In the United States alone, there are nearly 100,000 missing person cases each year. While many of them are solved rather quickly, there is plenty that goes unsolved for years. Along the way, there have been some cases of very notable (and some infamous) people that have gone missing without a trace.
Throughout American history, there have been certain missing person cases that have captivated the entire country, with massive search parties launched. Out of all of those cases, these five stand out as the most talked about, dominating headlines around the nation for weeks, months, and even years.
Amelia Earheart’s disappearance is one we’ve all learned about in school, or heard about in one way or another. She was famously the first woman to complete a solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. She carried many accolades and was and is an inspiration to women everywhere. She and navigator Fred Noonan went missing when they attempted to make a trek around the globe in 1937. They were last seen in New Guinea where they had stopped before continuing the remainder of their travels. There are many theories as to what happened to the two, but it’s most likely the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and took the two brave souls with it.
In November of 1971, a man who called himself Dan Cooper was aboard a flight from Oregon to Washington. During the flight, he hijacked the plane with claims he was carrying a bomb on board. He demanded $200,000 in cash and parachutes. He then managed to instruct the pilots to land and let the passengers loose, ensuring workers refueled the aircraft, as well as obtaining the money and items he previously demanded. When over Washington, Cooper fled with his ransom by jumping out of the plane with a parachute. No trace of him was ever found and nobody truly knows the identity of this mystery man.
Jimmy Hoffa is a name you’re surely familiar with. Hoffa was a man caught up in a slew of messes. Once the International Brotherhood of Teamsters leader, he was involved in organized crime which may have been how he met his assumed demise.
After his time in prison for charges like fraud and jury tampering, Hoffa attempted to regain control of the organization. His attempts were unsuccessful and he went missing in 1975, presumably murdered by the mafia. Although, nobody knows what really happened to him.
Natalee Holloway’s disappearance is one of the most well-known cases in modern history. In 2005 Natalee joined her classmates from Mountain Brook High School on a graduation trip to Aruba. She was a beautiful girl who had so much to offer the world, but she would never get to it after she went missing before her flight home on May 30th, 2005. She was last seen getting into a car with prime suspect Joran van der Sloot and two of his friends.
They denied involvement, but their stories changed over time. Natalee has never been found and has been presumed dead. Sloot wound up being convicted of the murder of a woman in Peru years later, making it very possible he is also responsible for what happened to Natalee.
The gut-wrenching case of a child gone missing in the night. Madeleine McCann was only three years old when she went missing in the middle of the night. Her parents, two younger twin siblings, and family friends had taken a vacation to Portugal in May of 2007.
One night, while the adults dined at a restaurant only 180 feet from Madeleine’s bedroom, her mother went to check on her and found she was missing and the window in the room was wide open. She has never been found, although as of 2022, police in the German city of Braunschweig believe they may have a new suspect in the disappearance of the sweet young girl.