Missing people. And we're not just talking about that 'feeling' you get where you're longing for someone's presence, but the harsh reality that a person is nowhere to be found. Check out these brave individuals who took to AskReddit to share some of their own personal experiences in regards to having a family member or friend go missing. Some stories have an ending while others don't.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
"My little brother went missing, and it was discovered that he was hit by a train the next week.
It seemed out of character when he had left, and I could only hope that he would come back. He and I used to walk on the train tracks together and talk, but we spoke much less once I had left for the Navy. I wish I had been better to him.
This was four years ago, and my heart still aches. I still see and hear him sometimes."
"My little brother went missing when he was around 3 or 4 years old.
One day, we were playing in the backyard. While I wasn't looking, he wandered out from behind our back gate as it was left open for some reason. The main problem was that I, nor anyone else, seemed to have noticed that he had gone missing until hours after he had disappeared. (Everyone just assumed that he was with me, and I thought he was with them). Four hours later, the police were finally called. At this point, my dad was on the verge of tears. Luckily, from about a block down the street, we noticed something incredible.
It was our dog, who's still alive today at the ripe old age of 15, leading my little brother back towards our house by the collar of his shirt. Needless to say, she was treated like a princess for years to come."
"There were these two sisters. One was Lauren, and the other was Ashley. Their parents had been friends of my husband's father. They lived in Nuevo Laredo (which is a Mexican city on the border). However, they sent their daughters to live with a church pastor in Laredo, Texas. Ashley did well and had good grades, but Lauren became a rebel teen and ended up dating some terrible guy who was WAY too old for her.
Every weekend, Lauren and Ashley were dropped off downtown so they could walk across the bridge to Mexico and meet their mother on the other side to spend the weekend. On the usual Friday, Lauren had her backpack full of clothes and passport ready. Ashley was unable to go because she had a recital that night.
Later, the mom called the pastor asking why Lauren never showed up. The pastor was alarmed right away and said that she was dropped off like usual. They asked Ashley if she knew where Lauren was, but Ashley said that she didn't. Her parents contacted my father-in-law and began to cry/get worried.
My husband and I did some Facebook investigating and discovered that Lauren had two separate Facebook profiles and that one of them was under a fake name. She was supposedly pregnant. Her boyfriend was also 21 and not in high school. He lived in Mexico and not the U.S. Lauren was 17. Her 18th birthday would've been next month.
To this day, we still don't know where Lauren went. It's been about nine months. We assume that she is somewhere in Mexico. Both her Facebook profiles haven't been updated, and she hasn't contacted her sister. The boyfriend's mother says that she hasn't spoken to her son since he moved out at 18 and has no idea where he could be. The best case scenario is she's a high-school-drop-out-mother somewhere in Mexico. The worst case scenario is she was picked up by cartel while waiting for her mom in Mexico.
Her sister was forced to leave school and moved back to Mexico with her parents. They still keep in contact with my father. They often switch between anger and cursing her to sobbing uncontrollably. Ashley developed an anxiety disorder because she felt like no one believed her when she said that she didn't know where Lauren was."
"A kid I went to high school with while we lived in South Florida just disappeared one day.
He left a party one night and disappeared. His phone lost signal, and none of his credit cards were used. They searched for three months, but they never found him or his car. The kid apparently liked his benzos, and even his friends at the party said that he was pretty messed up as he was leaving.
About a year or so later, some kids were swimming in a canal near the road. The channels in South Florida are usually deep (30-40 feet), and they're pretty much everywhere. So, the kids in the area often like to jump off of smaller bridges and into them when it's hot outside. A couple of kids were daring each other to go as deep as they could, and one kid went deep and hit something hard with his feet.
It turns out, it was the missing kid's car. The cops pulled it up, and he was still in it. It was only a few blocks from his house.
"My friend's sister went camping with some friends back in 2013. She decided to go on a hike alone in the evening. Many people were speculating that she was on some psychedelics because she left for the hike naked and barefoot with only a fanny pack carrying a knife and a compass. She never returned.
In the morning, the police were called, and they were able to track her footprints all the way up to a road which was where they stopped. Obviously, being naked and barefoot would set you up for a huge disadvantage, in terms of exposure to the elements, wild animals, and so forth. However, I did find it creepy that her footprints just 'stopped' at a road.
Now, I've heard some stories about that area she was hiking in (Carson, Wash.). My friend has family out there, and he said that people have illegal 'green' farms deep in the forests, and they would kill anyone who 'accidentally stumbles' upon their operations. Now, I know those rumors aren't necessarily a credible source of information, but the fearful tone of his voice while he was telling me them creeped me out
My friend was one of the most loving, caring individuals, and her family was so heartbroken from all of this. Unfortunately, I don't think she will ever be found. It's possible her remains may turn up years from now but only time will tell. I occasionally drive past the trailhead of where she was camping, and it still gives me the shivers. Also, the day she went missing was on my birthday. Every year, I am reminded of this case and feel sadness for her."
"A friend I grew up with had his mom go missing back in 1995. We were both 14 at the time.
One night, she never came back home after going out with a male friend who also went missing. Their names were Jan Todd and Jodie Tony. Their bodies were found five years later in September 2000 buried in the bed of a pickup truck at the bottom of a 60' tall pile of rock at some gravel pit. Both were shot execution style before being buried in the truck that was located at the end of a dead-end dirt road right off of the interstate (It could be seen from the interstate).
The authorities never filed any charges. I always thought it had to be someone connected to the gravel pit. I mean for them to have been able to dig out a place in the bottom of it for an entire truck to fit in the middle of the night seemed always seemed suspicious."
"I was classmates with a missing kid who was missing because she was the kidnapper of another missing kid.
She was 14 or 15 at the time and lost her mind for some reason. She kidnapped this little boy, took him out into the woods, tied him to a tree, and did him wrong. They were missing for like a week.
They went to the same church. When they were both reported as 'missing' around the same time, people just assumed they were kidnapped together or something. However, after they were found, we learned otherwise.
She was sent away for treatment somewhere and never came back to school. I don't know what became of her."
"My cousin disappeared 20 years ago.
He got involved in some shady stuff. The funny thing is, he kept it quiet for so many years probably because he was so much older than all of us, and he didn't want any of us getting into that kind of a lifestyle. He was a good-looking guy, always had beautiful women hanging around him, knew some celebrities, and other mob-types of people. I think he eventually started to use, got in over his head on something, and was whacked.
His parents always hoped that he was still alive somewhere, but so far, he hasn't turned up anywhere."
"I know a family who attended a company-sponsored weekend retreat at a mountain lodge for employees and their families. Everybody arrived on a Friday afternoon, and when it came time to call everyone into the dining room for dinner, a 5-year-old girl went missing.
She was never found.
The entire weekend was spent searching for her along with hundreds of other police officers. In the end, they assumed she wandered away far enough and was maybe taken by an animal."
"In 1993, my only uncle went missing. He had taken my grandmother's death very hard. I was young at the time, so I had no memory of him.
One Sunday in 2005, we were coming home from my aunt's house when my dad pulled over. He thought he had spotted my uncle walking a dog on the side of the road. Sure enough, it was my uncle. No explanation as to where he had been for all those years.
What an odd guy."
"I had a friend who had gone missing for an extended period of time on more than one occasion.
She was a young, beautiful girl. We met as neighbors in the same highrise building. Her story is a sad one as she found her way into a life as a 'lady of the night,' as well as, was hooked on terrible substances. However, whenever you found her sober, she would prove to be surprisingly intelligent, knowledgeable on current events, and up-to-date on a variety of books.
We had many great conversations in the elevators, many lunch dates, and would go out for drinks often. Sometimes she wouldn't respond for a few weeks, and then suddenly she would reappear. Until one day, she was gone. She left her apartment, canceled her phone, and I had no idea what had happened to her. I prayed for her often (as I do for all my troubled friends), and hoped that wherever she was, at least God was looking out for her.
About one or two years later, I was walking through the city and guess who I ran into. We talked and talked. I knew God had been listening all of those times. I was filled with immense joy. Not only was she alright. She had turned her life around. She quit doing all substances, held a retail job, and was taking college classes. I cannot express enough how happy I felt to hear and see all of this. We exchanged numbers and continued our friendship where we had left off.
Unfortunately, another plot twist occurred when after several months, she failed to show up for a movie date. I had just spoken to her the previous night, but she disappeared similarly to the first time. After a week of no response, I checked in at her work. No one knew what happened to her. She just didn't come in one day. No word, she just vanished. So, again I worried and added her to my prayers.
Flash forward one year, I received a text from a new number: 'Hi, this is [missing friend]. I'm okay.' I replied, left the occasional voicemail, and received no response back. I thought as long as she knew that she wasn't forgotten, I was more than happy to leave voicemails if there was even the slightest chance that could help her. Several months went by, and she texted and called me. She had received my messages and loved them.
I don't know what exactly happened yet, and I don't know what twists/turns will come about next. It's been a wild ride of a friendship, but friendship isn't conditional upon the good times only. It's for understanding, sticking through the hard times, and being there even when the chips are down."
"This happened to a family friend of mine. One day, the nanny just disappeared with their 4-year-old son. They did everything they could to find him, but unfortunately, it was easy to just disappear in Indonesia.
About six months later, one of their friends was stuck in a traffic jam and realized that one of the beggar kids going in-between the cars looked a lot like their son. He wasn't sure, so he called up his friends and told them to come back to that area around the same time the next day. They did that, immediately recognized their son, and called his name. He recognized them, too. They quickly grabbed him and put him in the car and drove off since beggar children in Jakarta were often organized with mobsters/gangsters who were behind their operations.
The kid wouldn't talk for the longest time, but he seems to be fine now. He apparently doesn't remember about that time in his life anymore. They still don't know where the ex-nanny is, or why she had decided to kidnap the kid in the first place."
"My brother was friends with a kid who disappeared one day this summer.
He was just 18-years-old and had just graduated from high school. I didn't know him or his family personally, but we live in a small isolated town (population of 13,000). As a result, the ripple effect was felt strongly. It's been nearly six months now. Nothing. He's gone, and there's still a million square miles of forest to search.
His family kept everybody updated, and they would post on Facebook asking for volunteers to help them comb through whichever new stretch of woods they needed to, but again, nothing ever came of it.
The worst part now is having to watch all of these so-called 'mediums' from across the country or continent show up on their Facebook page and try to swindle his family and friends out of cash by telling them: 'I had a dream. He's in a cabin at Blank Lake, etc.' which would only take a few seconds of googling to fabricate.
It's tragic. I hope they find him, but at this point, there's probably no way he's still alive.
"I'm a teacher. It was the last day of school, and I was teaching first grade. Some of the students usually got picked up by relatives, others walked home, or they were picked up by older siblings. We didn't bother to keep track of who each kid went with unless we noticed someone unfamiliar. This was a standard procedure for our school board, although, in Kindergarten the kids were 'handed off' directly to parents who must've been on the student's 'pick up' form.
It was the last day of school, and things were a bit chaotic as one would expect. I was dismissing my students and had several stragglers who were running behind our still wanted to say 'goodbye' to me. By the time I went into the yard, most of my students were gone. One of the grandparents of a student in my class, however, came rushing over to explain to me that they were running late and here to get their granddaughter. We looked everywhere in and around the school property. I thought she must've been waiting and was probably looking for her grandparents before panic began to set in and we realized she wasn't on the school property anymore.
This was all happening only a couple of weeks after a major kidnapping and murder happened just an hour away from us, and it had been national news. So, the case was fresh on everyone's minds. After deploying the entire school's staff to check nearby playgrounds, several police officers showed up to help us search for her. Staff from neighboring schools also pitched in, and she was finally found about an hour later at her grandparent's house (This was only after her grandpa was very strongly encouraged by police to go and wait for her there).
He insisted that his 5-year old granddaughter couldn't possibly have known the route to their house since she had never walked it before, and it was 15 minutes away. It turns out because her grandpa wasn't there to pick her up right away, she decided to walk back herself as she did know the route."
"From what I've been told, my grandmother's brother was always a loner/the black sheep of the family. He ended up leaving one day when they were in their late teens, and no one ever heard from him again.
Forty-five years later, her other brother somehow learned that he was living in a homeless camp in the Tahoe area. He asked all around the general area using a 45-year-old picture of him if anyone had seen his brother. Miraculously, they found him and offered to give him a place to stay and even some major help integrating back into society.
He said, 'Thanks, but no. All I know is here.'
Apparently, the man had never had a bank account, didn't know any of his info (like his social security number), and never even had a driver's license. It was peculiar to think about, but hey, who knows maybe he's happier that way."
"I am that missing person.
When I left foster care at 18, I left for good and changed my name. My foster family treated me as if I was a burden because I was gay. So, as far as anyone else is concerned, I went to the middle of the Arizona desert and killed myself for being gay.
I ended up reaching out to like five people from my past who I was close to, and that's actually how I figured out that I had 'died in the desert.' They promised to keep me dead because they liked to see the people who had bullied me for being gay carry that guilt.
Anyway, I guess that means I'm still dead and staying dead."