Thousands of people are reported missing every week in the United States, and although some are found many are never seen again.
While many missing persons cases are well known, there are others that aren’t as well publicized — many of which are downright bizarre.
Let’s look at 10 of the weirdest missing person’s cases in the history of the United States.
10 Sodder children: Jennie, 8, Betty, 5, Maurice, 14, Martha, 12, and Louis, 9
Date Missing: 12/24/45 from Charleston, WV
On the night before Christmas, the five Sodder children were given permission to stay up late, while their parents and five additional siblings went to bed. Just after midnight, the mum was awakened by the phone, but believed it was a prank call. An hour later, she was woken up again by a sound on the roof.
Minutes later, she realizes the house is on fire. The mum, dad, and five children make it out and begin looking for the ladder that is kept near the house to save the others, but it is nowhere to be found. It’s found days later, not far from the home.
The other children are believed to have perished in the fire, but there is no sign of them. The parents believe they were kidnapped and four years later they have the grounds excavated looking for any clues. The only thing that turns up are six small bones that have no fire damage and are believed to be that of a young adult.
In 1968, the parents receive a photo of a young man in the mail. On the back were several words, including “Louis Sodder”. The man was never identified and the parents died believing he was their missing son. To this day, no one has a clue what happened to the Sodder children.
9 Alyssa McLemore, 21
Date Missing: 4/9/2009 from Kent, WA
Alyssa was last seen talking to a person in a green 1990s model pickup truck in downtown Kent. She was on her way home to see her mom, who was dying of scleroderma. Her grandmother spoke to her at 6:30 p.m. to make her aware her mom’s condition was worsening. She stated she was on her way home.
At 9:15pm, 911 received a call from her cellphone. The dispatcher could hear a woman asking for help, but the phone did not have a GPS sensor and there was no way to locate it. Her mom died three days later, but Alyssa has not been seen or heard from again. At the time of her disappearance, she was a known as a devoted parent to her three-year-old daughter.
8 Garnell Moore, 7
Date Missing August 2002 from Baltimore, MD
Garnell’s parents were not involved in his life and was living with his aunt, Belinda Cash, when he went missing. He had moved in with Belinda several months earlier after being passed around his paternal relatives. Another aunt, Trina, last saw him in the beginning of August.
Later in the month, she tried to see him again, but Belinda kept putting her off and said they were moving out of town. He has never been seen again, but he was not reported missing until June 2005, when relatives tracked Belinda down and realized she didn’t have him.
When questioned by the police, Belinda stated she left him at social services because she no longer wanted to take care of him, but gave a made-up address for the social services building she left him at. She maintains her story. To this day, Garnell has never been seen again.
7 Lauria Bible, 16, and Ashley Freeman, 16
Date Missing December 30, 1999 from Welch, OK
After hanging out with friends, Lauria spent the night with Ashley to celebrate her birthday. At 6am, a motorist reported a fire at the home. The only body found was that of Ashley’s mom. It was believed that Ashley’s father, Danny, had killed her and kidnapped the girls.
However, the next morning, Lauria’s parents were searching the rubble and found Danny’s body. Coroners found that both parents had been shot and the fire was intentionally set.
So, what happened to Laurie and Ashley? There are plenty of theories, including that the parents were killed and the girls kidnapped because of Danny’s alleged drug dealing. Another theory is that the girls did it and ran away, but neither fit the profile.
Finally, some people think law enforcement was involved because Ashley’s brother was killed in a police stand-off six months earlier. The only thing everyone knows for sure is that neither girl has ever been seen again.
In December 2017, police announced new leads in the search for the two girls, after the received previously unknown documents which reference the case.
6 Asha Degree, 9
Date Missing: February 14, 2000 from Shelby, NC
Asha’s dad saw her at 2:30am, and her brother who she shared a room with said he heard noise coming from her bed. At 6.30am her mother discovered her, and a few of her things, missing. Though quiet, happy, and shy, the police believe she left on her own after two truck drivers stated they saw her walking down the highway between 3:30 a.m. and 4:15 a.m., but then she turned off the highway and walked into the darkness.
Three days later, her pencil and hair bow were found in the doorway of a tool shed not to far from where she was seen. Some 18 months later, her book bag was found double-wrapped in trash bags 26 miles from her home, but in a different direction from the one she’d been walking.
Nearby a few animal bones and a pair of men’s khaki pants were found. The case became a criminal matter. However, she, nor any further evidence, has ever been found.
5 Brianna Maitland, 17
Date Missing March 19, 2004 from Montgomery, VT
Brianna left work just after midnight, apparently on her way home. The next day her car was found partially inside an abandoned barn. Two of her paychecks, contact lenses, medicine, and other things were in the car and some things were found on the ground around it.
The car had some damage from backing up into the building. Brianna was staying with friends and family, so no one realized she was missing for four days, and the police didn’t contact her mom (the car’s registered owner) about the car.
She had mentioned to friends that she might go on a short trip, but police believe there was an act of foul play related to drug use. However, her parents say she was not seriously involved with drugs and this was not why she disappeared. (Keep in mind, she worked two jobs and was planning to attend college part-time.) Where is Briana? Ten years later, and nobody is any the wiser.
4 Jason Jolkowski, 19
Date Missing: June 13, 2001 from Omaha, Nebraska
After getting called into work early, Jason was going to meet a co-worker at a nearby school for a ride to work. He left home at 10:45am. At 11:30am, his co-worker called his house to find out where he was. He has never been seen or heard from again.
He left everything behind, with the possible exception of $60 and cellphone. He was often mistaken for being mentally disabled because of mild learning disabilities. But he had no known enemies, was shy, was not involved with illegal activities, and was really close to his family. No one has a clue what happened to him.
3 Margaret Kilcoyne, 50
Date Missing: January 26, 1980 from Nantucket, MA
Margaret was a cardiologist at Columbia University and had just made a medical discovery. After spending $650 on groceries (everything was purchased in multiples of three) and $250 on liquor, she headed to her vacation home.
The next morning her brother came to wake her for church, as she had requested he do, but she was gone. Her boots were on the floor, her jacket in the closet (it was well below zero that night), and her car was in the garage. Bizarrely, a few days later her passport, summer sandals, wallet with $100, and checkbook were found stacked neatly in an area that had already been searched.
Her brother stated she had been stressed and the primary theory is that she committed suicide by walking into the ocean. She has never been seen again.
2 Theresa Bier, 16
Date Missing: June 1, 1987 from Fresno, CA
Theresa was on a camping trip with Russell Welch, who was 43 at the time, in the apparent hope of locating Bigfoot. Welch returned without her. He stated she ran away while on the trip. Later, he stated that she had been kidnapped by Bigfoot.
Welch was charged with child stealing, but the charges were dropped. The prosecution reportedly was worried they would find her body and was afraid of double jeopardy if they charged him with murder later. No clues were ever found and Theresa has never been seen again.
1 Zebb Quinn, 20
Date Missing: January 2, 2000 from Asheville, NC
This is the most bizarre disappearance on this list. After leaving work, Zebb met a friend, Robert Owens, to go and look at a new car he wanted to buy. He briefly left to answer a page he received, but when he returned he reportedly accidentally rear-ended Owens’ truck. After apologising, he told Owens he could no longer look at the car that night and drove off again.
Owens was treated for injuries from what he said was an second unrelated road accident in the early hours of January 3. On January 4, Owens called Zebb’s job and said his friend was sick and wouldn’t be turning up for work. He gave a statement to police, but later refused to cooperate any further.
Then comes the weird bit. Two weeks later, Zebb’s car was found in the parking lot of a downtown restaurant. Inside there was a hotel key, a jacket that wasn’t Zebb’s, and a puppy that also wasn’t his. On the rear window, a pair of lips and two exclamation marks had been drawn in lipstick. So, where is Zebb? Why was there a puppy in the car? The police lean towards foul play, but no one knows for certain.
UPDATE: In July 2017, Owens was indicted on charges of murdering Zebb. His case was still ongoing at the time of writing.
Do you know of any more bizarre missing persons cases? Can you help piece together any of the clues in the cases above? Let us know in the comments section below or contact the relevant police department.
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