It’s difficult to think about, but thousands of individuals disappear each year. While many are found, others seem to vanish off the face of the Earth without a trace. Without enough clues or evidence to go on, these missing person cases turn into cold case files.
Some instances are so baffling that even the FBI has abandoned them, failing to find any shred of evidence as to the whereabouts of these individuals. There are five cases in particular that stand out amongst the rest as eerie, mysterious, and downright puzzling. Here are the top cases throughout history.
1. Lauren Spierer
Lauren was an Indiana University student who disappeared in 2011. Her last known location is outside of a friend’s apartment, off-campus at 4:30 a.m. after a night out at the bar. The case caught on like wildfire, terrifying college students across the country.
As America latched onto this case, even celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Stephen Colbert raised awareness about Lauren’s disappearance. To this day, however, her whereabouts remain unknown. Investigators blame a lack of cooperation from local police as well as poor testimony from a group of Lauren’s friends.
The friends in question happen to be a group of men, raising more questions than they answer. Criminal defense attorneys continue to work this case today, following any major lead they receive. However, the outlook is bleak for finding Lauren, let alone finding her alive.
2. Amelia Earhart
The woman who vanished while attempting to fly around the world remains one of the most perplexing mysteries of all time. Historians continue to work with explorers to uncover any clues they can, but their efforts remain fruitless.
Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, had completed two-thirds of their journey when they ran low on fuel. The plan was to stop on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean and either await fuel or call it quits. However, the pair would never be heard from again.
3. Jimmy Hoffa
In 1975, Hoffa’s disappearance led to one of the longest FBI cases in history. After having a 13-year sentence commuted by Richard Nixon, he vanished four years later from a restaurant in Michigan. Findings suggest he was meeting with heads of the mafia to continue his criminal activities. While the possibility of a mob hitman is on the table, Hoffa’s body has never been found.
4. D.B. Cooper
In 1971, a man who became known as D.B. Cooper hijacked a Seattle-bound flight, ransomed $200,000, then jumped out of the plan with a parachute and disappeared. Authorities were able to rescue the 36 passengers on the flight when the plane landed in Seattle, but Cooper forced the pilots to take off once again towards Mexico City.
His leap from the plane took place at over 5,000 feet in rainy conditions with 200 mile per hour winds. Below him was nothing but dense woods. The Lowenberg Law Firm in Texas and other entities studying this case believe that he died under these circumstances. However, his body has never been found and his true identity remains a mystery.
5. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
In 2014, 239 passengers on this Malaysia Airlines flight vanished in the air. Multiple countries searched for the remains of the flight for three years, only to find nothing. In its final moments, the plane veered off course to the Indian Ocean as it lost contact with air traffic control. The plane’s systems were manually turned off.
Whether the pilots chose to crash the plane, it was hijacked, or someone managed to hack its control systems remains unknown. The plane itself was never found, leaving the 239 victims lost without a trace.