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List of people who disappeared mysteriously: pre-1970

This is a list of people who disappeared mysteriously: pre-1970 and of people whose current whereabouts are unknown or whose deaths are not substantiated. Many people who disappear are eventually declared dead in absentia. Some of these people were possibly subjected to forced disappearance, but there is insufficient information on their subsequent fates.

Contents

Before 1800Edit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
circa 700 BC Romulus (the founder and first king of Rome) 60 at least Campus Martius, Italy One day Romulus was reviewing his troops in the Campus Martius (near where the Pantheon is now). There was a sudden storm with lightning and thunderclaps. A thick black cloud hid him from view and no one ever saw him again. Some people standing nearby said that he had been swept away by the tempest. [1]
53 BC Ambiorix Gaul, Belgium Ambiorix was, together with Catuvolcus, prince of the Eburones, leader of a Belgic tribe of northeastern Gaul (Gallia Belgica), where modern Belgium is located. According to the writer Florus (iii.10.8), Ambiorix and his men managed to cross the Rhine and disappeared without a trace. [2]
Catuvolcus
30 BC Alexander Helios 10 Egypt Helios and Philadelphus, sons of Cleopatra and Mark Antony and the younger half-brothers of Caesarion, left Egypt for Rome, after which their fates are unknown. [3]
Ptolemy Philadelphus 6
108–164 Legio IX Hispana (Ninth Spanish Legion) Roman Republic The Roman legion stationed in Roman Britain, following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, disappears from surviving records without explanation in the second century. There are multiple conjectures regarding what happened to it and why no record of its fate has been found. Many references to the legion have been made in subsequent works of fiction. [4]
c. 834 Muhammad ibn Qasim (al-Alawi) Baghdad The Alawite imam who led a rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate. He was eventually defeated and detained but was able to escape. After fleeing he was never heard from again. [5]
1021 Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah 36 Cairo, Egypt The sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam rode his donkey to the Mokattam hills, outside Cairo, for one of his regular nocturnal meditation outings and failed to return. A search found only the donkey and his bloodstained garments. [6]
1071 Hereward the Wake 36–37 Ely, England A formerly exiled Anglo-Danish minor noble rebel, Hereward the Wake led a huge revolt in the marshy region of Ely in England against the rule of William the Conqueror. He was eventually betrayed by fearful local monks who led the Norman troops through secret trackways. Many rebels were mutilated or executed but Hereward escaped, never to be heard of again. [7][8]
1083 Renier of Montferrat A Lombard noble of the House of Montferrat, brother of the famous Conrad (king-consort of Jerusalem) and Boniface (crusader king of Thessalonica), and son-in-law to Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos, was assumed poisoned along with his wife during a coup and the subsequent power struggle in Constantinople. Chroniclers describe his wife's death, but not his. [9]
1398 Gearóid Iarla 63 Kingdom of Desmond, Ireland Gerald FitzMaurice FitzGerald, also known by the Irish Gaelic Gearóid Iarla (Earl Gerald), was the 3rd Earl of Desmond, lord of Munster, and Norman-Gaelic poet, disappeared in 1398. [10]
1412 Owain Glyndŵr 56 Wales The last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales, Owain instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England in 1400. Although initially successful, the uprising was eventually defeated but Glyndŵr disappeared and no one knows what became of him after that. [11]
1453 Constantine XI Palaiologos 48 Constantinople The last Byzantine emperor during the final hours of the Siege of Constantinople. Constantine XI Palaiologos disappeared during the fighting and was never seen after that. [12]
1483 Edward V of England 12 London, England The Princes in the Tower, Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, sons of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, were placed in the Tower of London (which at that time served as a fortress and a royal palace as well as a prison) by their uncle Richard III of England. Neither was ever seen in public again and their fate remains unknown. The remains of four children which have been found could be the princes, but they have not been subjected to DNA analysis to positively identify them. [13][14]
Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York 9
1487 Lord Lovell 31 Oxfordshire, England Lord Lovell, a rebel Yorkist knight, was last seen alive fleeing from the Battle of Stoke Field after defeat by the Lancastrians. In 1488 he was granted safe conduct in Scotland by King James IV but there is no evidence he was ever in the country. (A skeleton found at one of his mansions at Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire, in 1708 was believed without evidence to be his.) [15]
c. 1590 Roanoke colonists Roanoke Colony, North Carolina, U.S. The Roanoke colonists, including Virginia Dare age 2 or 3, the first English child born in a New World English overseas possession, disappeared becoming known as the Lost Colony. On 18 August 1590, their settlement was found abandoned. The settlement was located on Roanoke Island, currently part of Dare County, North Carolina. [16]
1628 David Thompson Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. The founder of the New Hampshire colony in 1623, Thompson moved his family to an island in Boston Harbor (today called Thompson Island in his honor) in 1626 becoming the first European settlers of Boston, Massachusetts. He disappeared in 1628 and was never heard from again. Some historians theorize he was the victim of foul play while others suggest he accidentally drowned in Boston Harbor. [17]
1661 René Menard 56 Taylor County, Wisconsin, U.S. A French Jesuit missionary, Fr. René Menard disappeared while traveling by canoe with a Native guide from the area of present-day L'Anse, Michigan, on Lake Superior, to minister to a Huron village deep in the Wisconsin interior. After encountering a series of rapids Menard and his guide agreed that he would walk downstream on shore while his more skilled companion brought the boat through. The latter passed the rapids successfully but Menard was never seen again. Years later, his cassock and breviary were discovered in a Dakota village far from the scene. [18]
1704 Laurens de Graaf 51 Louisiana Territory Laurens de Graaf was last known to be near Louisiana where he was to help set up a French colony near present-day Biloxi, Mississippi. Some sources claim he died there while others claim he died at different locations in Alabama. [19]
1758 Khe Pandjang Bali, India Pandjang was a leader of Chinese rebels fighting against the Dutch East India Company during the Java War. He escaped capture after the defeat of the rebellion, and was last seen in Bali in 1758. [20]
1792 James Harrod 46 Harrodsburg, Kentucky, U.S. An early explorer of the areas west of the Appalachian Mountains prior to their settlement by European-Americans, James Harrod never returned from a trip to western Kentucky from Harrodsburg. Theories about his fate range from murder at the hands of his companions or Native Americans in the area, to accidental death or a desire to abandon his wife and family. [21]

1800 to 1899Edit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
1802 James Derham 44–45 Pennsylvania, U.S. The first African American to formally practice medicine in the United States disappeared after 1802. [22]
1809 Benjamin Bathurst 25 Perleberg, Germany British diplomat, disappeared from an inn in Perleberg. [23]
1826 William Morgan 52 Batavia, New York, U.S. Morgan disappeared just before his book critical of Freemasonry was published. A year after he had disappeared a badly decomposed body was found that was thought to be his but it was proven not to be. [24]
1829 John Lansing, Jr. 75 New York City, New York, U.S. American politician and chief justice of the New York State Supreme Court Lansing left his Manhattan hotel to mail a letter at a New York City dock and was never seen again. [25]
1837 Joseph Gellibrand 48–49 Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) The first Attorney-General of Van Diemen's Land disappeared while attempting to ride inland from Geelong, Victoria, to Melbourne in 1837. [26]
1839 Henry Bryan 18 Burra, Australia Bryan, who accompanied explorer Charles Sturt, Governor George Gawler, and others on an expedition from the Murray River to the Burra area of South Australia, disappeared and is believed to have died in 1839 during a dust storm on the return trip. Searchers later found his saddle and some tracks which stopped abruptly. His body was never found, however his horse returned to Adelaide after several months. [27][28]
1842 Charles Christian Dutton Port Lincoln, Australia Charles Christian Dutton and four other men disappeared without trace while droving cattle from Port Lincoln, South Australia to Adelaide. [29]
1843 Sequoyah circa 73 San Fernando, Mexico The creator of Cherokee syllabary, Sequoyah disappeared during a trip to Mexico to locate isolated tribes of Cherokees who had moved there during the time of Indian Removal in the U.S. His body has never been found, although at least three different burial sites have been reported. [30]
1848 Khachatur Abovian 38 Tbilisi, Georgia The Armenian writer and national public figure of the early 19th century, credited as creator of modern Armenian literature, left his house early one morning and was never heard from again. [31]
1848 Ludwig Leichhardt 34 Swan River, Australia A Prussian explorer and naturalist, Ludwig disappeared during his third major expedition to explore parts of northern and central Australia. He was last seen on 3 April at McPherson's Station on the Darling Downs, en route from the Condamine River to the Swan River in Western Australia. Although investigated by many, his fate after leaving the settled areas remains a mystery.
May 1849 Frank Lenz 25 Erzurum, Turkey Lenz was an American bicyclist and adventurer who disappeared somewhere near Erzurum, Turkey in May 1894, during an attempt to circle the globe by bicycle. [32]
31 July 1849 Sándor Petőfi 26 Transylvania, Romania Petőfi, Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary, was one of the key figures of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Petőfi was last seen in Transylvania during the Battle of Segesvár. He is thought to have been killed in battle, but since his body was never found, his true fate remains unknown. [33]
29 June 1856 Matias Perez Unknown Cuba Perez, a Cuban balloonist of Portuguese descent, disappeared with his balloon "Ville de Paris" during a flight in Cuba on 29 June. [34]
1857 Solomon Northup 48–49 United States Northup, an American author, who was most notable for his book Twelve Years a Slave in which he details his kidnapping and subsequent sale into slavery. Northup did not return to his family from his book-promoting tour. No contemporary evidence documents Northup after 1857. [35]
1857 Nana Sahib 33 Kanpur or Nepal, India An Indian aristocrat and a leader of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 Sahib disappeared after the East India Company's forces retook his city of Kanpur. Rumors that he had died of an illness or fled to exile in Nepal or another part of India were never proven. [36]
February 1865 Captain James William Boyd 43 Jackson, Tennessee, U.S. Boyd, a Confederate States of America military officer, vanished after his release as a prisoner of war in February 1865 after he failed to show up for a rendezvous with his son to go to Mexico at the end of the American Civil War. Boyd's disappearance is the subject of a conspiracy theory that he was killed after being mistaken for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. [37]
6 July 1869 Agoston Haraszthy 56 Corinto, Nicaragua Haraszthy, who was a founder of Californian wine industry, disappeared in a river while organizing a liquor business in Nicaragua. [38]
1 July 1874 Charley Ross 4 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Ross, a resident of Philadelphia, was enticed along with his brother Walter into a horse-drawn carriage while playing in their front yard on 1 July. Walter got out at a fireworks shop, and the carriage drove on without him. The family received ransom notes and worked with police, but all to no avail. [39]
1880s William Cantelo Southampton, England Cantelo, inventor of an early machine gun, never returned to his Southampton home after one of his frequent and lengthy sales trips. His sons speculated years later that he may have re-emerged as Hiram Maxim, another machine-gun pioneer, who he strongly resembled. [40]
1882 Jesse Evans Huntsville, Texas, U.S. An American outlaw, gunman of the Old West, leader of the Jesse Evans Gang, and veteran of the Lincoln County War disappeared from the record shortly after his release from prison. He was never seen or heard from again. Despite an unsubstantiated claimant in 1948 (who also claimed that other Lincoln County veterans, including the renowned Billy the Kid, were still alive), Evans' fate remains unknown. [41]
30 October 1888 Henry Boynton Clitz 64 Niagara Falls, New York, U.S. Clitz, a career U.S. Army officer who had served with distinction in the Mexican and Civil wars before being named superintendent of the United States Military Academy, was last seen on 30 October. Family members said his mental state had been deteriorating over the previous months; he was presumed to have drowned although no body was ever found. [42]
16 September 1890 Louis Le Prince 48 Dijon, France Le Prince, a motion picture pioneer, disappeared after boarding a Paris-bound train at Dijon, France. [43][44]
13 March 1892 Hermann Fol 46 Bénodet, France Fol, a Swiss zoologist regarded as the father of modern cell biology, disappeared with several crew members of his yacht shortly after leaving Bénodet, France. [45]
1 February 1896 Albert Jennings Fountain 57 Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S. Former Texas state senator and lieutenant governor Albert Jennings Fountain disappeared near Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States, along with his son Henry on 1 February 1896. Evidence found along their route strongly suggests they were murdered but no bodies were ever found. [46]
Henry Fountain 2

1900sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
26 December 1900 Thomas Marshall 24 Flannan Isles Lighthouse, Scotland Lighthouse keepers at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse who mysteriously vanished from their posts during a fierce storm on 26 December 1900. [47]
James Ducat 48
Donald MacArthur Unknown
1902 Yda Hillis Addis 45 California, U.S. A translator of ancient Mexican narratives, Addis escaped from an insane asylum in California where her husband had her confined during their divorce and was not seen again. [48][49]
26 October 1902 Eduard von Toll 44 Bennett Island, Siberia A group of Russian explorers led by Baron Eduard von Toll left their camp on Bennett Island and disappeared without trace.
1908 Joseph "Bunko" Kelly Unknown Salem, Oregon, U.S. The English hotelier, crimper and convicted murderer vanished after leaving the Oregon State Penitentiary following his completion of a 13-year prison sentence. [50]

1910sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
12 December 1910 Dorothy Arnold 25 New York City, New York, U.S. Manhattan socialite and perfume heiress Dorothy Arnold vanished after buying a book in New York City. She intended to walk through Central Park and was never seen again. [51]
23 August 1912 Bobby Dunbar 4 St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, U.S. Bobby disappeared during a fishing trip. A child found in the custody of William Cantwell Walters of Mississippi eight months later was ruled to be Bobby Dunbar by a court-appointed arbiter, and Walters was found guilty of kidnapping. The child grew up as Bobby Dunbar, had four children of his own, and died in 1966. In 2004, DNA tests proved that the child found was not related to Bobby Dunbar's brother, Alonzo. [52]
1912 Sebastiano DiGaetano 50 New York City, New York, U.S. DiGaetano, a capo di tutti capi of the Bonanno crime family, disappeared from Brooklyn, New York, shortly after being forced out of that position. It is believed he and his wife returned to Italy but it is not known for certain. [53]
September 1914 František Gellner 33 Galicia The Czech poet, short story writer, artist and anarchist disappeared in September 1914; on 13 September he was claimed missing and was never found. [54]
December 1913 Ambrose Bierce 71 Chihuahua, Mexico American writer known for "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and The Devil's Dictionary was last heard from in a letter of December 1913 bearing a Chihuahua postmark to his secretary and companion, Carrie Christiansen. Although alternative theories are plentiful, he may have perished in war-torn Mexico, possibly at the Battle of Ojinaga on 10 February or perhaps was executed as a spy in the municipal cemetery of Sierra Mojada, Coahuila, where a gravestone bearing his name was erected in 2004. [55][56][57]
16 January 1914 F. Lewis Clark 52 Santa Barbara, California, U.S. Clark, a businessman from the U.S. state of Idaho disappeared while visiting Santa Barbara, California, and after getting on a train he was never seen again. [58]
1914 Alejandro Bello Silva 27 Chile A lieutenant in the Chilean Army, Silva disappeared during a qualifying examination flight over central Chile which was to be his final flight. At some point during the flight, Bello became lost in the clouds and he was never seen again. Although search efforts commenced within hours, no trace of him or his aircraft was ever found. [59]
June 1918 Knud Andersen 51 England Danish mammalogist Knud Andersen mysteriously disappeared in 1918. His colleague Oldfield Thomas submitted his final manuscript on his behalf, stating that Andersen expected "to be absent from his scientific work for some time." [60]
2 June 1919 Mansell Richard James 25 Tyringham, Massachusetts, U.S. Canadian flying ace James was last seen in western Massachusetts on 2 June just days after a record-setting flight between Atlantic City and Boston. [61]
2 December 1919 Ambrose Small 56 Toronto, Canada The Canadian millionaire disappeared from his office. He was last seen at 5:30 pm on 2 December 1919 at the Grand Opera House. [62]

1920sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
1920 Homer Lemay 6 Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S. Lemay disappeared in 1920, and on 8 March 1921 the body of an unidentified boy was found murdered in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and nicknamed Little Lord Fauntleroy. Many years later authorities said that the body might have been that of Lemay. [63]
1 September 1920 Clayton Kratz 21–22 Molotschna, Ukraine The Mennonite relief worker from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania left the U.S. on 1 September 1920 to travel to Russia. He did not return from the trip and was never heard from again. [64]
28 September 1920 Victor Grayson 39 London, England The British former Member of parliament was not seen again after 28 September 1920 after telling friends he was going to the Queen's Hotel in Leicester Square and would be back, but did not return. He was also seen the same day by an artist who knew him entering a house in Thames Ditton belonging to Maundy Gregory, corrupt honours dealer, who is alleged to have murdered Grayson who had been investigating his activities. [65]
22 September 1922 Alejandro Carrascosa 21 Buenos Aires, Argentina Carrascosa, an Argentine poet, writer and student, disappeared on 22 September and left hints that he was not going to be seen again, and was not. [66]
8 June 1924 Andrew Irvine 22 Northeast ridge, Mount Everest The English mountaineer, who took part in the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition, was last seen high on the mountain's northeast ridge on 8 June 1924 and his body has not been found. [67]
1924 Liu Menggeng Republic of China Menggeng, a politician and physician of the Republic of China and Manchukuo, left office in 1924 and was never seen again. [68]
5 November 1925 Sidney Reilly 47–48 Moscow, Soviet Union British spy Sidney Reilly set off for the Soviet Union in an attempt to overthrow the Bolshevik regime and was said to have been captured and shot on 5 November 1925 but it is not known for sure since no location of his body is known. The photo of him seen dead was said to be alleged and it was even speculated that he might have still been alive since there were later sightings of him. [69][70]
29 May 1925 Percy Fawcett 58 Mato Grosso, Brazil Fawcett, a British archaeologist and explorer, together with his eldest son Jack and friend Raleigh Rimell, was last seen traveling into the jungle of Mato Grosso in Brazil to search for a hidden city called the Lost City of Z. Several unconfirmed sightings and many conflicting reports and theories explaining their disappearance followed, but despite more than a dozen follow-up expeditions and the recovery of some of Fawcett's belongings, their fate remains a mystery. [71]
April 1926 Frederick McDonald 53–54 Sydney, Australia An Australian politician, McDonald set off from Martin Place, Sydney, for a meeting with Jack Lang two blocks away but failed to arrive. He was possibly murdered by his political rival Thomas Ley. In 1947, Ley was convicted at the Old Bailey of the "Chalkpit Murder", that of a barman in England, and sentenced to hang but was then declared insane and sent to Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital, where he died of a cerebral hemorrhage two months later. [72]
13 November 1925 Alice Corbett 19 Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S. An American college student, Corbett was last seen leaving her residence on the campus of Smith College on the morning of 13 November. Extensive searches of urban and wilderness areas across Western Massachusetts failed to yield any evidence of her fate. Her case received wide publicity though regional newspapers and national wire services. Her disappearance has the distinction of being the oldest active missing person case in the United States. [73]
30 October 1926 Marvin Clark 75 Portland, Oregon, U.S. A retired American sheriff, Clark disappeared en route to visit his daughter by stagecoach during the Halloween weekend. [74]
8 May 1927 Charles Nungesser 35 Atlantic Ocean Both French aviators disappeared with their aircraft L'Oiseau Blanc while attempting a transatlantic flight. [75]
François Coli 44
6 August 1927 Włodzimierz Zagórski 45 Vilnius, Lithuania An Austro-Hungarian military intelligence officer, Polish brigadier general, staff officer and aviator disappeared, never to be seen again. [76]
1927 Paul Redfern 25 Brazil An American musician and a pilot from Columbia, South Carolina, who became known during the summer of 1927 for attempting to fly from Brunswick, Georgia to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He disappeared after 25 August 1927 and was never seen again. [77]
10 March 1928 Walter Collins 9 Los Angeles, California, U.S. Walter disappeared from his home in 1928. He was later determined to have been murdered by Gordon Stewart Northcott in what was known as the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. His disappearance and the attempt by the Los Angeles police department to convince his mother that a different boy was her son formed the basis of the 2008 film Changeling. [78][79][80]
18 November 1928 Glen Hyde 29 Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S. The American newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde were last seen 18 November 1928 and disappeared while attempting to raft the Colorado River rapids of the Grand Canyon. [81]
Bessie Hyde 22

1930sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
15 May 1930 Mary Agnes Moroney 2 Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Agnes went missing after her mother, a struggling 17-year-old mother of two, gave her to a stranger calling herself "Julia Otis" in exchange for $2 on the understanding that the woman would take care of the girl in California for a short time and then return her to the Moroneys' Chicago home when things were better. She never did, and the ensuing investigation attracted national media attention. The girl was never located, and the case remains the oldest unsolved missing-persons case of this nature in the files of the Chicago Missing Persons Bureau. A California woman's belief that she was Mary Agnes has subsequently been disproven by DNA testing. [82][83]
6 August 1930 Joseph Force Crater 41 New York City, New York, U.S. An associate justice of the New York Supreme Court, Crater was last seen after eating a meal at a restaurant. Crater was never seen or heard from again. (His mistress, Sally Lou Ritz, 22, was falsely said to have disappeared a few weeks later, but was interviewed by police as late as July 1937. Crater's disappearance, which prompted one of the most sensational manhunts of the 20th century, was the subject of widespread media attention and a grand jury investigation. Crater was declared legally dead in 1939 and his missing persons file was officially closed in 1979; however, cold case squad detectives have investigated new leads as recently as 2005. [84][85][86]
15 October 1931 Joseph Ardizzone 46 Los Angeles, California, U.S. Los Angeles crime family boss, vanished while driving from his home to pick up a relative; declared legally dead 7 years later, no trace of him was ever found.
1932 Jack Black c. 61 United States Author Jack Black is believed to have committed suicide in 1932 by drowning after as he reportedly told his friends that if life got too grim, he would row out into New York Harbor and, with weights tied to his feet, drop overboard.
17 February 1933 Julien Torma 30 Tirol, Austria A French Dadaist writer, Torma never returned from a 17 February trip into the Austrian Tirol. [87]
1933 C. B. Johnston c. 38 United States Johnston, American college athlete and coach, sent a postcard to his wife from Zanesville, Ohio, saying he was on his way to Chicago to publish a book after being fired as head football coach of what is now Appalachian State University. No one heard from him after that. [88]
1934 Wallace Fard Muhammad 43 Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Founder of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad left Detroit and was never heard from again. [89]
November 1934 Everett Ruess 20 Escalante, Utah, U.S. Ruess, a young American artist, disappeared while traveling through the deserts of Utah and was never seen again. [90][91]
22 November 1934 Etta Riel 20 Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S. Riel was an American woman who vanished on the day of a scheduled paternity hearing against her former boyfriend. The case was complicated by anonymous telephone calls placed to a local train station the night of her disappearance and a telegram sent to her attorney weeks later from an unknown individual impersonating her. Extensive police searches across Central Massachusetts failed to locate her and the case was never solved. [92]
1935 Li Yuan Unknown China Li Yuan was a politician of the Republic of China (and later Manchukuo) who disappeared in 1935. The circumstances of his later life and death are unknown. [93]
7 December 1936 Jean Mermoz 35 Aubenton, France French air pilot Jean Mermoz went missing on 7 December 1936 while flying his Latécoère 300 Croix-du-Sud near Aubenton, Aisne. It is assumed that the plane crashed in the sea, but it is unconfirmed since his body was never recovered. [94]
3 June 1937 Juliet Stuart Poyntz 50 New York City, New York, U.S. An American communist and intelligence agent for the Soviet Union Juliet Poyntz disappeared on 3 June 1937. A police investigation turned up no clues to her fate, and her belongings, all of her clothing and hand luggage in her room appeared to be untouched. [95][96]
1938 Willie McLean 34 Chicago, Illinois, U.S. A Scottish-born American soccer player, Willie McLean disappeared without a trace in the summer of 1938. [97]
2 July 1938 Alfred Beilhartz 4 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, U.S. American child who while on vacation with his family at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
1939 Barbara Newhall Follett 25 Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S. Follett was an American child prodigy novelist. Her first novel, The House Without Windows, was drafted when she was eight and completed and published in 1927 when she was twelve years old. Her next novel, The Voyage of the Norman D., received critical acclaim when she was fourteen. She continued to write as an adult; her works included travelogues and a romance called Lost Island. In 1939, aged 25 and despondent over her husband's unfaithfulness, she walked out of her apartment with thirty dollars ($528 in 2017) and was never seen again. [98]
1939 Lloyd L. Gaines 28 Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Gaines was a central figure in the legal case Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, which was an early success for the civil rights movement. One evening, he left his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity house in Chicago, having told the housekeeper he was going to buy some stamps, and was never seen or heard from again. Some accounts suggest he was living in New York or Mexico City in the late 1940s. [99]
3 September 1939 Rita Gorgonowa 38 Poland Gorgonowa, a governess who was convicted of murdering a child in her care, disappeared after being released from prison and was not seen again. [100]

1940sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
July 1941 Thomas C. Latimore 51 Hawaii, U.S. American naval officer Thomas C. Latimore, who was captain of the USS Dobbin and the 24th (22nd unique) Governor of American Samoa, disappeared in Hawaii believed to be in July 1941. [101]
1941 Jaan Tõnisson 72 Estonia As one of the foremost Estonian political leaders, Tõnisson was arrested during the Soviet occupation and was thought to have been shot but his exact whereabouts after that remains unknown. [102]
August 1941 Alter Rotmann 25–26 Odessa, Ukrainan SSR Rotmann, a Romanian, Moldovan and Soviet poet, was last seen in August 1941 in Odessa, Ukrainian SSR and is believed to have died after that. [103]
1942 James Litterick 41 Manitoba, Canada Litterick was the first member of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) elected to the Manitoba provincial parliament. By the time that the CPC was banned in 1940 and Litterick formally expelled from the legislature he had already gone into hiding and become the subject of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police manhunt. The following year he was reported to be working at a garment factory in Toronto but nothing further appears to be known about him. Litterick surrendered to the RCMP during 1942 and was held at the Don Jail in Toronto. [104][105][106]
20 November 1943 Dan Billany 30 Capistrello, Italy An English novelist, Billany was last heard from in 1943. He was last seen 20 November 1943 in Capistrello, Italy. [107]
1943 Abraham Gancwajch 41–42 Warsaw, Poland Gancwajch, a prominent Nazi collaborator in the Warsaw Ghetto during the occupation of Poland in World War II and a Jewish "kingpin" of the ghetto underworld, was last seen in 1943 and is rumored to have been killed. [108][109]
1943 Endre Rudnyánszky 57–58 Russia A Hungarian lawyer, military officer, and communist Rudnyánszky was last seen in Russia in 1943. It is believed that he may have died that year. [110]
15 August 1943 Moriz Seeler Riga, Latvia Seeler, a German poet, writer and film producer, disappeared in 1943 when he was said to have been deported by the Nazis to Latvia. He went missing from the capital city of Riga and is believed to have been murdered at Theresienstadt Ghetto. [111]
1944 Herschel Grynszpan 22 Magdeburg, Germany Grynszpan was the Jewish exile from Germany whose 1938 assassination of diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris, France was the trigger for Kristallnacht in Germany. For various reasons, largely legal delays, a planned trial was never held in either France or (after 1940) Germany during which Grynszpan was held in various prisons and concentration camps. Adolf Eichmann testified at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem that he had interrogated Grynszpan in Magdeburg in either late 1943 or early 1944 but after that there is no record of his whereabouts or ultimate fate. The West German government had him declared legally dead in 1960. [112]
23 April 1944 Rocco Perri 56 Hamilton, Canada An organized crime figure in Ontario, Perri was last seen alive in Hamilton, Ontario on 23 April 1944. His body has never been found and there was speculation that he was murdered by being thrown into Hamilton Harbour after he was fitted with cement shoes. [113]
18 August 1944 Sheila Fox 6 Farnworth, England Fox disappeared in Farnworth, Bolton, Lancashire. Witnesses claim they saw Sheila riding on the handlebars of a bike being pedalled by a 25–30-year-old man. In 2001 a witness came forward claiming he saw a local resident digging a hole in the area where Sheila disappeared on his property. The property owner was revealed to have been convicted of rape and child molestation but Sheila's remains weren't found. [114]
September 1944 Johan Pitka 72 Kõue Parish, Estonia Pitka, a famous Estonian military commander from the Estonian War of Independence until World War II, disappeared in September 1944, and is believed to have been killed. [115]
26 October 1944 Gertrude Tompkins Silver 33 Palm Springs, California, U.S. Silver is the only Women Airforce Service Pilots member to go missing during World War II. She departed from Mines Field (Los Angeles International Airport) for Palm Springs, on 26 October 1944, flying a P-51D Mustang destined for New Jersey. She never arrived at Palm Springs and due to reporting errors, a search for her was not started until three days later. Despite an extensive ground and water search no trace of Gertrude or the aircraft were found. [116][117]
1944 Erna Petermann 31–32 Germany Petermann was a high-ranking female overseer at two Nazi concentration camps during the closing of World War II. She was last seen in 1944 and was never heard from again. [118]
1944 Karla Mayer 35–36 Auschwitz, Germany Mayer was a German guard at three Nazi death camps during the World War II. She disappeared in 1944 and her fate remains a mystery. [119]
17 January 1945 Raoul Wallenberg 32 Budapest, Hungary A Swedish diplomat credited with saving the lives of at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, Wallenberg was arrested on espionage charges in Budapest following the arrival of the Soviet army. His fate remains a mystery despite hundreds of purported sightings in Soviet prisons, some as recent as the 1980s. In 2001, after 10 years of research, a Swedish-Russian panel concluded that Wallenberg probably died or was executed in Soviet custody on 17 July 1947 but to date no hard evidence has been found to confirm this. In 2010, evidence from Russian archives surfaced suggesting he was alive after the presumed execution date. [120][121]
1 May 1945 Heinrich Müller 45 Führerbunker, Germany Müller, a Nazi Gestapo chief, was last seen in the Führerbunker on the evening of 1 May 1945. While there he had stated that his intention was to avoid being taken into custody by the Soviet forces advancing on Berlin. His CIA file and related documents state that while the record is "...inconclusive on Müller's ultimate fate... [he] most likely died in Berlin in early May 1945." Other theories have suggested that he either escaped to South America like many other fugitive Nazis and lived out his life there (the Israelis continued to investigate his whereabouts into the 1960s) or was protected by U.S. or Soviet intelligence under a new identity. He is the most senior Nazi official whose fate is unknown. [122]
2 May 1945 Constanze Manziarly 25 Berlin, Germany A cook and dietitian for Adolf Hitler, Constanze Manziarly disappeared on 2 May 1945 while escaping Berlin following the Soviet invasion and fall of Nazi Germany. She was believed to have been raped and shot by Soviet soldiers in an U-Bahn subway tunnel. [123]
1945 Hildegard Neumann 26 Germany Neumann, a chief overseer at several Nazi concentration camps, transition camps and detention camps, disappeared in May 1945 after she left the Ravensbrück concentration camp. It is claimed that she died in 2010. [124]
14 February 1945 Supriyadi 22 Supriyadi disappeared after the failed PETA revolt against Japanese occupation on 14 February 1945. Later that year, he was named Minister for People's Security in the first cabinet formed by the newly declaring-independence Indonesia. However, he failed to appear and was replaced on 20 October 1945 by ad interim minister Muhammad Soeljoadikusuma. To this day his fate remains unknown. [125][126]
January 1945 Genrikh Lyushkov 45 Manchukuo, Empire of Japan Lyushkov was a high-level Soviet defector and former Far East NKVD chief. A participant in the Great Purge he fled, to avoid what he believed would be arrest and execution, into the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. After his defection he became a military consultant and analyst for the Imperial Japanese Army. He disappeared during the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and was reported as being last seen in a crowded train station in Dairen (Dalian) in August 1945. Several theories exist about his fate, but he is presumed to have died in 1945, killed by either Soviet or Japanese forces. [127]
20 October 1945 Alfred Partikel 57 Darß, Germany A German painter, Partikel disappeared while picking mushrooms in the woods near Ahrenshoop and was never seen again. [128]
24 December 1945 Maurice Sodder 14 Fayetteville, West Virginia, U.S. Five of the nine Sodder children, aged 5 through 14, who lived in their parents' home, were presumed to have died in a fire that destroyed the house. However, no remains were found in the ashes the morning after the fire and some small bone fragments found during subsequent investigations turned out to have been planted. Later reported sightings of some of the children and suspicions that the fire had been arson rather than an accident led the family to believe that the children were still alive. The family kept a billboard offering a reward for information on their fate up at the house site until the late 1980s. [129]
Martha Sodder 12
Louis Sodder 9
Jennie Sodder 8
Betty Sodder 5
1945 Johnny Jebsen 28 Germany Jebsen was an anti-Nazi German intelligence officer and British double agent (code name Artist) during the Second World War. Jebsen recruited Dušan Popov (who became the British agent Tricycle) to the Abwehr and through him later joined the Allied cause. Kidnapped from Lisbon by the Germans shortly before D-Day, Jebsen was tortured in prison and spent time in a concentration camp before disappearing, presumed killed, at the end of the war. [130]
1 December 1946 Paula Jean Welden 18 Bennington, Vermont, U.S. The Bennington College sophomore disappeared while walking on the Long Trail near Glastenbury Mountain. [131][132]
16 January 1947 Daniel S. Voorhees 33–34 Los Angeles, California, U.S. Voorhees, a transient restaurant porter who confessed to the murder of Elizabeth Short, checked out of a hotel in Los Angeles, California, on the morning of 16 January 1947 and was never seen again. [133]
9 April 1947 Joan Gay Croft 4 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S. In the aftermath of the Glazier–Higgins–Woodward tornadoes, 4-year-old Joan Gay Croft and her sister Jerri were among refugees taking shelter in a basement hallway of the Woodward hospital. As officials sent the injured to different hospitals in the area, two men took Joan away saying they were taking her to Oklahoma City. She was never seen again and, over the years, several women have come forth saying they suspect they might be Joan. None of their claims have been verified. [134][135]
6 March 1947 Lai Teck 45–46 Bangkok, Thailand Teck, a leader of the Communist Party of Malaya and Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army, disappeared in 1947 and is believed to have been killed. [136]
1 June 1948 Virginia Carpenter 21 Denton, Texas, U.S. Carpenter was last seen by a taxi driver around 9:30 p.m, and has not been seen since. [137]
7 October 1949 Jean Spangler 26 Los Angeles, California, U.S. Aspiring actress Spangler went missing under mysterious circumstances. She left her home in Los Angeles after telling her sister-in-law that she was going to meet with her ex-husband before going to work as an extra on a film set. She was last seen at a grocery store several blocks from her home at approximately 6:00 pm. Two days later Spangler's tattered purse was discovered in a remote area of Griffith Park approximately 5.5 miles (8.9 km) from her home. She left a note addressed to "Kirk". Police ruled out a connection to the actor Kirk Douglas. Also ruled out was her ex-husband, but other theories included an illegal abortion that resulted in her death and a connection with gangsters. [138][139]
18 October 1949 Dorothy Forstein 40 Pennsylvania, U.S. American housewife Forstein disappeared in Pennsylvania on 18 October 1949. Her two children reported that they witnessed an unknown man carrying Dorothy over his shoulder downstairs and she was never seen again. [140][141]
1949 Francis Hong Yong-ho 43 Korean Empire Hong Yong-ho, a Roman Catholic prelate, was imprisoned by the communist regime of Kim Il-sung in 1949. He disappeared and was never seen again. [142]

1950sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
14 January 1950 Richard Colvin Cox 21 West Point, New York, U.S. A second-year military cadet, disappeared from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, after he met an unknown man, known as "George", three times over the course of a week. On the third occasion, Cox and "George" left the grounds of the Academy and were never seen again. [143][144]
19 April 1951 Vincent Mangano 63 New York, U.S. A mafia crime boss of the future Gambino crime family, Vincent Mangano disappeared on the same day that his brother Philip Mangano was found murdered. He is believed to have been killed on the orders of Albert Anastasia as part of a coup. [145][146]
24 August 1951 Beverly Potts 10 Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. Potts, an American schoolgirl, disappeared while walking home from an entertainment event at Halloran Park. She is believed by police to have been abducted and murdered, possibly by someone she knew and trusted as she was shy and fearful of strangers. [147][148]
1953 Rudolf Mildner 51 Germany Mildner was an Austrian-German SS-Standartenführer who served as the chief of the Gestapo at Katowice and also was the head of the political department at Auschwitz. After the war Mildner testified at the Nuremberg Trials and remained in custody until 1949. It is believed he died in 1953 but Adolf Eichmann claimed to have met Mildner in Argentina in 1958. However, his claim has not been verified. [149]
13 July 1953 Henry Borynski 42 Bradford, England Borynski, a Polish Catholic priest and outspoken anti-Communist, disappeared on 13 July 1953 in Bradford, Yorkshire when he left his residence following a phone call. [150]
24 October 1953 Evelyn Hartley 15 La Crosse, Wisconsin, U.S. Hartley disappeared from a neighbor's home while babysitting. [151][152]
23 November 1953 Felix Moncla 27 Lake Superior, U.S. Pilot First Lieutenant Felix Moncla along with Second Lieutenant Robert Wilson, radar operator, disappeared when their United States Air Force F-89 Scorpion was scrambled from Kincheloe Air Force Base, and subsequently went missing over Lake Superior, while intercepting an unknown aircraft in Canadian airspace close to the Canada–United States border. The USAF claimed the second aircraft was Royal Canadian Air Force C-47 Dakota VC-912, crossing Northern Lake Superior from west to east at 7,000 feet en route from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Sudbury, Ontario. The RCAF stated it had no record of such an incident. [153][154]
Robert Wilson 22
1955 Stanley Mathenge 36 Africa Mathenge, a Mau Mau leader who disappeared in 1955, was later reported to be allegedly living in Ethiopia but has not been seen since. [155]
1955 Herman Schultheis 55 Guatemala A Walt Disney Studios photographer and technician in the Special Effects Department, Herman Schultheis is best known for his work on Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Bambi disappeared on 20 May 1955. He is believed to have perished in a Guatemalan Jungle. [156][157]
19 July 1955 Weldon Kees 41 Marin County, California, U.S. Kees was an American poet, painter, literary critic, novelist, playwright, jazz pianist, short story writer, and filmmaker who went missing. On 19 July 1955 a car owned by Weldon Kees was discovered on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge. While Kees had talked about jumping over the railing of the bridge, he stated that he was physically unable to accomplish the task. [158]
31 October 1955 Steven Damman 2 East Meadow, New York, U.S. Steven Damman, a two-year-old boy, went missing outside a grocery store along with his seven-month old sister. His sister was found several blocks away unharmed, but Steven's whereabouts remain unknown. [159]
2 March 1957 Maud Crawford 65 Camden, Arkansas, U.S. Crawford was an American attorney who disappeared without a trace on a Saturday night in the winter of 1957. Crawford was a partner in a law firm investigating Mafia influence over labor unions. [160]
7 December 1958 Kenneth Martin 58 Hood River, Oregon, U.S. The Martin family of Portland, Oregon disappeared in the Columbia River Gorge while on a drive. Six months later the bodies of the two youngest daughters were recovered on the Columbia River although the whereabouts of the mother, father and eldest daughter remains unsolved. [161]
Barbara Martin 48
Barbara "Barbie" Martin 15
31 December 1959 Mary Flanagan 16 London, England A London-Irish teenager who disappeared from her West Ham home on New Year's Eve, 1959, and notable for being the UK's longest missing persons' case. [162][163]

1960sEdit

Date Person(s) Age Missing from Circumstances Refs.
1960 Chen Tien Malaysia The head of the Central Propaganda Department of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) Chen Tien disappeared four years after taking part in talks with government officials to try to reach a mutually agreeable solution in the Malayan Emergency. The talks broke down and Tien continued to take part in the insurrection until the Malayan government suppressed the MCP in 1960 and declared the emergency over. [164]
1961 Masanobu Tsuji 59 Laos The Japanese army officer and politician disappeared on a trip to Laos and was never heard from again. [165]
24 October 1961 Joan Risch 31 Lincoln, Massachusetts, U.S. Risch was last seen in her driveway by a neighbor, and several unconfirmed sightings were reported on local roads later that day. Evidence in her house at first suggested foul play, but that opinion was reassessed when a local newspaper found that she had checked out two dozen books about mysterious disappearances and unsolved murders from the library over the preceding summer. [166][167][168]
19 November 1961 Michael Rockefeller 23 Netherlands New Guinea Michael, the son of New York Governor and future Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared during an expedition in the Asmat region of southwestern Netherlands New Guinea. [169][170]
30 May 1962 Archie E. Mitchell 44 Vietnam Mitchell, a minister, and Vietti, a doctor, working with the Christian and Missionary Alliance were taken captive by the Viet Cong on 30 May 1962. What became of them after that is unknown. [171][172]
Eleanor Ardel Vietti 34
1962 Sam Sary 45 Cambodia A Cambodian politician, Sam Sary disappeared in 1962 and may have been put to death. [173]
8 April 1962 Anthony Strollo 62 Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S. A caporegime in the Genovese crime family, Strollo was last seen leaving his residence in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He is believed to have been murdered on the orders of Vito Genovese in retaliation for having conspired to have Genovese imprisoned for drug trafficking. No one was ever charged in his disappearance. [174]
12 August 1964 Charles Clifford Ogle 41 Oakland, California, U.S. Ogle took off from Oakland International Airport in his Cessna 210, a single-engine aircraft, and is believed to have been heading over the Sierra Nevada when he disappeared. [175][176]
29 October 1965 Mehdi Ben Barka 45 Paris, France Moroccan politician Mehdi Ben Barka disappeared while in exile in Paris where he is believed to have been killed and buried. [177][178]
23 June 1965 Charles Rogers 43 Houston, Texas, U.S. The reclusive, unemployed seismologist has remained at large since the "Icebox Murders" of his parents were discovered on 23 June, leading to a warrant for his detention as a material witness. He was declared legally dead in 1975. [179][180]
1966 Kim Bong-han c. 50 North Korea The North Korean medical surgeon disappeared in 1966 and was never heard from again. [181]
26 January 1966 Jane Nartare 9 Adelaide, Australia The Beaumont children, Jane Nartare, Arnna Kathleen, and Grant Ellis disappeared from a beach near Adelaide and have not been seen since. [182][183]
Arnna Kathleen 7
Grant Ellis 4
9 June 1966 Wikana 51 Jakarta, Indonesia Wikana, an Indonesian Communist Party leader, disappeared on 9 June and was never seen again. He was allegedly murdered as part of the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–1966. [184]
2 July 1966 Ann Miller 19 Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana, U.S. Miller, Blough, and Bruhl, three young women from the Chicago suburbs, were last seen after leaving their blanket and personal effects behind on a crowded beach to get on a boat in Lake Michigan. Theories have ranged from an offshore illegal abortion gone wrong, resulting in the other two women being killed as witnesses, to a hit ordered by Silas Jayne, a Chicago-area horse breeder implicated after his 1987 death in a number of unsolved murders related to a bitter feud with his brother. [185][186][187]
Patricia Blough 19
Renee Bruhl 21
September 1966 Chu Anping 56 China Chinese scholar and liberal journalist Chu Anping disappeared in September 1966 and was never seen again. [188]
26 March 1967 Jim Thompson 61 Cameron Highlands, Malaysia Thompson, a former U.S. military intelligence officer who once worked for the Office of Strategic Services (and later known as the "Thai Silk King" for his revival of the Thai silk industry), failed to return from an afternoon walk in the Cameron Highlands in Pahang, Malaysia, quickly prompting a massive manhunt. No trace of him has ever been found. [189][190]
7 June 1967 James P. Brady 59 Saskatchewan, Canada Brady, a Canadian Metis leader, and Cree friend Abraham Halkett disappeared while on a prospecting trip in northern Saskatchewan. An extensive land, air, and water search located their camp but failed to find any trace of either man. [191]
Abraham Halkett 40
10 December 1967 John Lake 37 New York City, New York, U.S. The sports editor of Newsweek , Lake mysteriously disappeared in December 1967. [192][193]
1968 Eugene DeBruin 34 Pathet Lao, Laos DeBruin, a United States Air Force staff sergeant and member of Air America, while serving in Laos during the Second Indochina War was captured when his plane was shot down in 1963. After that he was a POW at a Pathet Lao prison camp in Laos until 1968 when he and other prisoners attempted to escape. Following the escape attempt he disappeared and it is not known if he succeeded or what became of him. [194]
8 April 1969 April Fabb 13 Metton, England Fabb was last seen near her home in Metton, Norfolk, United Kingdom when her abandoned bicycle was found in a field. No trace of her has been found since, although some theories have linked her case to known serial killers. [195][196]
14 June 1969 Dennis Martin 6 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, U.S. Martin vanished in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has not been seen since. [197]
31 October 1969 Patricia Spencer 16 Oscoda, Michigan, U.S. Spencer and Hobley were last seen leaving a Halloween party together. Police have continued to investigate and believe the two were murdered, and in 2013 they announced they had a person of interest in the case but did not have enough information to continue. Foul play is suspected. [198][199]
Pamela Hobley 15

See alsoEdit

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