Every town has its stories. Big city or rural community, violence sadly doesn't discriminate. Almost every place has been hit by a tragedy of some sorts that made headlines in local papers or even in national news. Some are still talked about today. These people share the worst tragedies they witnessed that took place in their communities and how it still affects them to this day.
All content has been edited for clarity.
"Retired Dallas firefighter Michael Chambers went missing after shopping at Walmart for a few personal items and makeup for his wife.
Reports claim he went home then rode his bike all the way to a bridge that would have taken him at least an hour or so to reach. All the while, as he supposedly was riding his bike to the bridge (mind you, he's an older gentleman), no one saw him at any point in time. In the middle of the day. Which is impossible.
He then is said to have thrown his bike in the lake and jumped in as well to commit suicide. The bridge is almost level to the lake.
His wife was allegedly having an affair with the county sheriff who came up with this ridiculous theory declaring it as fact. The wife very quickly sold Mr. Chambers' vehicles and house, leaving town not even 6 months after he went missing. In order for her to get life insurance, Mr. Chambers needed to have been declared dead. It appears that the county Sheriff might have done just that and many people in our small town believe that he allegedly helped her cover up Mr. Chambers' murder. That has never been proven.
An independent investigation from another agency tracked cell phone pings and went over the entire investigation into the missing retired firefighter and have concluded that the official report is impossible. An entirely new investigation has now begun and we're asked to search our properties for human remains. We're a country town with the majority of the residents owning many acres of land. It has affected our entire community and trust in our local law enforcement.
It took a long time to just get a ridiculously stupid official version of events. It will be two long years this May since he's been missing. The stories and explanations have changed so much since that day. They first reported a fairly large amount of blood in his garage, then it was said to be a drop and then no blood at all. I just wish for his family (not that wife of his that was allegedly having multiple affairs) to be able to put his remains to rest, giving them some sort of closure, though it's not how they would have wanted it; 'Bring Pawpaw home' was how they posted everything and they even made t-shirts with it."
"This was in New Jersey in 2007. My senior year of high school, three girls died in a horrible car accident. They discovered that they had been racing another car full of boys prior to crashing in the woods and catching fire. They had to identify them by their dental records.
My cousin was a volunteer firefighter on the scene and it was beyond horrible.
I think in this case it was obvious to the parents who the girls were since they knew that it was close to our town, recognized the description of the of vehicle, and where they were heading. They just had to confirm through dental records (I'm assuming after the parents provided the information to investigators)."
"This happened in a small town in Oregon, a few years back when I was still in high school. Two sisters were outside with their father in the evening, playing in piles of leaves on the street and sidewalks. The dad went inside to get the camera to take photos of the girls. When he went inside, the girls thought they would hide in the enormous pile of leaves and jump out to surprise the dad when he came back outside. In that minute or two of being in the house, someone decided to drive their car through the pile of leaves. The driver ran over both girls and fled the scene. The youngest, I believe was 7, was killed instantly. The eldest, I believe was 11, was hospitalized and died after a week in critical condition. It was gut wrenching. It was especially sad since I knew both girls and the mother, as they attended my same dance studio.
They finally did catch the driver, but I remember it taking at least a week before she was brought forward and claimed to have not known she hit the girls. I can kind of understand that she didn't know initially after the hit, but she lived only a block or two from the accident location and there were tons of police cars and ambulances at the scene immediately. She should've know something fishy happened. And since it was a small town, the story was all over the news and there was a candle lit vigil and memorial site set up at the crime scene, which means she would drive past it anytime she left her home to go into town. So her claiming, a week later, to not know that there was a fatal accident that happened there does not make any sense."
"There was a story that made the headlines not that long ago. A young guy went hunting with a group of friends. During the day, while they were eating, they saw a boar and he ran into the car to get his Winchester. Eager to get his first shot, he didn't prepare his aim enough and missed.
Not so far away, a couple was walking in a forest path, enjoying the fresh air of the mountain. The husband did not feel a thing when the bullet hit his head just between his eyes.
After this, the young hunter received countless letters with death threats for killing the man. He ended up getting depression, which was quickly followed by his suicide.
Everything about this scared me straight. The guy who missed a boar and discovered that he just killed someone. The happy couple wanting to walk a bit in the forest and everything around them turns into a horror movie in an instant as the husband dies from a stray bullet. The young hunter's family seeing their son fall into depression after that accident, receiving countless amounts of death threats from people all around them. This is a terrible story."
"A random person in my area was walking towards a school playground attempting to bring a pipe bomb inside. He ended up accidentally setting it off in his hands right at the edge of the playground in front of all these kids. Luckily no one else was injured.
In another incident, the mayor's kid was killed during a hazing act at a local college. Pledges were made to sit in a hot tub and finish a 1.75 liter bottle of Smirnoff between 4 or 5 of them at a time before being allowed to get out. They then continued with a run in the middle of the night that involved more drinking and physical activity. His body just couldn't take it all.
At the college that I actually went to we had another incident where, once again, there was a late night early morning run happening where a group stopped over a bridge that spans across a small section of the lake we are on.
Two active frat brothers took the pledge class president and hung him by his feet over the bridge and dropped him. I guess this was a tradition and he would have to swim to shore and catch up with the rest of the group on the way back to main campus. Well, unfortunately for everyone involved, the area was going through a drought and the lake was quite low. The kid hit his head on the bottom and died instantly.
NO ONE went down to help him. I don't know if it was too dark to see or what, but no one went down to check on him. I was on the club rowing team, and I kid you not, we went under that bridge the morning of (5 am practice) and witnessed paramedics putting a white sheet over a cot that held what looked like a still body. There were tons of cop cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance above on the bridge.
It's terrible and I don't think anyone went to jail over it. The frat brothers didn't even tell the police the whole story and said something like he was trying to walk across the bridge's railing and slipped and fell. There are big billboards with his face on it asking for any additional info, 'please call such and such number', on all major roads coming out from campus.
After this all came out, it was known that the people in the pledge class kept his girlfriend running in circles trying to find him when she kept asking about his whereabouts. His parents got some big amount from the school and the frat was disbanded, but their letters are still painted on some of the streets around campus."
"I'm from Belton, Missouri.
In 2007, 17-year-old Kara Kopetsky went missing. There were a lot of theories on what happened, but almost everyone expected foul play. One of the main suspects was Kylr Yust, but they didn't have sufficient evidence to charge him, especially since the body was never found.
Fast forward 9 years to 2016, 21-year-old Jessica Runions goes missing. She was from Raymore, the town right next to Belton. They suspected Kylr again, but again they had no body. They did prove that Kylr burned her car after her disappearance. This pretty much sealed the deal for me that it was definitely Kylr.
Then, the following April, a man was mushroom hunting through fields surrounding Belton, when he stumbled upon the remains of both Kara and Jessica. With the new evidence, they were able to charge Kylr and his trial is scheduled for fall 2019.
Rest in peace, Kara and Jessica."
"Not my actual home town, but I was living in Taipei when a guy beheaded a 4-year old girl in public in broad day light. The guy was really high, and the mother of the kid was right there and saw everything.
The location of the incident was only 3 minutes from where I stayed and I would walk past it everyday on my way to the MRT station. On that particular day, I even remember seeing two police cars, an ambulance and a white sheet on the road, but thought that maybe there was a car accident instead of such a horrific thing. Two hours later, the media was there in full force, and for weeks after there would be bouquets of flowers, pictures, candles, plush toys, etc. It was super heartbreaking and very scary.
Not only was that little girl’s life taken, but so was that of her mother’s, in a way. I don’t want to know how traumatized and broken she must have been and probably still is. It's bad enough to lose your child, worse that she was murdered, and just unimaginable to see the entire thing as well.
As for the guy, I think he used to be in a psychiatric hospital and had a list of past substance offenses. I remember reading that he was on some stuff that made him hallucinate and become aggressive so that he didn’t really realize what he was doing that to the girl. However, it also said that he was diagnosed with a mental handicap and schizophrenia. Maybe he wasn’t on anything after all, or he actually was and his mental state accelerated it."
"A few years ago, a popular girl from my high school and her mom were pulling out of the Whataburger onto the main road that goes through my hometown, when a jeep going 90 in a 40 slammed into them. It killed the girl instantly and the mom has severe brain damage. The driver of the jeep walked away with nothing more than a couple of bumps.
Everyone loved this girl, and her death hit a lot of people hard. Twice a year now (her birthday and the day of her death), my social media goes wild with posts about her and the family, and people will send the family gifts in her memory.
The driver was a young guy, late teens or early 20's. He wasn't under the influence or anything, just reckless. He got charged with involuntary manslaughter and served only a year. "
"The most recent one was last month.
The granddaughter of a family friend was out skeet shooting with her dad at a club. The weapon didn't go off when she tried to shoot the clay pigeon. She rested it, butt on the ground, against the table and I don't know exactly what she did to it, but she broke one of the most important rules. She looked down the barrel and it went off. Point blank shot herself in the face. I can't imagine how her dad is ever going to get over it.
It's just extra horrible, in my opinion, because she comes from a great family. She was only 15 years old. She was super active in school extracurriculars, smart, and friendly. She just made one terrible mistake."
"A young mother was in the process of divorcing her husband. The husband went to her/their house, killed the two little kids (one girl and one boy, one just under 5, one just over 5), then killed himself. The father's parents wanted joint funerals and for them all to be buried in adjoining cemetery plots. The two little ones had a funeral separate from the father and the two were buried in a cemetery separate from the father. Very heartbreaking - it happened a couple of years ago.
The way we knew about this is that the maternal grandparents were at a table across from me and my sister having lunch on the Friday the father's funeral was being held. We could tell that they were grief-stricken and stopped to give them our sincere sympathy. They said that they couldn't believe that the paternal grandparents could be so insensitive. Apparently the paternal grandparents said that since they were family during life, they should be family during death and buried together. The surviving mom, of course, wanted him nowhere near the babies. The kids' funerals were the following day. Unbelievably sad."
"In 2007, I lived during the Witch Creek Fires in San Diego.
About 60% of the street I grew up on was decimated. Childhood home, gone.
My parents and I couldn't sleep that night because the winds were so strong and terrifying, which is why I come downstairs to the kitchen. I see my parents, we sullenly nod our heads. Then the wind blows, hard, and we gasp as we see embers flying through our backyard. Our neighbor's roof is on fire. My parents tried to help put it out at first, but once they realized it was fruitless, we had to grab the essentials and leave with our dog, knowing it was the last time we would ever see the house. Driving away from my home will be a memory that lasts with me forever. The whole street looked like an apocalypse.
My mom was a DIY interior designer. We had a fairly large house, and she had personalized every room in it. My room was tropical theme, parent's bedroom was surrealism, kitchen was a Roman theme. All of that hard work and love was gone. I felt so sad for my mom.
Nowhere in our county area was really safe to go so we escaped to the beach, got a hotel. The hotel didn't want to let us in with a dog so my dad gave management a verbal whiplashing. Eventually they let us in (as well as accepted other families with dogs after). Later, when I was alone in the hotel, I saw my burnt-down house being displayed and talked about on the news that day. My heart shattered and I cried.
San Diego really came together during that time. Clothes drives, food drives, schools helped supply students affected by the fires.
I sometimes forget that it happened to me and feel as if it doesn't affect me, but typing this out was really hard."
"There was a kid in my Cub Scout group. I didn’t know him very well, but I saw him a lot. He was 7 years old. I was at home eating lunch one day when my mom got a phone call from the pack leader. He was letting everyone know that the kid and his father were dead. Their trailer had caught on fire. But then it turned out both of them were shot as well. This is where it gets freaky.
The widely-accepted story is that his father, who was mentally ill and off his meds, killed his son before setting the trailer on fire and turning the weapon on himself.
However, his father was a conspiracy theorist and an amateur investigator, and a friend of his said that he was about to expose some kind of government scheme, and was killed for it. The kid was killed for being a witness, the trailer was burned to destroy evidence. No one bought it until some radio report said that new evidence had surfaced of a double homicide, but even then everyone was skeptical.
That was like 10 years ago. There haven’t been any updates on it since. The case may not even be open. I still wonder about it sometimes."
"I live in Rotherham in England.
Over 1,400 girls aged 11 through to 17 were systematically groomed and assaulted by men of the Pakistani heritage community from my town.
The police and social care were aware but conspired with local politicians to cover it up because the ethnicity of the perpetrators was 'politically sensitive' and because they refused to accept the girls were victims. Many were regarded as working girls.
A lot of the victims came from dysfunctional homes — some were in children's homes — a factor far more prevalent in working class communities. They were targeted because of their vulnerability.
I think that the girls were almost exclusively white and the perpetrators were almost exclusively Pakistani was a more significant issue.
It was finally uncovered in full about 6 years ago and the investigations and prosecutions are still ongoing.
Currently there are over 90 current and former police officers under investigation. Some local politicians remain in place but most left the scene before the electorate got a chance to express their view. Social care and council officers were never held to account as most left their posts before they could be."
"Recently not a lot has happened in my town, however one that will always be remembered would be the Hillsborough Disaster. No matter who is to blame, innocent people lost their lives that day just going to a soccer match.
In the most basic explanation, what happened was during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in '89, a crush happened. In easy terms, there were too many people in a section and not enough space.
While I don't like this term, it's known as 'mob mentality' when the back starts to push forward and fill up a section, the front has no choice but to go forward and do the same.
There's a lot of controversy surrounding Hillsborough, and as bad has it sounds, I don't think there ever will not be any."
"Two teenage kids who moved in a few doors down from my parents kept harassing the neighborhood. They had broken into homes and cars, trashed my parents' pool late at night, and they never got charged because no one could catch them in the act. Their friends would tell me how they bragged about doing it, but they kept getting away with it every time.
Fast forward about a year, I'm driving home with my now wife and her sister, when I see a massive fire erupt in the boys' front yard. I slammed on my brakes and ran out of my car, almost instinctively because I have training in that stuff. They had been playing with a gallon of gasoline their parents had for their lawn mower, and it combusted in their hands. I called 911 and they both survived, but they were horribly burnt from it, and I think one of them is permanently blind now."
"We had a string of suicides in my hometown when I was in junior high. The first one was a friend of mine. We weren't close, but we ran in the same crowd before I moved across town. I think there ended up being five altogether, at least that I was aware of (pre-internet days, we had newspapers and word of mouth). I didn't think that it really affected me at the time, but a few months later I was seriously depressed and planning suicide. I felt like my friend had shown me the way to do it.
Luckily, someone told my parents and I ended up in a hospital on suicide watch. Long story short, I survived. If you feel weird about it, you should definitely talk to someone. Even if you didn't know the kids, or you weren't friends, or whatever, talk to someone. Sometimes you can't tell that things are affecting you until you're standing in the garage with the rope in your hands."