Gabby Petito: 10 creepy missing persons cases that baffled the world before vlogger

Human disappearances that have happened over the centuries have left people grappling with questions of what exactly happened


                            Gabby Petito: 10 creepy missing persons cases that baffled the world before vlogger
Gabby Petito's disappearance puts the spotlight back on some unsolved, unsettling missing cases (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The world can be a dark and terrifying place, what with serial killers and psychopathic criminals, rapes and unsolved murders. Already overwhelmed with various crimes, we also have to deal with missing persons cases, which sadly often end up unsolved or turn out to be horrific murder cases. 

At present, the world is mourning the presumed death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, whose remains investigators believe have been found after she went missing while on a trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. An autopsy to identify the body will take place on September 21. Human disappearances have happened over the centuries and while some cases were solved, others left people grappling with questions of what exactly happened. In the aftermath of the Petito case, here's a look at 10 other missing person stories that will give you the creeps. 

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1) The disappearance and murder of Jamie Stice

In 2011, Jamie Stice, 21, was kidnapped and murdered by a woman she had met on Facebook. Stice had put up an ad on the social media platform, reaching out to other pregnant women to get in touch with and receive advice from. One Kentucky woman responded and the two eventually became friends, before Stice suddenly went missing. Her body was found days later with her gut pulled out. It turned out that the woman she met on Facebook -- Kathy Coy of Morgantown -- cut out her baby to try and pass it off as her own, in an attempt to save her failing marriage.

2) The Asha Degree case

Asha Degree was a sheltered nine-year-old girl who went missing at the age of nine from Shelby, North Carolina. Her disappearance was unnerving as she had no access to a computer or Internet, did not have a cell phone, had friends who were from school or church and never interacted with anyone who could be called unknown. For reasons unknown, Degree packed her bookbag and left her family home on February 14, 2000. A driver on the highway saw a little girl run into the woods and if it was Degree, that was the last time she was seen alive. Candy wrappers, markers and a hair bow were later discovered in the woods. Her backpack was found a year later, buried in the ground. Degree was never seen again.

3) Disappearance and murder of Dorothy Jane Scott

Dorothy Jane Scott disappeared on May 28, 1980, in Anaheim, California. Before disappearing, Scott had received anonymous phone calls from a man who had been stalking her. In one of the calls, he had threatened to get her alone and "cut [her] up into bits so no one will ever find [her]". On the day of her disappearance, she had driven two of her co-workers to the hospital after one of them was bitten by a spider. While her colleagues waited in the hospital, Scott went to get her car. Her car approached them, but instead of waiting, it sped off. A couple of hours later, they reported her missing. In August 1984, partial remains of Scott were discovered. Her disappearance and death remain a mystery.

4) The Jaycee Lee Dugard case

Jaycee Dugard, 11, was kidnapped on June 10, 1991, in Meyers, California. She remained missing for more than 18 years, until 2009 when Phillip Garrido, a convicted sex offender visited the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, with two adolescent girls. An investigation was launched after the trio's behavior seemed unusual, leading to the arrest of Phillip and his wife Nancy Garrido, who were found guilty of kidnapping and assaulting Dugard. Dugard was repeatedly raped by Garrido and at the time of her reappearance, she had already given birth to two children. 

5) The disappearance of Maura Murray

Maura Murray, 21, a nursing student at UMass Amherst, vanished in 2004 after a car crash on Route 112 near Woodsville, New Hampshire. At the time of the accident, a passerby and witness called the police, but by the time they arrived, Murray was gone. Investigation into her disappearance found that she had withdrawn $280 from her bank account and sent an email to her teacher, falsely claiming that someone in her family had died. Despite leads, however, Murray has not been found.

6) Disappearance of Natalee Holloway

Eighteen-year-old Natalee Ann Holloway's mysterious disappearance made headlines after the American woman, who lived in Mountain Brook, Alabama, vanished on May 30, 2005. Holloway did not appear for her scheduled flight which was supposed to bring her home from the Caribbean island on May 30, 2005. Her classmates last saw her outside a restaurant and nightclub in Oranjestad --  Carlos'n Charlie. Holloway was never seen again.

7) The Carla Elizabeth Losey case

Carla Losey vanished into thin air after working at a bar in Columbus, Ohio, for New Year’s Eve in 2002. The last she was ever sighted was when she was leaving the venue with a Black male. Over the years, desperate searches failed as no lead even materialized.

8) The Karen Jo Smith case

Karen Jo Smith, who has been missing since 2000, was last seen at her residence in the 800 block of Weghorst Street in Indianapolis, Indiana at around 10:30 pm on December 27. The following morning, she was reported missing after she vanished from her home. Circumstantial evidence suggested that Smith was murdered by her husband, Steven Halcomb, but her body was never found.

9) The polaroid in the parking lot

In this bizarre case, two missing persons seemed to be the target of one criminal. Nine-year-old Michael Henley had vanished while on a camping trip with his father and Tara Calico, 19, had disappeared while cycling. In 1989, a terrifying polaroid discovered in a Florida parking lot showed a young woman and a boy, bound and gagged, lying in a dark space. The families of the two missing people were quick to identify them. While Henley's remains were later found, Calico's disappearance remains unsolved.

10) The curious case of the Fort Worth trio

Three young girls from Fort Worth, Texas -- Rachel Trlica, 17, Lisa Wilson, 14, and Julie Moseley, 9 -- headed to a mall to buy Christmas presents on December 23, 1974. Later that day, Rachel's car was found locked and with presents inside, with no sign of the girls. The next day, Rachel's husband Tommy received a letter that read: "I know I'm going to catch it, but we just had to get away. We're going to Houston. See you in about a week. The car is in Sears upper lot. Love Rachel." However, Tommy was certain that it was not Rachel's handwriting. The girls were never found.