Disappearances & Mysterious Deaths in America


The Three Men Who Escaped Alcatraz Were Never Found

The Three Men Who Escaped Alcatraz Were Never Found

Alcatraz Escape – The June 1962 Alcatraz escape may have been the only successful escape from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in that facility’s history. On the night of June 11 or early morning of June 12, inmates Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris tucked paper-mâché heads resembling their likenesses into their beds, broke out of the main prison building via an unused utility corridor, and departed Alcatraz Island aboard an improvised inflatable raft to an uncertain fate.

Babysitter Killer of Detroit – This killer abducted and killed four children between 1976 and 1977. In some cases, the victims were sexually assaulted. The killer would then clean the kids’ clothes and arrange their bodies in a sort of display in downtown Detroit, Michigan, for investigators to find. This deranged person was never found.

Paula Weldon Missing

Paula Weldon Missing

Bennington Triangle of Vermont – Centered around Glastenbury Mountain in southwest Vermont, this area has long been cursed according to Native American lore. Over the years, it has been a hotspot for UFO activity, bigfoot sightings, and strange lights and sounds. It is also the location where five people disappeared between 1945 and 1950.

Carroll A. Deering – Ghost Ship on the Diamond Shoals, North Carolina – The beautiful five-masted schooner, the Carroll A. Deering, had a short life, sailing for just a few short years before she was found completely abandoned on the Diamond Shoals of North Carolina in 1922. The mystery of what happened remains one of the most famous ghost ship stories in maritime history.

The Connecticut River Killer – Between 1978 and 1987, this serial killer fatally stabbed seven women along the New Hampshire/Vermont border. After his alleged eighth victim survived, the killings stopped. He was never caught.

D.B. Cooper – Disappearing Into the Wilderness – D.B. Cooper is an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on November 24, 1971, extorted $200,000 in ransom and parachuted to an uncertain fate.

The Black Dahlia – Elizabeth Short, an aspiring actress in California, was found murdered in the middle of a Los Angeles street in January 1947. Called the Black Dahlia because she loved to wear sheer black clothes, the young woman’s body was sliced in half at the waist, was entirely drained of blood, and posed in such a way that she appeared to be a mannequin. Her case became highly publicized due to the graphic nature of the crime, and an exhaustive manhunt began, but the killer was never apprehended.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart’s Fateful Flight – There is almost no physical evidence to reveal what happened to Amelia Earhart or her plane.

The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis – Captain Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was only 35 when he died of gunshot wounds sustained along a perilous Tennessee trail called Natchez Trace. Two hundred years later, debate continues over whether the famous explorer committed suicide or was murdered.

The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa – Hoffa was an American labor union leader from 1957 until 1971. The corrupt leader allegedly had links to the mob and spent time in prison. Four years later, in 1975, he vanished from a Detroit-area restaurant. His body was never found.

The Disappearance of Joseph Force Crater – An allegedly corrupt New York State Supreme Court judge, Crater vanished soon after then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt named him to the bench. After hailing a cab, he was never seen again.

Disappeared Into Thin Air – In 1854, in Selma, Alabama, farmer Orion Williams simply vanished while walking across his property.

Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain

Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain

Albert Jennings Fountain – Missing in the Desert – Soldier, lawyer, and politician, the mystery surrounding Albert Jennings Fountain’s disappearance in the deserts of southern New Mexico has puzzled lawmen and historians for more than a century. Also See: The Fountain Murders: Sites Today

Jennings Eight of Louisiana – These were eight women whose bodies were found in swamps and canals around Jennings, Louisiana, between 2005 and 2009. The victims all knew each other through the crack trade and prostitution. Loss of evidence, mishandling, and lack of progress in the case led some to suspect that the police were involved in the deaths or in covering them up. The killer was never found.

The Last Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe – The death of Edgar Allan Poe on October 7, 1849, has remained mysterious, with the circumstances leading up to it uncertain, and the cause of death is disputed.

Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run –  Also called the Cleveland Torso Murderer, this madman was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. Between 1935 and 1938, 12 bodies, many headless and limbless, were found in a creek bed in Cleveland, Ohio, known as Kingsbury Run. The victims included seven men and five women. Only two were identified, and the killer was never caught.

Mary Pinchot Meyer – Assassinated By CIA? – A socialite, painter, former wife of Central Intelligence Agency official Cord Meyer, and, by some accounts, the mistress of John F. Kennedy, Meyer was shot execution-style in broad daylight.

Missing Ships Through the Decades – There are dozens of missing and unexplained disappearances of American ships and boats where no evidence of the ship or crew has ever been found. Here are just some of the notable ones lost.

Missing Sodder Children in West Virginia – Early Christmas morning, December 25, 1945, tragedy struck the Sodder family in Fayetteville, West Virginia, when their house went up in flames. The parents and four children escaped, but five children disappeared. Did these kids die in the fire, or are they still out there somewhere? No one knows.

Niagara, North Dakota Killer – In 1913, six men’s bodies were found in the crawlspace of a house in Niagara, North Dakota. The house belonged to a man named Eugene Butler, who had been committed to an insane asylum in 1906. It wasn’t until after he died there that the bodies were found. The victims had been killed by crushing blows to the skull. Over a century later, the identities of these dead men remain unknown.

The Riddle of Ambrose Bierce – An editorialist, journalist, and short story writer, Bierce traveled to Mexico in 1913 to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, he disappeared without a trace.

John Herbert Dillinger

John Herbert Dillinger

Was John Dillinger Really Killed By the FBI? – Though officially shot by the FBI, John Dillinger, who was Public Enemy No. 1 at the time, may not have been the man blasted down on July 22, 1934, outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater.

West Mesa Murders of New Mexico – In 2009, the bodies of 11 women and a fetus were found in the desert in the West Mesa of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bodies were found to have been buried between 2001 and 2005. It took a year to identify all of the remains, and it was found that all of the women had connections to drugs and prostitution. The serial killer was never found.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, October 2023.