Police officers and the people who work with them regularly have to work with the underside of the law, by definition. Sometimes the issues that they deal with can be straightforward, even if they are scary or uncomfortable, but sometimes they can also be deeply unsettling by nature of their weirdness. Read on to hear stories from police officers and others who have dealt with bizarre cases of disappearance, and how those cases were solved, if they were.
Sometimes It’s Good To Be Wrong
“We get a call from a husband that his wife and mother in law have been missing for three days. Their two small children are with dad and he claimed he didn’t know what happened.
The husband had massive history of domestic violence with his first wife, and we were pretty concerned for the well-being of his wife and mother in law, especially since they vanished without packing and didn’t take the kids.
I show up at the house, and the husband gives me the creeps. Just a really freaking weird vibe and every single hair on my body is standing up. I feel nothing but dread as I listen to him tell me that he has no idea where they went and couldn’t explain why he waited three days to call police, especially with two small kids at home.
We couldn’t find any trace of evidence and I was really perplexed.
Found out later that the wife and her mom went across the US border to go shopping and they both got arrested for shoplifting and were spending a week in jail while waiting for trial, since they were Canadians and a flight risk.
It was hilariously awkward breaking the truth to him. But a huge relief.”
2 And 2
“I track missing persons’ accounts for a bank in coordination with the police. One day a cop called and said they wanted to track the accounts of a woman who had gone missing at the hands of a dangerous human trafficker. The last transactions I could trace since she disappeared was at one of our branches. I pulled the footage and the trafficker was pulling a bunch of money from her account.
I received an alert the next day from the account stating that a purchase was made. The purchase was from a hardware store. Shortly after, the next purchase was for a carpet cleaner rental.
Needless to say, cops contacted us and says they suspect he killed her but they couldn’t locate a body.
It irked me. Felt like I had witnessed a murder through simple financial transactions.”
Missing In Prison
“I’m a Corrections Sergeant for a small county in rural Alabama. About two years ago, I had just become a supervisor. I was assigned to Delta Shift, which at that point was considered the ‘bad shift.’ I was brand new and given the task of whipping this bunch of turds into shape. I was barely one month in the driver’s seat when one of my most trusted inmates just goes absolutely nuts. It was in mid- February when this occurred, relatively cold and generally awful weather. The inmate involved had been in and out of the facility for most of his life. ‘Papa,’ as he was called, had nearly more clout in the jail than I did. The man was the most trusted inmate we’ve ever had and was even assigned to work along side the maintenance officer with limited supervision. Until the night that he ate nearly two ounces of crystal and proceeded to freak the heck out.
Papa asked to be let out to fix a toilet in booking. The Control officer let him out and then let him roam up to the booking foyer. Here, we entirely lost track of him. The Detention Center spent the next nine hours on lockdown thanks to this. When my officers finally found him, he had gotten into the ceiling access with a stolen key. Papa had watched us from the master monitor in the server room the entire time. Every time someone would look in the server room, he would hide INSIDE the cabinets. If we got too far from finding him, he would scream at the top of his lungs until we turned around. All from the ceiling across the entire jail.
Creepiest experience of my life. Through the Infantry and this job. Nothing beats that one, not even doing CPR on a suicide. That was bone chilling.”
The Last Phone Call
“Brandon Lawson was by far the most shocking case I’ve ever heard of. He ran out of gas on the highway in the middle of the night and called his brother to come help him. Shortly after, he called 911 and reported that someone had chased him into the woods and that he needed police. Eventually his brother and one police officer arrive at the scene and find his truck abandoned but no sign of Brandon. Brandon calls his brother and says he’s bleeding and is 10 minutes away from his truck. That was the last anyone ever heard from him and searches of the area turned up empty.”
Reopening The Cold Case
“My grandad was a part of the police force in the 60’s till the early 80’s. Sometime during the 70’s, he was assigned to a missing persons case that had been ongoing for a while and had actually been reassigned due to the lack of new evidence.
Him and his partner spent months on the case fighting for it to stay open. One day they went and searched the missing person’s home again. It caused a lot of uproar with the family as they hadn’t really moved his things or been into his home since the case had gone quiet. Anyway they got permission almost a month after asking and found a hand written receipt for a car in his bathroom bin. God knows why his bins weren’t searched before unless it was just missed.
They managed to track down the guy who sold him the car, he said that the missing person had mentioned that he was going to store his car in a garage till he had the money to insure it. He even gave them the name of the town he said the garages were in.
They went to the town and got search warrants for every single rentable garage. Even though they had no evidence he had ever rented one. After a couple of days they found the car with the guy inside it.
Apparently… His body was almost mummified because of the lack of sun, air and moisture. I can’t imagine what the smell was like.
But they think he accidentally killed himself while trying to do some work on the car. He would have had the garage door closed because his car wasn’t insured, so he didn’t want anyone to see the car and steal it. It was stored in a rough neighborhood where the garages were cheap to rent. He also paid cash in hand so he never had any receipts.
So yeah he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s painless and basically you just fall asleep and then you die. He wouldn’t have realized until it was too late. The guy was missing for five months and he seemed to just disappear for no known reason.
My grandad told me this when I was a kid and it really scared me that people can so easily just go missing or die and nobody knows where they are. Still kinda freaks me out.”
The Empty House
“My grandfather was a policeman and a fireman at different points in his life. His ‘spooky disappearance’ story actually came from his time as a fireman. He hasn’t told me the story in a long while so I’m a little fuzzy in the details, but I know that his team got called to a house fire in a small village (rural England). It was late at night, the fire was reported by a local who was walking home. Several other bystanders had arrived by the time the fire engine got there, and there were multiple reports of screams for help from inside the building. They started to douse the fire and three of the responders (including my grandad) entered the building via the back door to attempt to rescue the people trapped inside.
The thing is, they didn’t find a soul. Nobody was there. They cleared the whole place out, stopped the fire, effectively made the building safe. Later on, it was confirmed that the fire started in the kitchen, likely the hob, where food was midway through being prepared. As far as anyone knew, the couple who lived there had been at home. Relatives had no idea where they might have gone that night.
My grandad and his colleagues had a funny feeling, so they got local police properly involved. Crime scene investigation uncovered blood on the floor in one room, but any other evidence was destroyed in the fire. They can’t confirm who the blood belongs to – it apparently didn’t match the blood types of the two vanished residents.
The fire department were very suspicious at this point and apparently the police wanted to drop the investigation in favor of a manhunt for the missing people, but they ended up expanding the investigation radius and finding that apparently an unidentified van that was parked outside the house had left just before the fire was reported. The investigation goes dead, but over a year later they find the burned remains of the man who lived there in a grave in the woods several towns away. They never found the woman so it was suspected that she killed him and burned down the house to conceal it. They never figured out were the screams from inside the building were coming from, though.”
The Last Party
“Hogsback Lake, around 20 kilometers away from Vanderhoof, BC, is a cozy camping area with a dock on the lake. It was a popular area for young people to have parties due to the camping areas and isolation. It is far enough away that the noise of a party wouldn’t bother anyone living nearby who might call in a noise complaint and get the party shut down.
The weather on May 27, 2011, was crisp, near 10 degrees Celsius, when young Madison Scott went to a campsite party at Hogback Lake. Madison went with her friend Jordie with the intention of attending the party then camping overnight to avoid driving under the influence as there were drinks at this get-together.
The party at Hogsback Lake was around 50 people and, according to reports, near the end of the night some people showed up that were not known to most people and the mood of the night soured. Around this time, most people decided to leave rather than stay the night at the campground.
Maddy’s friend Jordie decided to leave around 2:30 but could not convince her to come with her because she was already set up at her campsite. Maddy tried to get Jordie to stay with her but Jordie was hammered and had fallen into a campfire and just wanted to go home. Maddy decided to spend the night at her camp by herself.
The last time anyone reported seeing Madison was 2:45 to 3:00 in the morning when Jordie left the party.
The next day some people came to the campsite to clean up and noticed that Madison’s tent was still there but did not check to see if she was inside. It is noted that Madison’s truck was still parked in the same spot as it was the night before. Aside from Madison’s tent, no one else was at the campsite. Madison was a bright, intelligent and independent young lady 20 years of age. There wasn’t any evidence at this time to make anyone think something could have been wrong.
One major issue that probably caused a problem finding any clues was that the next night there was another party, one significantly larger with around 150 people attending. No one reported seeing Maddy at the larger party. If we assume that whatever happened to Maddy happened the night before, any evidence that could have been found was probably inadvertently destroyed by the partygoers at this larger party.
Maddy’s parents were concerned that she had not come home or contacted them on the 28th, but she was an adult. If she decided to stay another night then it was her choice. Cell service in the area was spotty at best so she might not have been able to call and let them know that she was staying an extra night.
But by the 29th Madison’s parents had a bad feeling and after being unable to contact her on her cell phone they decided to go to Hogsback Lake and look for her. Once at Hogsback Lake, they found Maddy’s truck at her campsite with her purse still inside, but her tent had been flattened out, and some of her belongings were inside but had been pushed to the sides of the tent. After they found that Maddy was not at the campsite, they contacted the police and reported her missing. She has yet to be found.”
“I did my undergrad at a college in Vermont. In the winter we would quite literally be snowed under. Over Christmas break, a sophomore went missing. He wasn’t a close friend, but we had couple of classes together. It was a small liberal arts college in a small town, so everyone in the community was pretty freaked out. His phone and wallet were left in his room, so the theory was that he’d been abducted, and maybe even killed. Campus got real scary for a few months. There was police everywhere, helicopters overhead, students marching through the snow in lines looking for a body. Finally when the snow and ice thawed they found his body in the creek. Police surmise he entered the water from the bridge in town, but no one knows if he jumped or was pushed.
This one still haunts me.”
When The Disappearance Is Justified
“I was a firefighter in the military. At this point in my career, I was the Director of Emergency Communications for the base. My main responsibilities included: managing fire/police/ems dispatchers, maintaining and monitoring base alarm systems, and reviewing reports and cross checking the respective reports with the 9-1-1 calls and radio traffic to ensure that everything was accurate. This last duty was the most time consuming. It was impossible to screen every call so non-high priority calls were audited on a random basis, while high priority calls were scrutinized in great detail. I spent MANY hours slowing down, speeding up, and trying to make heads or tails of high profile emergencies.
Typically, these 9-1-1 calls are chaotic, often times callers are experiencing the worst, most tragic or stressful time in their life. My point being it’s often hard to understand the caller, let alone decipher what exactly they need.
The night in question was a Saturday and it was fairly late. Around 1 am, I heard a call toned out over the radio for a reported suicide. The patient was pronounced dead on arrival.
Suicides were one major incident that I was notified about by my dispatchers, but I was not always ordered to respond right then and there. Suicides were usually pretty cut and dry. I would need to make sure the report was shored up on Monday morning but I had my best night dispatcher on duty and I knew he wouldn’t let me down.
I got up, used the bathroom, and waiting for the phone to ring. When it didn’t after about an hour, I grew worried and radioed in to remind my dispatcher to call me when he wasn’t too slammed. The phone rang seconds later. My dispatcher said, ‘The Deputy Fire Chief is here, he said we could all debrief on Monday,’ and that one of the other dispatchers was called in to cover the remainder of his shift. He was upset by the whole situation and needed the rest of the night off. Not uncommon, especially when someone paints the walls while you’re on the phone with them. I told him to get some rest and we’d talk on Monday.
Something didn’t feel right. I texted him and told him to call me as soon as he was in his car, he did. I first made sure he was okay, he said that he was not but not to worry about him. I told him I’d been there before and if he needed to talk he could.
He said, ‘No, I don’t think you have, this whole thing is messed up and I…you need to come and listen to the tapes.’
At this point, I’m worried. This is my most seasoned, best dispatcher and he’s this shaken up? I got in my car and got to the dispatch center as fast as I could.
Then I pulled the scariest 9-1-1 recording I’ve ever had the displeasure of listening to:
Dispatch: ‘9-1-1, what is the address of your emergency?’
Caller: ‘My wife’s dead can you come get her out of the house?’
Dispatch: ‘Sir, did you say your wife is dead?’
Caller: ‘Yes, she’s behind the bedroom door. I can’t get it all the way open but she’s dead.’
Dispatch: ‘Where exactly in the home is your wife?’
Caller: ‘The bedroom.’
Dispatch: ‘Can you get into the bedroom from a window or door?’
Dispatch: ‘You said she’s behind the door, can you open the door?’
Caller: ‘No, her body is blocking it.’
Dispatch: ‘Can you tell me what exactly happened?’
Caller: ‘She’s been depressed and took all of her sleeping pills.’
Caller: ‘They’re here, thanks for all your help.’
The thing that chilled me about this call was that the husband’s voice was apathetic and relaxed. He didn’t seem to care that his wife was dead, he was really calling to have the body removed, it would seem. As if his wife’s limp, lifeless body was somehow posing him an inconvenience. He had no interest in trying to help save his wife at all. It had my dispatcher messed up, and it had me messed up.
Reading the police report was much more informative and painted a better picture of what happened on scene. I was also tasked with interviewing everyone that was on scene to put into my comprehensive report. This is a summary of what I recall from the report and my interviews. The summery of events was consistent among all those that responded.
Responders arrived on scene to find the husband in the same lackadaisical state he appeared to be in on the phone. Multiple responders were disturbed by this. Important things noted upon observation of the scene included a full bath tub with a razor blade on the side of the tub and a glass of vino that appeared to have fallen into the bath water. It’s also important to note that this was the spare bathroom and not the master bathroom. The body was found behind the door of the master bedroom. The police report stated that the husband had been out all day on a hiking trip and he came home and found his wife dead. He stated that his wife was depressed and had taken all of her sleeping pills. Something he could not have known because the empty pill bottle was recovered from the nightstand. It was Ambien and the prescription had been filled by the husband for his wife the previous day. It was appearing to be a murder committed by the husband who had admittedly had marital issues with his wife. These issues were also known to his coworkers and friends.
About 2 weeks later, I was told by one of the investigators that they had been taken off the case and it was going to be handled at a higher level.
That was the last time I, or anyone I know saw or heard from the husband again. He Facebook page was taken down, his kids when to live with his late wife’s parents and he disappeared without a trace. Everyone working the case was told that he was placed on a leave of hardship. There was never a court martial, further action, or further information provided to anyone involved in the initial investigation.
I will always wonder if the military made the husband disappear and paid off the rest of his wife’s family to make it go away. I will never know the answer to this mystery, I can only speculate, but man just thinking about that 9-1-1 call makes me hope that if he did indeed murder her, that military has him in a dark hole for the rest of his life.”
That’s One Way To Do It
“There was a case around here a few years back where a woman’s body was found in a chest freezer in a storage unit, 30 years after she disappeared.
She was a 50 something woman who never came home from her 3rd date with a guy. Foul play was immediately suspected- this was a woman who’d never missed a day of work and spoke with her adult daughter every day. In fact, she’d promised to call her daughter when she got home from her date.
Obviously, the guy was a prime suspect. He told the cops that he got angry with the woman when she wouldn’t do it with him after he’d bought her 3 dinners. He claimed he’d kicked her out of the car in front of a seedy motel, in the worst part of a very sketchy town… and I’ll add that this happened during the height of the 80s crack epidemic, before cell phones, when security cameras were a rarity.
The crazy part is that the guy successfully diverted suspicion with raging misogyny. He made it very clear that he hated all women and that this woman deserved to die… because she wasn’t gonna provide him with the one thing women were good for. His hatred was so sincere that it made his claim of innocence seem equally sincere. Like, ‘Yes, I treat all woman like garbage because they all deserve it. They all deserve to die. But I’m not about to kill any of them because none of them are worth spending life in prison.’ Cops interviewed him repeatedly and searched his home. The guy kept screaming about what he was going to do to the woman when they found her- because she was ruining his life. Eventually the case went cold.
The guy lived into his 80s. After he died (peacefully, in his sleep) his kids got a letter from a storage facility, letting them know that the rent was overdue. The guy had always paid cash in person and had only left them a PO box address, attached to a slightly different version of his name. The kids went to clean out the unit and found her body.
This guy got away with murder simply by displaying what a horrible person he was.”
“I responded to a missing person report. The husband was the caller reporting his wife was missing. Wife had debilitating condition and was bedridden for several months. Husband said he went to dinner across town and discovered his wife was gone upon returning home. No sign of her in the house or in the area. No kids were living at home. Search and rescue came out and spent all night searching the area with no luck. Scent dogs didn’t even find anything. The whole time, I’m imagining we’re going to be discussing this case sometime in the future on Forensic Files. It was an eerie feeling to be sitting with a man and talking to him while thinking he may have just killed his wife but having to treat him like he was a concerned husband.
Fast forward to the next day and a neighbor found her about a block and a half away tucked down behind their bushes in their yard. No foul play, turns out something just happened and she’d wandered away, but lost energy and collapsed in that yard. Sadly, she reported seeing the glow sticks on the scent dog collars walking nearby on the road, but nobody or none of the dogs came close enough in the yard to find her until that neighbor came out that next morning.”
Grandpa’s Seen Things
“My grandad was a policeman. He’s in his 80s now and was in the Met Police (UK) for years. He’s freaking brilliant, so many interesting/sad/crazy stories.
So in the 1970s, he was given a case of a young girl (I think she was only 16 or 17) who’d gone missing and was part of the lead investigatory team in it – they interviewed thousands of people in the local area (a small town in Essex, UK). Turns out the girl had been basically beaten to death in an alleyway just outside her house, the killer had pushed her body through a hole in one of the fences that lined the alleyway into a garden of one of the houses. So they’d searched for her for a really long time to find out all the while her body was lying in a rose bush in one of the neighbor’s gardens…super creepy if you ask me. Also turned out that when they caught the guy, he was responsible for another killing of a young girl, also in Essex….
Also, in typical Grandparent fashion, he only told me this story because I had been out drinking in a local pub and it all started with, ‘I know that pub, the Police held a huge celebration there one evening where I got punched in the head and lost all of my teeth! What was it for? Oh, they had caught a killer…etc’ and coincidentally, my parents and I moved into the same row of houses that back the alleyway where the girl died, 35 years later. He didn’t think to mention this story for 15 years. Love him.”