 when a teenager identified as Gunter K. confessed to slaying the Braunschweig student.
In 1989, the case was closed. In theory, Gunter had killed at least one other person—a young student—near the spot where Petra had disappeared. But if he did claim a second victim, it wasnt Pazsitka. According to the purported murder victim, she simply wanted to sever ties with her family and made herself invisible for 31 years. She dismissed suggestions of abuse by her kin but declined to clarify her specific gripes.
She did open up about hopping from city to city and somehow acquiring both work and housing without using an ID, social security number, or bank account. Officers were flummoxed by Petras ability to drift through life as a phantom. Her family was even more astounded. Once the shock settled, they looked forward to a tearful reunion. Petra, however, steadfastly refused, preferring to leave their relationship dead and buried.
In 1912, four-year-old Bobby Dunbar vanished during a trip with his wealthy family at Swayze Lake in Louisiana, and everyone lost their mind.
Hundreds of volunteer rescuers scoured the swamp, dissecting alligators and dynamiting the water in hopes of uncovering little Bobby’s body, but failed to turn anything up. Eight months later, the Dunbar family received some shockingly good news: A child resembling Bobby had been found in Mississippi, travelling in the company of a drifter named William Cantwell Winters.
Back in the days when not having a moustache made people suspect you were a pedophile.
Winters claimed the boy was his nephew, Bruce, the son of his brother and a family servant named Julia Anderson. However, the Dunbar family became convinced that Bruce was their missing Bobby. He had a burn scar on his left foot, just like Bobby, as well as a similar mole.
Julia Anderson, for her part, stubbornly insisted that Bruce was her son. Historically, disputes over the parenthood of a child are resolved using empirical evidence or, like, proving one of the alleged parents is really a child-stealing robot or something. But in the case of “wealthy, well-respected family v. unwed servant woman,” the court skipped the whole “evidence” thing and awarded custody of the boy to the Dunbars.
Winters was charged with kidnapping and went to prison, but his conviction was soon overturned on a technicality. Bobby Dunbar was returned home, where his family continued raising him. He eventually had children of his own, and lived a full and happy life until his death in 1966.
The thing is, it wasn’t really his life.
As the 21st Century rolled around, one of Bobby’s grandchildren decided to research the case, and concluded that something was a little off about the whole thing. She convinced her father, Bobby Dunbar Jr., to take a DNA test, the results of which revealed that — as you can guess — he had no genetic connection to the Dunbar family. “Bobby Dunbar” had in fact been Julia Anderson’s son Bruce, and had lived the last five decades of his life as the wrong person!
That means William Winters was convicted of a nonexistent crime, Julia Anderson had her biological son stolen away from her, and the fate of the real Bobby Dunbar will remain a mystery forever.
In 1957, Lawrence Bader, an amateur archer and Akron-based cookware salesman, ignored severe storm warnings and took a boat out on Lake Erie. When his boat was discovered the next day, damaged, missing an oar, and without Bader in it, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what had happened. Clearly, he’d gotten tossed overboard in the storm (or eaten by some manner of storm-dwelling lake monster).
Rescuers searched the lake but never found him. Bader left behind three children and a pregnant wife, who received $40,000 in life insurance — a princely sum in exchange for a dead patriarch in the 1950s.
Eight years later, a family friend was in Chicago when he encountered a man who looked eerily like Lawrence Bader. The doppelgnger was John “Fritz” Johnson, a well-known radio and television personality in Omaha, Nebraska. Some of his notable endeavors included announcing pro wrestling matches and winning 13 archery titles. Coincidently archery was a favorite hobby of Bader’s.
Johnson’s life fell apart almost immediately. His wife annulled their marriage, he lost his television job, and if this had taken place today, he would have certainly lost his Twitter verification check mark.
Bader’s reappearance also caused problems for his first wife. His newfound aliveness meant the insurance company wanted their money back. Johnson maintained that he had no memory of his former life as Bader, and that he had a strange case of amnesia which, in addition to wiping his mind clean of any trace of Bader, had also implanted false memories in his head.
While it is admittedly strange that a man would submit to taking a fingerprint test if he was consciously lying about his identity (something Johnson fiercely argued), Bader was in a huge amount of financial trouble leading up to his disappearance. He was heavily in debt, and had a spot on the IRS’ shit list for not paying his taxes for years. Add to that the fact that he had a mortgage and a large life insurance policy, and it’s easy to see why he would’ve faked a drowning to abandon his life in Akron as a cookware salesman to become a popular local television personality.
Bader’s family believed there was something wrong with him (which is clearly true), but he cunningly died of liver cancer before psychiatrists conclusively determined what had happened to him.
In 1929, a man named Connie Franklin drifted into St. James, Arkansas and into the heart of a 17-year-old named Tiller Ruminer. Everything seemed great, or at least at acceptable levels of miserable for 1929, until the night they rode off to get married, when Franklin disappeared.
Everyone probably assumed that Franklin had bailed on the marriage and run off, but several months later, Ruminer went to the county sheriff with a shocking story. She reported that on their wedding night, she and Franklin were attacked by four local men who tortured Franklin and burned him alive, then assaulted her and intimidated her into staying silent for months.
An investigation turned up a burn site with bones buried in ash, as well as a corroborating witness, so the four men Ruminer accused were arrested and charged with murder, which makes total sense. The thing that didn’t make sense was the defense’s star witness: Connie Franklin.
You see, a man claiming to be Connie Franklin showed up very much alive after the supposed murder. He said he had gotten drunk with his wife and the four defendants the night of the wedding and had fallen off his mule, which was a perfectly acceptable alibi in rural Arkansas in 1929. The following morning, Ruminer allegedly told him she didn’t want to get married anymore, so he left town voluntarily.
Normally, a man testifying in the trial of his murder would be very strong evidence that everyone should go free. But this was 1929, an era before every human being had a cellphone full of identity-verifying photographs and a lifetime of documentation backing them up. Proving that you are who you say you are used to be much more difficult undertaking. The prosecution therefore maintained that the newly discovered (and decidedly un-murdered) Connie Franklin was an impostor. They were at least half right.
The court ordered a fingerprint check, which revealed that the newly alive “Connie Franklin” was actually a guy named Marion Franklin Rogers, who had escaped from a mental hospital years earlier. Now, this in no way proved that he wasn’t also the Connie Franklin in question, so the trial went forward.
As you might imagine, this was a lot to take in for people 50 years before Matlock. The jury wasn’t sure what to make of the multiple claims about who was or was not the man Ruminer didn’t want to marry, and were getting ready to suggest the case be retried.
However, the awesomely named Judge S. Marcus Bone told the jury that they absolutely, positively had to reach a verdict, because the county could not afford to go to trial again. Ultimately, the jury couldn’t be sure that Franklin wasn’t Franklin, so they acquitted the four defendants accused of his murder.
Of course, debate continued to rage on about whether Marion Rogers really was Connie Franklin, or a very convincing liar. We’ll probably never know for sure, as Rogers/Franklin died only a few years later.
Shelagh McDonald was a near-instant hit as a folk singer (in folk singer terms, this means her albums were bought by more than her immediate family). But in 1972, right as her career was beginning to take off, McDonald suddenly disappeared. Not just from the spotlight, but from everywhere. Even collaborators and friends had no idea where she’d gone. If the internet had existed back then, rumors of McDonald being a time traveler or part of some elaborate conspiracy would’ve been a trending topic. But this being the early 1970s, McDonald simply faded into a bizarre historical footnote.
However, McDonald maintained a strong enough following that when her albums were reissued on CD in the mid-2000s, it spurred a cluster of wistful articles wondering what the hell had happened to her. One such article appeared in The Scottish Daily Mail, which found itself with an interesting postscript when, a short time after running the piece, Shelagh McDonald showed up at their offices.
As the understandably surprised newspaper staff listened, McDonald explained the story behind her sudden disappearance: an over dose of acid.
McDonald was at a party one night when she took some strip which sent her on the worst trip imaginable, leaving her staggering through the streets of London, battling terrible hallucinations that lasted for weeks. She instantly hopped on a plane back home to Scotland to reunite with her parents, still tripping from the drug.
Even when the hallucinations subsided, McDonald found that the trip had ruined her singing voice. All she could get out was a strangled croak, like a Muppet dying in a wind tunnel. McDonald’s parents, who never wanted her to become a singer in the first place, convinced her to give up her music career, and she wound up marrying a failed academic and spending the next few decades living as a transient.
McDonald and her husband were living in a tent when she saw the article about her in The Scottish Daily Mail, which they were presumably using for insulation. She was surprised that people were apparently still interested in her work after all these years, so she decided to resurface.
All those unpaid royalties would’ve definitely allowed her to afford a much nicer tent.
McDonald also started making music again. In 2013, she gave her first public musical performance since she disappeared and was presumed dead four decades.
In 2002, Brenda Heist of Lititz Borough, Pennsylvania, just couldnt catch a break. The car dealership bookkeeper was juggling the unenviable trifecta of divorce proceedings, housing difficulties, and the general rigors of rearing an eight-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. Then one day, after dropping her kids off at school, Brenda went to a park and was seemingly blotted out of existence.
Those who knew Brenda concluded that something sinister had happened. She wasnt the type to embark on impromptu adventures, and the prospect of her abandoning her family seemed unthinkable to them. Police quickly eyed then-husband Lee Heist as a person of interest in a presumed crime.
However, a subsequent investigation failed to yield incriminating evidence. A pall of mistrust followed Lee Heist for years. A number of parents in his neighborhood forbade their children from playing with Heists for fear they would come in contact with a possible killer. He also grappled with financial woes that only lessened in 2010 when Brenda was officially declared dead and
her life insurance kicked in.
In 2013, Lee Heist and his daughter received word that Brenda had resurfaced in Florida. Eleven years earlier, a crestfallen Brenda Heist had been approached by three strangers while sobbing in the park. In a moment of brute spontaneity, she agreed to skip town with them, embracing a life of abject hoboism. The quartet slept under bridges, raided dumpsters for food, and begged for money while hitchhiking to Florida. In Florida, Brenda worked as a housekeeper, boat cleaner, babysitter, and general day laborer.
Eventually, she moved in with one of her clients and stayed with him for seven years. She also distanced herself from her past, setting up Facebook and online dating profiles under an alias. But her freewheeling reincarnation came with serious downsides. Brenda racked up several arrests for possessing drugs, using false identification, and stealing a customers drivers license.
Eventually, she found herself on the streets again. Growing weary of her lying ways, she admitted her true identity to Florida authorities. Brenda brimmed with contrition as she described the way she had hurt her husband and children. Understandably, after 11 years of emotional hell, her jilted family wasnt eager to extend an olive branch.
For years, Rodmans estranged wife, young daughter and Senior Sergeant Ed Lukin of Queensland, Australia, pondered the fate of American tourist Kenneth Rodman. The facts of his case didnt look promising.
In 2010, Rodman journeyed to Australia and ostensibly met a grisly demise. While staying with a friend in Mowbray, he allegedly set out alone to kayak to a nearby village. When he failed to touch base, police were notified. A fortnights worth of searching only turned up Rodmans capsized kayak floating in croc-infested waters. He was now officially missing.
From the looks of things, he had likely become crocodile chow. Five years came and went. In the meantime, investigating officer Ed Lukin was reassigned to a post in a different city. Although he had hoped for Rodmans safe return, Lukin had moved on to a new place and other pressing matters. Then an unrelated string of break-ins in Lukins new locale abruptly cracked the Rodman case wide open. Officers from his unit were in pursuit of the perp behind a pair of break-ins when an unidentified man on a bicycle rode by in the dead of night. Police suspected that theyd spotted the culprit and sought to question him. But the man sped off.
Assisting officers from the dog squad tracked down the mysterious man, and he quickly confessed. But not to the break-ins. The individual was completely innocent in that respect. However, he was guilty of being Kenneth Rodman and grossly overstaying his tourist visa.
It seemed that Kenneth had pulled a fast one on his friends, family, and Australian authorities. He had created the appearance of becoming crocodile chow so that he could hide out in Australia. What exactly he was escaping went unexplained. But maybe it had something to do with the nearly $50,000 of unpaid child support that he owed.
In 1998, 14-year-old Natasha Ryan vanished without explanation from her hometown of Rockhampton, Australia. Her disappearance was eventually linked to Leonard Fraser, also known by the terrifyingly alliterative name “The Rockhampton Rapist,” who was serving time in prison for the murder of a young girl.
In a secretly recorded conversation with a fellow inmate, Fraser confessed to the murders of four girls, one of whom was Natasha Ryan. Ryan’s body was never found, but after being missing for four years and having a convicted killer confess to her murder, nobody had any reason to doubt she wasn’t dead. Her family held a funeral for her, and Fraser stood trial for her murder in 2003.
Case closed, right?
Well, as it turns out, Fraser wasn’t being entirely truthful in his confession. Which is another way of saying that Natasha Ryan wasn’t dead. After receiving an anonymous tip, police raided the home of Ryan’s boyfriend, Scott Black, two and a half miles away from the house where Ryan’s family lived. There, they found her very much alive, hiding inside a wardrobe.
That’s right, she’d been crashing at her boyfriend’s house for half a freaking decade, just down the street from where she’d been abducted, more than happy to let her family think she’d been abducted and killed by a serial rapist.
It wasn’t like she was having an awesome time, either. She had to stay inside the house all the time. In four and a half years, she never went outside during the day. She would have to hide inside the wardrobe whenever visitors came around. Meanwhile, her boyfriend kept leading an active social life, and apparently even dated Ryan’s sister at one point.
Ryan told police she couldn’t leave because “the lie had become too big.” Since Black had lied under oath about his girlfriend’s disappearance, he spent a year in jail for perjury, but the couple bounced back afterwards by selling their wedding photos to a magazine for $200,000. They’re still together to this day, with a son and everything. We assume she no longer sleeps in the wardrobe.