Missing People Whose Traces Melted with the Winter Snow
Mysterious Missing Persons Cases That Took Place in Winter
These Unsolved Missing Persons Cases Make Winter Terrifying
Creepy Disappearances That Prove Winter Has a Sinister Side
Chilling Disappearances That Will Make You Fear Winter
Winter can be a magical time of year with snow covered forests that glisten in the sunlight. As the days slowly get longer, many of us enjoy invigorating winter sports for some fresh air to contrast the stale nights spent indoors. But it’s these same circumstances that can set the scene for mysterious disappearances when we least expect it. Especially when people were last seen traveling or walking around outdoors, it makes their situations more life threatening and hopeless with each minute that goes by after they’ve gone missing.
With dark nights, plunging temperatures and snow piled high, a safe return back home becomes tragically unlikely. Here are cases of people who mysteriously disappeared during the harsh winter months with little to no closure of their whereabouts. Let’s begin with the most famous Christmas crime that started with a mysterious fire and ended in the disappearance of five children. Click next to learn everything you need to know about their chilling disappearances.
The Sodder Children
On Christmas Eve in 1945, George and Jenny Sodder were celebrating with their ten children in their Fayetteville, West Virginia home. In the middle of the night, Jenny woke up to the smell of smoke and alerted her husband and the oldest boys. The home office caught on fire around the telephone and fuse box. The parents and four of the children escaped, and they ran outside, yelling at the top floor for the other children who were sleeping in the attic.
Everything that could possibly go wrong during rescue efforts happened, which resulted in the fire department arriving on the scene later that morning. Every telephone call failed, the family’s ladder was missing and their water barrel was frozen solid. No bodies of the five missing children were ever recovered from the burnt rubble. Subsequent developments in the case have gone nowhere and this still remains the greatest Christmas mystery. Click next for a mysterious fire right before New Year’s Eve.
Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman
Lauria and Ashley were two 16-year-old best friends who had a sleep over at the Freeman’s mobile home for Ashley’s birthday party on December 29, 1999. Early on the morning of December 30, a fire started in the home and the fire department arrived on the scene before 6:00 am. Ashley’s mother was found dead, but there was no sign of the girls or Ashley’s father. After starting search efforts, the Bible family returned to the scene on New Year’s Eve to look for clues.
They were shocked to discover the remains of Mr. Freeman, who was nearly burned beyond recognition. The arson was deliberate, and the local sheriff’s department were the only suspects. 3 months earlier, the Freeman’s son was shot by a deputy and died, so there was an ongoing feud with the family. Almost 20 years later and no trace of the girls have ever been found. Click next for the most bizarre disappearance.
On January 8, 1994 Renee LaManna allegedly suffered from a mental breakdown after her boyfriend of 10 years broke up with her. She was found wandering the streets in New York City barefoot and disoriented. She was treated in a psychiatric emergency room and was later discharged to her sister in New Jersey. She didn’t stay here for more than a few hours before she was out wandering the streets again, wearing nothing but a bathrobe. She was seen at a bar later, but her bathrobe was discovered two blocks away.
From there, Renee had vanished without a trace, with nothing more than theories and unconfirmed sightings for detectives to work from. The most promising development in the case was in 2014, when Ruth Collins befriended a homeless woman in Virginia who introduced herself as Renee LaManna. Collins later learned that she was a missing person, but authorities have had no further leads in the sighting.Click next for a famous roadside disappearance.
Maura Murray disappeared on February 9, 2004 after a car crash in New Hampshire. This was only the cusp of bizarre events leading up to her vanishing, still without any new clues to her whereabouts. 3 months before her disappearance, she exhibited odd behavior, such as stealing a credit card to buy food and booze. Her father visited her at college in Amherst, Massachusetts on February 7 to take her car shopping since she was having problems with her old car. Later that night, Maura ended up crashing her father’s car into a guardrail after a party.
Two days later, she lied to professors about a death in the family and ended up driving to New Hampshire, with Mapquest directions as the only clue for the trip. A trucker stopped to help, since there was no phone service and Maura was clearly stranded. Police arrived 15 minutes later, but Maura nowhere to be found around the snowy area. Click next for a mom gone missing.
On December 9, 2004, Shonda Stansbury went missing without a trace in Weldon, North Carolina. The circumstances leading up to her disappearance are suspicious, but have provided authorities with little evidence. The day before, the 24-year-old mother called her stepmother to say she planned to go get her four children, who were left unsupervised at their father’s place. Her sister saw her the next morning at her job at the local Waffle House and Shonda had noticeably fresh bruises and a swelling bump on her temple.
She wouldn’t tell anyone what happened and she turned down a ride home from a customer. Five days after she disappeared, 911 received a disturbing phone call from a woman who reported a woman bleeding and screaming, who was running naked behind a grocery store. Two black men chased the alleged victim into the woods, but a search yielded no trace of Shonda. Click next for a disappearance with mysterious phone calls as the only evidence.
On January 25, 2006, Gary Butler returned home from working a night shift in Risco, Missouri to find that his wife vanished, leaving their two young sons home alone. Upon further examination, multiple possessions were missing, like electronics, as well as Theresa’s purse and cell phone, but her jacket and wedding ring were left behind. There was no sign of forced entry and authorities couldn’t find any evidence of foul play.
Upon examining her phone records, Theresa had made two calls shortly before the time frame set for her disappearance. The two numbers were strangers in Missouri, who have never heard of nor met Theresa before. Only one of them answered but the caller didn’t say anything. Her husband has been ruled out a suspect in the case and the investigation is still active. If you want hope for these victims, click next for a case recently cracked wide open.
Zebb Quinn disappeared on January 2, 2002 in Asheville, North Carolina in mysterious circumstances that has only recently brought details of this mystery to light. 18-year-old Quinn was last seen by friend Robert Owens after his evening shift at Walmart. They were going to look at a car for Quinn, but he ended up pulling over after hitting Owens’ car and said he had to cancel their plans. Owens said this was involving a call Quinn made before driving and it had apparently agitated him.
After Quinn went missing, authorities only had bizarre clues to investigate further. Owens got caught impersonating Quinn to call in work absent, and a live puppy found in his car at the hospital where his mother worked. Despite being a lead suspect in the case, Owens was only arrested in 2015 for a double murder of a neighbor couple, then the subsequent indictment for Quinn’s murder in 2017. New evidence hasn’t been made public – click next for another case with little information.
Crew of the Sarah Joe
Five men boarded the Sarah Joe for a fishing trip in Maui on February 19, 1979 and the boat disappeared without a trace after a violent storm hit the area. It was assumed they were lost at sea until unexpected evidence was discovered in 1988. Wreckage from the Sarah Joe was found on an island 3,218 km (2,000 mi) away from where they sailed.
The remains of only one of the crew members, Scott Moorman, was found buried in a shallow grave. The odd thing is that the same island was searched a few years prior and no evidence was discovered. It still remains unclear when the Sarah Joe wreckage drifted to the island, who buried Moorman, and what happened to the remaining four crew members. If you’re dying for a case even more bizarre, click next for a suspicious mystery.
Lisa Sharer was left stranded at a gas station when her boyfriend Michael Rosenblum rode off in her car on February 14, 1980 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is a perfectly creepy scene for the worst to become of Sharer, but she made it home safely and Rosenblum went missing for over a decade. Evidence suggests police were involved and deliberately covered up Rosenblum’s disappearance, but motives remain unknown.
Sharer’s car was found abandoned with two flat tires, but police failed to notify her so it was impounded for three months. Months later, Police Chief Aldo Gaburri admitted he had his clerk date the letter to Lisa on February 15 and forged the signature of the officer who found the car. Gaburri was fired, but was reinstated and gave officers a gag order. In 1992, a partial skull fragment of Rosenblum’s was uncovered near where Sharer’s car was, but the case is unsolved. Click next for a pregnant teen mystery.
15-year-old Rachel Pratt found out she was pregnant with her 18-year-old boyfriend, so her parents forced her to press charges against him for aggravated indecent liberties with a minor. Pratt was set to testify in court, but she mysteriously went missing and the charges against her boyfriend were dropped. The boyfriend remained a suspect in the case, but evidence was never uncovered.
On January 16, 1995, Rachel was reported missing from her Garden City, Kansas home, with all her possessions left behind except for a jacket. A group of girls reported seeing her at a grocery store the night she disappeared. Rachel was with her boyfriend and asked the girls for a ride. When they turned her down, she headed back into the store. The boyfriend denied this account and no traces of Rachel or her unborn child have ever been discovered. In a group, it’s less likely to disappear, but click next for a shopping trip gone wrong.
The Fort Worth Three
On December 23, 1974 17-year-old Mary Rachel Trlica, 14-year-old Lisa Renee Wilson and 9-year-old Julie Ann Moseley were doing last minute Christmas Shopping at a mall in Fort Worth, Texas. They never returned home and their car was found in the parking lot at 6:00pm with gifts still inside. One eyewitness claim stated the girls were forced into an unknown vehicle by several men, but the leads never resulted in further evidence.
Rachel recently married Thomas Trlica, who got a letter on Christmas Eve that was supposedly written by Rachel, saying the girls had to get away and were going to Houston, but would be back next week. It has been speculated that Rachel’s sister Debra wrote the letter, who was living with the couple at the time and was once engaged to Thomas, but she denies this. For another mysterious case that never turned up bodies, click next to learn more.
In a case that started out as a hunting accident investigation, the true crime unraveled after inconsistencies at the scene were revealed. Mike Williams went on a duck hunting trip at Lake Seminole on December 16, 2000, and never made it back to his Tallahassee home. His car was left at the lake, as well as his boat, which was abandoned in the middle of the water. Authorities first assumed he must have fallen in, drowned and was eaten by alligators.
However, the boat motor had been shut off, the gas tank was still full and there were no bite marks on the boat, which had remained stationary, although the incoming storm should have moved it across the lake. Mike’s wife Denise had collected a $1.5 million life insurance policy that Mike originally bought from friend Brian Winchester, who later married Denise. With little evidence and no body, no arrests have ever been made. For another case of backstabbing friends, click next to uncover more horrific disappearances.
The McStay Family
Life came to a standstill at the McStay residence in Fallbrook, California, when concerned family checked in on them to find their house abandoned on February 4, 2010. Their dogs were left outside without water and the house was a mess, with perishable food left on the counters and clothes strewn throughout the rooms. On February 8, The family car was found abandoned in a strip mall parking lot, just blocks away from the Mexican border.
Despite speculation that the family may have crossed on foot to Mexico, the circumstances pointed to foul play. Their bank accounts remained inactive and in 2013 the remains of parents Joseph and Summer and children Gianni, age 4, and Joseph Jr., age 3, were found in shallow graves in the desert near Victorville, California. Joseph McStay’s business partner Chase Merritt was arrested in 2014 for the murders and his trial has been continuously postponed. Click next for a truly baffling disappearance.
Richard Cox was a cadet in the US Army, but ended up disappearing in New York on January 14, 1950. He was reportedly going to meet his friend George for dinner, but there was no evidence that he even knew someone in the area named George. Neither of the men were ever seen again, and there is little evidence to explain his disappearance. Theories suggest that Richard, who was engaged, had intimate encounters with other male cadets and may have run away with another man.
Military based theories suggest he was captured by Soviets or joined the CIA. Cox may have been involved with Robert Dion, who had been stationed with Cox and had connections to a fake-ID ring. Many believe that Cox assumed a new identity to start a new life and is still alive and well. Work definitely won’t keep employees safe – click next for a puzzling disappearance in the age of information.
24-year-old Jennifer Kesse was last seen on January 23, 2006 when she left work at Central Florida Investments around 6:00pm. Friends and family heard from her later that evening when they talked on the phone and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When she didn’t show up at work the next day and her phone went straight to voicemail, her worried parents made the drive from Tampa to Orlando, since this behavior was very out of character for Jennifer.
Her apartment was locked and they have reason to believe she was abducted that morning on the way to her car, which was missing from the apartment complex. Her car was located in a parking lot not too far from her apartment, but her purse contents were nowhere to be found and no more evidence was recovered. It’s one thing to lose an adult daughter, click next to reveal how a young girl disappeared in the middle of the night.
Valentine’s Day morning in 2000 was going to be a special for the Degree family, since the parents were celebrating their anniversary and they had family plans for the romantic occasion. All of that changed when their 9-year-old daughter Asha was discovered missing. No evidence points to foul play and it’s believed Asha left on her own in the middle of the night. Several witnesses reported seeing a girl matching her description, wearing only long sleeved pajamas and walking along a highway. One witness attempted to approach her and last saw her running into the nearby woods.
During search efforts, only a few school supplies and candy wrappers showed up near a shed by her last location. Her backpack was found in 2001, but the FBI lab hasn’t made any information public. The only potential connection for her disappearance is inspiration from a book she read in school about kids running away. To learn how a candy heiress disappeared, click next for eerie details.
Helen Brach inherited the $20 million fortune from late husband’s Brach candy company. What would have been a sweet life of riches took a mysterious turn on February 17, 1977, when Helen disappeared under suspicious circumstances. She was last seen at her medical appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Brach was supposed to fly back to Chicago the same day, but the airliner confirmed that she never got on the flight.
Brach’s driver, Jack Matlick, claimed that he picked her up from the Chicago airport and took her home, but also had $15,000 in signed checks that Brach allegedly left him. Brach also had a con artist boyfriend who was a suspect, but was never arrested for her disappearance. Click next for a questionable disappearance from a college campus.
Michael Negrete was a college freshman at UCLA California, and was playing online computer games all night on December 10, 1999. He had logged off at 4:00am, and by 9:00am, Michael’s roommate saw he was gone, but left everything behind, including his keys and wallet. Oddly enough, Michael also left his shoes behind, but search dogs tracked his scent a couple miles away from his dorm, with the trace ending at a bus stop.
There was an unidentified man around the campus dorm at 4:35am, but nothing ties him to Michael’s disappearance and his whereabouts remain a mystery, with no leads or evidence ever uncovered. Such tragic cases make holidays unbearably difficult for families. For a disappearance that takes place on Christmas, click next to learn more.
Christmas Day in 1996 was especially difficult for the Vaughan family, due to the strain in Patty and J.R.’s marriage. Patty left him 2 months earlier, took the kids and began dating another man. The couple just got into a fight prior to Patty taking off in her car and was never seen again. Her car was found 25km (15 mi) away from their Texas home, with a flat tire, blood stains and a red jumpsuit.
It was indicated that the car floor had been shampooed, as well as evidence of cleaning with more blood traces inside her residence. J.R. filed for divorce the day after Patty went missing, making him the prime suspect in her disappearance. J.R. got custody of the kids and moved out of state. Patty’s case remains unsolved.