March 10, 2020 | Daniel Swift

People Share What It's Like To Be The Last Witness To A Person's Disappearance


Missing persons cases are always stressful to investigate. Sometimes, it just seems like the victims vanish in thin air, with no leads or evidence available for investigators to go on. The best-case scenarios always involve some sort of witness who can describe the incident and give some information that could serve as useful clues. Here are the stories of real witnesses to random disappearances:

people-shadow-dark-nightPiqsels

#1 The Last Interaction

One day, when I was walking home from a friend’s place, I was just looking at my feet when I heard someone skateboarding towards me. When I looked up, I noticed it was one of my skating buddies, so I smiled and was about to call out to him, but he put his finger over his lips. He just held it there as he stared at me, and he just rolled by but didn’t break eye contact with me. I became visibly confused. He smiled and finally looked in front of him. I stood there for what felt like forever not knowing what to do as questions raced through my head. I just decided to confront him in the morning at school, only never showed up. That was the end of his life. The memory is still burned into my mind, I always wonder what if, you know?

legs-man-person-skateboard-skateboarding-sport-1366246-pxhere.comPxHere

#2 Missing Dad

I am positive that my little brother and I were the last ones to see my father alive. We were waiting for the school bus and saw him driving back home with a strange look on his face. We waved to him, but he didn’t wave back. After that, he went missing. It is a scene in my head that gets replayed in my head often and it hurts me to imagine whatever might have been going through his head. I miss him so much.

beach-boy-bubbles-kid-wallpaper-previewPeakpx

#3 Lost And Found

I was the last person to see a patient of mine before his brother locked him in his basement for a few weeks. The patient was eventually found. I felt really privileged to have helped. By chance, he gave me his brother’s address as a forwarding address and the police went looking for him there. When found, my guy was dehydrated and had a broken jaw, but ultimately did well. His brother is currently in a secure psychiatric ward.

6104068209_d134b246f5_cFlickr

#4 In The Closet

A friend in college had left a party we were at because he had remembered he left his jacket in another person's dorm. Nobody heard from him the following day; most figured he was tipsy and just passed out somewhere. I even left a voicemail on his phone like: "Where are you? I hope you aren't dead!" Days then turned into weeks... There were campus-wide manhunts with hundred of volunteers... He finally turned up in an electrical closet six weeks later. Accidental electrocution.

people-wearing-backpacks-1454360Pexels

Advertisement

#5 The End

I worked in a very small public library, years ago. There was a young man, maybe eight to 10 years older than me that came in every few days for several months. He was very intelligent and extremely interesting. We talked often. One day he came in, we talked for a while and he asked me to make sure he had returned everything he had checked out. I did, and before he left he thanked me for always helping him and being nice, etc. He walked up the street to his apartment and that was it. The last time. I always wished that I had realized he was saying goodbye.

ancient-antique-architectural-design-architecture-442420Pexels

#6 Taking The Blame

Roughly 40 years ago on a Sunday, everyone was going out to church. Grandpa's brother said he wasn't feeling well, so he didn't go. Grandpa was the last person he saw, and before he left for the church, his brother told him he loved him, something he'd never told anyone. They found him lifeless in the basement after they came back and grandpa always seemed to blame himself.

brown-wooden-church-bench-near-white-painted-wall-133699Pexels

#7 Hiding The Signs

I was the last person to see a patient admitted with major depression after his divorce. He just found out he didn't receive custody of his kids. The senior doctor decided he was low risk because he had no significant mental health history, nor did he disclose any specific plans to hurt himself. He appeared very well and optimistic. When asked about his occupation during the interview, he vaguely mentioned he worked for the law. So he had unescorted day leave to pick up some toiletries, I held the door on his way out. I never saw him again. Two weeks later a stranger found his car on the side of the road, unresponsive.

man-in-blue-and-brown-plaid-dress-shirt-touching-his-hair-897817Pexels

#8 A Chilling Case

I saw him at a club with some friends on a night out. One of my friends was hooking up with him on and off so they had usual university drama going on. He left after that to go back home or something. The next morning, he was found lifeless. The last ever video was him getting off a bus and then there was no other CCTV footage of him after he walked a bit further down the road. They investigated our university for months and months but no leads were ever found. His case was never solved. It’s really unsettling to this day.

people-dancing-inside-building-801863Pexels

#9 A Frustrating Fact

One of the worst things in criminal cases is that the police just... doesn't help. They don't listen to the victim, they don't look into situations that are obviously strange and alarming, they don't follow up, etc. Like, that's their job but because someone didn't want to do work it ends in someone being kidnapped or worse. It's really disturbing if you look at how many people you personally work with that don't do a good job and then think that a similar proportion of police will likely be the same.

man-wearing-black-officer-uniform-1464230Pexels

WEEKLY UPDATE

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you!
Error, please try again.

#10 A Haunting Regret

In high school, I ran into a friend while out gallivanting as a teenager overnight in a park. He was offering up some of his personal possessions saying he was cleaning out his room. I was ignorant and did not realize he was reaching out for help. That realization after the fact hit me hard. He went missing shortly after and he was found a few weeks later. I still wonder what I could have done. I think about that night often.

people-coffee-meeting-team-7096Pexels

Advertisement

#11 Blown Off

My friend was downtown and having a rough time on New Year's Eve, I didn't have the money to drive over to see him and I basically said, "If you can catch a ride, we'd love to see you." He went back out, partied too hard, and lost his life. I wasn't the first person to blow him off that night and I probably wasn't the last, but I miss him to this day and I wish I'd just called him. I don't know if it would have made a difference, I just wish I had.

people-toasting-wine-glasses-3171837Pexels

#12 No Idea

This person didn't go missing, but I was the last person to see him alive. My best friend and I were on my porch in college. It was about 3:30 a.m. and I told him I was going to bed because I had to work the next day. He begged me to have another drink with him, but I insisted that I needed to get to sleep. The next morning, I woke up to my roommate screaming for me to come downstairs.

I ran down and my friend was unresponsive. We did CPR even though we knew he was gone already. It was the most traumatic thing I've witnessed and it had really affected my life. I pieced together things from the night. Just thinking that he begged to spend just a little more time with me, but I refused really hurts.

woman-sitting-on-the-wooden-stair-952062Pexels

#13 No Remorse

Lori Hacking and her husband Mark Douglas Hacking came into my cell phone store two days before she found out about how he had lied to her about pretty much EVERYTHING in his life. He ended her and their unborn child. They were both awesome people. She was happy and bubbly and he was a really "nice" guy. I came in from the weekend and there was a missing poster on our store door for Lori, it was really weird seeing that she was missing after just having sold them cell phones and a plan.

I reached out to the number and told them that she and Mark had been into the store two days before she went missing. I had to meet with the local police and an FBI agent. They had to look at the paperwork we had done, the video for the store, and interview all of the employees. The WEIRDEST thing is that Mark came INTO the store after ending her and asked me a question about their cell phone plan...

iphone-technology-iphone-6-plus-apple-17663Pexels

#14 A Happy Twist

I was one of the last people to see a kid who lived across the street before she was kidnapped. Our neighbors across the street were raising their grandchild because their child was unstable. The kid was about six to eight years younger than me and I used to babysit her sometimes. She would come over and play with me and my siblings. When I was around 14 and she was around 8, several men broke into the house and kidnapped her.

I had babysat her the night before and I can't remember if she was home alone or if one of the grandparents was there. The police found her about 10 to 12 days later. Her mother owed a lot of money to a gang and so some of the thugs tracked down her kid and kidnapped her to try to get the mother to pay them. I never learned the details of what happened while she was kidnapped. She has gotten therapy and is now married with kids.

dog-on-concrete-road-688835Pexels

#15 A Great Loss

A very close family friend was dealing with the loss of his oldest son. It was hard on all of us, as they both worked with us on our farm. I had known the son and the father since I was three years old. He came over for dinner on a Sunday night. He was supposed to come back over Monday morning, to help out with farm work. It would be his first day back working since the loss of his son.

Four days went by and he never showed up. We figured it was because he was dealing with his personal drama, and we didn't read much into it. We did reach out several times and even went by his house on the second day since we'd seen him.

That Friday, we were informed by his ex-wife (who was contacted by authorities) that he was found lifeless in his truck several miles outside of town in the middle of a field. He had left our home Sunday night and ended his life just an hour or so later. I sometimes feel like our family did not do enough to console him, and that maybe we didn't realize just how much he was struggling in life, it weighs on me occasionally. Especially around the time where both of the tragedies occurred. It was a great loss to me and I have never properly dealt with the emotions.

monochrome-photography-of-person-on-dark-room-1299417Pexels

#16 The Vanishing Idiot

Yes, he was found. Back in high school, a guy I knew disappeared and the cops interviewed my friends and I. Apparently, a note was found on his bed that read, "Give us $1000 or you'll never see your son again" and that's all it said; no contacts or drop-off location or anything. They found the guy three days later walking around the mall. He had been hiding behind an Albertson dumpster the entire time and he got bored, so he decided to walk around a nearby mall. Idiot.

police-fun-funny-uniform-33598Pexels

Advertisement

#17 Quiet Plans

There was the daughter of my mom's friend. She has a mental disorder. I don’t know much about her other than that; she’s 20+ but because of her disorder, she’s like a kid. So she was missing the day after she and her mom visited us. After three days of search messages and police looking for her news, came. She was in Turkey and got married. We live in the Netherlands so yeah... Quite impressive to pull that one-off. Turkish and Dutch police are investigating if she was tricked or did this willingly cause there’s a lot of unclear things.

person-standing-on-grass-field-while-opening-hands-1583582Pexels

#18 Gone On A Hike

My childhood best friend is currently missing since August 30th. I live in a different state now, but my last text to him was about classic WoW and playing it together. I still don’t know how it’s affecting me, but I miss him so much. He went missing on a hike, so my only message to people is please try not to hike solo. If you are please let multiple people know of your plans.

adult-adventure-beautiful-climb-287240Pexels

#19 Off The Grid

I have a friend whose dad found out his wife was having an affair. He emptied his personal bank account, took his dog and backpacking equipment. He told his friends he was going to finish the portion of the Pacific Crest Trail we never finished, by himself. But he booked a flight to Alaska. I think he is probably still out there living in a cabin off on his own. That or something worse happened.

glacier-snow-landscape-mountains-35637Pexels

#20 Crime In Columbia

I was in Colombia as a service missionary. I just got to a new area and pulled up the phone directory. There were some records about this guy they were visiting, so I stopped by to introduce myself. He came to the door but I was busy, so we set a time for me to come by the next day. About an hour before our scheduled time the next day, I called him to confirm and he said we were good to go. I came by an hour later and knocked on the door. His girlfriend answered and told us she hadn't heard from him in over an hour and was expecting him to be home. He wasn't answering his phone, etc. Days went by and nobody had heard anything, so she started putting up missing posters around the neighborhood with a sizeable reward. Nothing.

About three months later, I moved to a new city. Not even a week later, I got a call from the people that replaced me saying they found the guy, but not alive. I almost threw up and just kind of sat there for the next hour. The latest theory was that he was taken by the FARC, where they either might have tried to get a ransom or make him work for them, then ended up killing him when they were done or realized they'd get nothing out of it. He was an architect—I don't particularly think he was super well known, but his family was at least more well off than most in this town.

So I might have been the last person to talk to him, I never confirmed that, but it still gives me chills when I think about how he was found.

#21 An Unexpected Loss

Back in junior year of high school, I knew a guy who was in his senior year. We worked together at a school job we did. While working together, he told me about how he was going to go hang out with his friends afterward. I didn't think much of it. The next day, it was reported that he was ended in a drive-by shooting. This was two weeks before he graduated high school. I was the last person who had talked to him before he got into his car to drive off to wherever he went.

Everyone became devastated. During the graduation ceremony, his name was announced and everyone was asked for a moment of silence as his father walked down the aisle in his position. Truly saddening. It's been two years almost now and his Instagram and other social media are still up, I occasionally pull it up from time to time to look at it. Miss you bud.

#22 A Modern Tragedy

When I was 13, I went to visit my aunt on a whim. She lived down the hill and we were extremely close. I was late for dinner and I knew my mom would be mad, but when I walked past my aunt's, something was screaming at me to go inside. My aunt kept saying she was so happy to see me and she was dressed up like she was going on a date or something... which I found strange because she was only hanging around at home.

We chatted for a bit and she was saying some very odd things. She told me to take whatever I wanted from her house and her pantry and fridge were completely emptied out. The whole thing made my hair stand up but I was just a kid and I didn’t understand what was going on. When I eventually left to go home, she teared up, gave me a big hug, said she loved me and was so glad I came by. The next day, no one in the family could reach her. The curtains were all pulled at her house and the phone line was cut. We lost her that night. Everyone in the family wondered why she didn’t leave a note. After three years of repressing that memory, it resurfaced and I realized that I was the note. It messed me up for a long time.

woman-listening-to-therapist-3958415Pexels

Advertisement

#23 The Dark Side

It’s a little different here. I worked in a nursing home and right after I put a resident down for bed, I went to lunch. 20 minutes into lunch, a coworker came and told me she had died. So I was the last person to see her alive. It was sad, sure, but the downside to working in a nursing home is that you kind of get used to death. Healthy people don’t go to nursing homes.

action-adult-affection-eldery-339620Pexels

#24 A Fateful Flight

Way back in the early ’90s, I was traveling and at the time, I was working in a youth hostel in Greece, on Santorini. I had talked about traveling together with a friend from home, but we ended up doing our own trips. Well, six months into the trip I met up with him in Santorini. We hung out for like a week, then he went on his way eastward, while I went west. Two days later, his flight crashed in the Himalayas near Nepal, and all 200+ people on board died. I wasn’t the last person to see him, but was the last person from our home who did. After it happened, I wrote a long letter to his parents and family telling them about our week together on Santorini and sent some pictures of us. These would be the last pictures his family had of him. The parents were too hurt to acknowledge my letter, I understand, but his sister wrote me and thanked me. That was 28 years ago.

#25 The Suspicious Husband

My aunt is missing in the Florida Keys. I don't know who else to turn to. It's a case of zero body, zero crime. She went scuba diving with her husband. He resurfaced and she did not. We have a lot of questions... such as why her husband refused to turn over the boat GPS. Unfortunately, they are closing the case. They left shore together and he returned alone. That is the only thing he can claim without evidence otherwise.

three-people-diving-on-body-of-water-1540108Pexels

#26 Across The Universe

One of my best friends found out his wife was cheating on him. He went ballistic and took off to parts unknown. Both the police and I went looking for him for several hours but we couldn't find him. Eventually, he texted me saying he loved me and where we could find him. I was the last person he ever spoke to in life. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of his death and while admittedly I don't think about him every single day, I do think about him and that horrible day a few times each month.

What's worse is I live in a rural area where lots of people have the same build and wear much of the same clothing he did, so I will occasionally see close doppelgangers of him walking around and it never fails to flood me with emotion. My friend also ruined "Across the Universe" by the Beatles. He and I were big fans of the group and that was his favorite song of theirs, so it got played a lot at his viewing. Now, I can't listen to it. The last time I happened to be watching a movie that featured the song, I started crying without even realizing I'd started.

The_Beatles_and_Lill-Babs_1963Wikimedia.Commons

#27 Escaping Justice

I had a friend in college. We got into an argument one night. I said some things about how she had been acting, culminating in that night. I was done. A few months later, I decided to reach out. She had moved out of her apartment and disconnected her phone (back then, we just had landlines.) I heard from a mutual friend that she had moved back in with her dad.

I called her and apologized. I asked her to have a drink with me to catch up. She told me she had stopped drinking, so we met for coffee instead. The argument had really affected her. She decided to do better. She quit drinking, moved home and re-enrolled. I told her I was proud of her and asked if everything was cool at home (her dad had a history of abuse). She told me it was good and we promised to keep in touch.

I woke up to the police knocking on my apartment door. They found her unresponsive a few blocks from her dad's house. I was the second to last person to see her alive. They questioned me. Her car was in her father's driveway.  The police were unable to arrest him right away and he died in the parking lot of a local bar a week later. They said he had a heart attack. He escaped justice and her murder is technically unsolved.

#28 In God's Hands

This was in high school. We were at my house after prom (so it was around 3 in the morning), and one of my teammates from my basketball team stopped by with her date, who was her best friend. He stayed for a couple of hours and then headed home. He was extremely devout and didn't want to miss Sunday service. He ended up falling asleep at the wheel, crossed a median and hit another car head-on. He and the other driver died. We were the last people to see him. I found out on my way to the beach, and it almost made me crash my car. The next couple of weeks were awful as heck.

man-in-gray-suit-standing-beside-woman-in-green-dress-3664688Pexels

#29 Gone Away

My friend and I were celebrating Pride week in Toronto. His little brother had never been, so my friend wanted him to experience the energy of the season (which is palpable, to say the least). My friend and I met up with his brother and shortly after my friend needed to go and meet some of our other friends, which he was going to bring back to meet us. I volunteered to stay with the brother and buy him some street meat, which was a foot-long hot dog stuck between two huge meatballs.

We laughed awkwardly at this (it was my first time meeting the kid and I certainly felt like I was subjecting him to more than he could handle). We went and enjoyed our snack away from the millions of people in the streets. Once we finished, he offered to go and throw out the garbage and said he had to go to the washroom. We haven't seen him since. That was six years ago. No contact. No posts on social media. Nothing. My friend doesn't blame me because his brother was already a very independent guy, but boy did I feel bad. I still have a picture of that meal we got on my phone. Whenever I see it I think about what I could have done differently, if anything, to make him want to stay.

person-with-body-painting-1209843Pexels

#30 Don't Drink And Drive

A distant cousin of mine went out drinking years ago with a group of friends, but each friend drove their own car between various bars to drink (don’t do this, kids). She never made it to the final bar, and people suspected for years that she’d been abducted and or worse. Fairly recently, they unexpectedly found her. She had driven her car off the road and into a bay, where it had sunk and presumably drowned her. Don’t drink and drive.

Day_1_-_Tackling_drink_driving_-_West_Midlands_Police_(6613046827)Wikimedia.Commons

#31 Brotherly Guilt

Oh boy, here we go. When I was a little kid, my little brother and I snuck out of the house to go to the park at around 10 p.m. We stayed there playing for a while, then I ran off to do something... I can't remember what; I think it was answering nature. When I came back, he was gone. I got scared and ran home. 10 years later and I still blame myself, because he was never found. I have never felt more guilty.

colors-empty-equipment-grass-133458Pexels

#32 Losing Balance

I went out to go fishing with my dad. As we pulled up, some guy came up and chatted with us about my dad's boat. After a few minutes, we left to go fishing. Fast forward a few hours, and we were heading back in to call it a day. We came up to a railroad bridge and there were dozens of search and rescue boats trolling the river underneath and around the bridge. Turns out, the guy had a few too many and decided to jump off the bridge for fun. They think he got caught on a tree or some old barbed wire under the water. He never came back up. I think they found his body a few weeks later washed up on the shore.

fishing-man-wearing-yellow-shirt-1143926Pexels

#33 Merciless Love

I wasn't the last person to see him, but I'm pretty sure I was the last person to talk to him. A buddy of mine called me up freaking out about him and his wife getting into it. He had a couple of kids, and she had a couple of kids. I guess they were having problems, but I didn't really know the extent. He called me up and asked me if he could come to my house and crash. I have heard that it looks unfavorable if you leave your home and all and I didn't know how bad it was, so I mentioned that to him. I told him if he really needed to come by he could, but he said, "No, you're right I'll just stick it out here."

The next day, I got a call from our friend asking to talk to him. I told her he wasn't there and she thought I was joking or hiding that he was. He ended up disappearing the night we spoke. They found his van near a bridge and supposedly some weights with a rope tied to them in the water. We found out later on that there was a bunch of stuff going on with his wife and some other guy. We don't really know if he ended himself or just took off.

This was around 2012 or so and I think about him every once in a while. It really sucks and I do feel partly responsible. I play it over in my head sometimes and wish I would have told him to just come on over. I hope he's alright.

broken-heart-love-sad-14303Pexels

#34 A Way To Cope

I am a police officer in Canada and while you should think about these events occasionally as a healthy part of recovery, it's so important to not beat yourself up for "missing signs" or thinking you could have done something different. Missing persons are some of the hardest and most complex investigations we do. If someone has already decided to go off the grid or harm themselves, there is often very little that you as the last person who sees them can do. If someone wants to be saved, they will reach out in a concrete and very difficult way. This is coming from personal and statistical knowledge.

6506999759_65362e2ed2_bFlickr

#35 Neighborly Dispute

I was at a movie theater with my brother when a guy my brother knew saw us. We all talked for a little while, then told him we were leaving. He asked us for a ride to his apartment, so we gave him one. He asked us if we wanted to come in a hang out for a while but we didn’t want to, so we left. A few weeks later, we found out after we dropped him off he got into an argument with his neighbor and his life was taken. I wonder sometimes would he still be alive if we stayed or would we have been ended too.

auditorium-chairs-comfortable-concert-269140Pexels

#36 Guilt Trip

I was at Great Falls Park in Virginia and saw a teenager attempt to swim across the rapids. He immediately got sucked under and I did not see him ever again. I left the park, in absolute terror. "I just watched someone die, and I didn't do anything about it." It was an absolutely terrifying experience, and I didn't sleep well for days. The kid lived; however, I did not find out until after I left the park, so I was under the impression he had died for a while. It's not a fun time. I hated every minute of it.

Great_Falls_National_Park_-_the_falls_-_01Wikimedia.Commons

#37 Disney Debaucle

I was the "missing" person in this case. I got lost at Disneyland—My grandpa took me, and I wandered off being a dumb kid. I ended up leaving the park because I thought maybe I could remember where our hotel was and find my grandma. I didn't have a phone or anything as this was 12 years ago. I couldn't find the hotel and was sitting at an ice cream shop on the street over when I finally decided to tell someone. The person got the police involved. My grandpa had a mini-heart attack and had to go to the hospital. He was okay; he didn't die, he even said he probably didn't even need to go to the hospital, but it was still spooky. I definitely became a brighter kid after that.

disneyland-paris-2272907_1280Needpix

#38 The Wrong Call

I was the last to see my friend. He was pulling out of my driveway, making ominous comments after a really bad breakup. I could have and should have stopped him. He sent several of us a concerning email that night, and they found him unresponsive the next morning. I made the wrong call. He is dead and I could have stopped it. I don't let the guilt drag me down—we were kids and I did the best I could. I would like to think that I am better informed now, and I have saved enough lives to maybe even the balance sheet.

alone-animal-bird-clouds-395196Pexels

#39 A Bad Idea

I was working in a coffee shop and a very wild-haired, crazy-eyed 20-something came in acting all jittery. He aggressively moved a few random pieces on a chessboard I had brought in, then kind of froze and stared at me without blinking for a minute. He ran outside and we just talked a little about how odd he was, but we ultimately forgot about it. Turns out, he walked out the door and immediately to a 13-story building where he was somehow able to get on the roof.

No one knows if it was intentional because he was so out of it, but he went headfirst off that building. It took a day or so before they figured out exactly he was. I guess the guy's parents were some kind of prominent lawyers and were renting a small apartment from my boss for him to live in. I think they were trying to let him sort things out on his own and avoid institutionalizing him... Not sure if it was an embarrassment thing or not, but it looks like that was a pretty bad idea.

#40 A Senior Moment

When I was a kid, I lived in the same house as my great-grandfather. During the afternoons, when mom and dad were working, I was already back from school. I usually stayed home with my little sister, a babysitter, my great-grandfather and his nurse.

Despite being around 90 years at the time, my great grandfather still walked without help, which was an issue because he had dementia, so he needed to be supervised 24/7. One day, when I was 9 years old and my sister was like a year old, the babysitter was bathing my sister and the nurse had gone home early for personal reasons, so my great grandpa and I were unsupervised for a bit. He just walked out of the house using the front door. I tried to stop him and convince him to go back home, but when that didn't work, I ran back home and told my babysitter. She went to look for him immediately but didn't found him. He was found a couple of days later wandering four kilometers away from our house.

old-man-6110Pexels

#41 The SOS

I was waiting for the bus once and there were two people there, probably a couple. They had this creepy vibe—the guy would ask for a hug and he would just hold on to her while she remained motionless. At some point, she touched my hair and said it was pretty. Then, she and the man walked into the forest behind a big store... just straight-up walked there like they were out for a stroll. I saw her picture in the paper a few weeks later, an obituary. I recognized her because she had a spider web tattoo under her eye and piercings. I have no idea who she was or how she died, but I have this feeling that the guy was involved. I felt something was off when she touched my hair.

black-and-white-person-woman-night-652Pexels

#42 Losing A Mother

I was the last one to see my mom alive. It's something I've thought about almost daily since it happened in March of 2017. She had dropped off my sister to my apartment and was noticeably depressed, as she had been for weeks beforehand due to issues between her and my dad. I just wish I could have somehow known what she was planning. It's so hard to tell what someone is thinking.

woman-carrying-girl-while-showing-smile-1445704Pexels

#43 Caught In A Blizzard

A few years back, I was doing some early season backcountry skiing in Hatcher Pass (Palmer Alaska). There was a lot of snow from the previous night, and folks were antsy to get some pre-Thanksgiving powder turns in. My two friends and I decided to stick to the mellow stuff because of the flat light. As we were leaving the parking lot, we noticed a solo skier heading out into much steeper terrain.

After about an hour of slow meandering, we saw some red flags and turned around. To our surprise, when we got back to the parking lot, we were told that there was a sizable avalanche that was triggered and debris even reached the parking lot. Anyway, a day or two later, there was news of a missing skier from that day. He wasn’t found until the snow melted in late June.

photo-of-white-vehicle-crossing-a-tunnel-714482Pexels

#44 Party Too Hard

I was the last person at our company to see him. I used to work at Mason Shoes in Wisconsin as a summer job. I got to know this kid who had just graduated from high school. We would spend our lunch hours with him and he'd tell me he got so tipsy the previous weekend. On Monday, he didn't show up to work after I dropped him off at home. About a week later, he was on the front page of the city newspaper; he'd got tipsy, wandered off from the party, and suffocated. It's been three decades and I still think about him.

three-men-sitting-on-veranda-1194412Pexels

#45 Abducted In Plain Sight

I was seven and playing at the basketball court at my apartments. It was almost dusk which meant it was getting close for me to head home. On the other side of the court was a boy of about two, all alone with a couple of toy trucks. I was seven, so I honestly didn’t think anything of it. A man came by and picked him up as I started walking home. About 30 minutes later, a man was knocking on our screen door. My dad answered and the man was super flustered. He kept asking if we had seen his son who he had left for just a moment outside. I was shy and this was adult talk, so I sat on the couch and said nothing. When he left, I told my dad what I saw and he informed the man. The boy was found in the river a week later. I honestly could never remember the man who took the boy, but I remember the boy very clearly and it’s been nearly 15 years.

basketball-hoop-on-court-680074Pexels

#46 Poor Dog

There was this guy in his mid-thirties that started hanging around our college bar. He used to leave his dog outside, and it would wait for him. I'd always talk to him a bit, as I was a few years older as well. One night he walked home, crossed the frozen river that splits town, and fell through the ice. The next day, they found his dog waiting by the hole in the ice. They found his body after the thaw, about a mile downriver, caught in some brush.

monochrome-photo-of-person-holding-dog-leash-1483856Pexels

#47 Already Too Late

I was helping to take care of my friend's grandmother. We were very close and she called me her granddaughter. She called me one night and I went to her house because she said she wasn't feeling well. It seemed like she had the flu. I was tired and had class the next morning so I told her she would be fine and that I would see her the next day when I dropped off her medicine. The next day, my friend called and asked if could check on her as she wasn't answering the phone. When I got there, I found her passed away. It was a terrible scene. I feel guilty a lot for dismissing her the night before.

photo-of-woman-embracing-her-grandmother-3768168Pexels

#48 A Piece Of Me

I was the last person to see my nephews before their mom took off with them. It felt like a normal day and she seemed fine. She even stuck around and chatted a bit before she left. A week later, nobody could get a hold of her. A month later, and we all lost complete contact. We had not even the slightest clue where they went. I was more than a little bit of a jerk to my nephews. I grew up in a super strict household and thought discipline was the only virtue. Still, there were times where we truly felt like a family. They lived with me for a little over a year because of trouble at home and it's not an exaggeration to say they became the highlight of my life. When she took them, it hurt me in a way I had never felt. Like she stole a piece of me.

woman-and-girl-using-tablet-computer-1312023Pexels

#49 No Survivors

I was at a festival helping set up for it as a volunteer when I was offered to join some others on a plane ride above the festival. Seven of us were going to go and three were to switch off with 1 pilot. I was in my early 20s and desperately wanted to go first in excitement. I helped with the pre-flight check-up and wanted to sit in the front as I had help fly before. Then I was reminded that the other group should go first since they were invited first. I got out and gave my seat up to a nice woman who humbly took it. Everyone was pretty excited to go. The couple that was with me went and got something out of the car while I watched it take off. The plane made it past the first set of trees but quickly dipped sickeningly quick. Nobody survived the crash.

photography-of-airplane-during-sunrise-723240Pexels

#50 Nothing Is Promised

I was one of the last people to see and speak to a girl we were out clubbing with. She went missing on her way back from the club and her body was found a couple of months later. This all happened around the time of a bad break up and I ended up questioning my life. The whole situation made me come to terms with my own mortality.

night-206742_960_720Pixabay




Want to learn something new every day?

Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.