10 People Who Mysteriously Vanished From Their Workplace
Going to work should be a mundane occurrence. You show up at your place of employment, you do your job for several hours, and then you go home. However, frightening stories exist of people who leave their home for a seemingly routine day at work and never return.
The graveyard shift at a convenience store is a job fraught with potential danger. But 26-year-old Deborah Poe needed the money, so she took a second job as an overnight clerk at a Circle K store in Orlando.
On February 4, 1990, Poe was working her usual late-night shift at the store, and the last confirmed sighting of her was at approximately 3:00 AM. About an hour later, a customer found the store deserted and contacted the police.
Poe’s car was still in the parking lot, and her purse was inside, but there did not seem to be anything stolen from the establishment nor any signs of struggle. A bloodhound picked up Poe’s scent behind the store, but the trail quickly ended, indicating that she likely left in another vehicle.
The case took a bizarre turn when another customer came forward, saying she’d entered the Circle K between 3:00 and 4:00 AM. Poe had not been there. Instead, a young man wearing a T-shirt for the band Megadeth stood behind the counter. The customer asked for some cigarettes, and the man actually rang up her purchase, even though he seemed unfamiliar with his surroundings. This mysterious man has never been identified, and police are unsure if he was involved in Poe’s disappearance.
To this day, Deborah Poe remains missing. And she’s not the only young woman to have vanished while working alone at a convenience store . . .
In 1982, 18-year-old Lynn Burdick was employed as a clerk at the Barefoot Peddler General Store in the small mountain town of Florida, Massachusetts. She was working alone on the evening of April 17. At 8:30 PM, the store was a half hour from closing time, so Burdick’s parents called to ask if she needed a ride home. There was no answer.
Burdick’s brother went to the store to check on her. There was no sign of Lynn anywhere, and $187 was missing from the cash register. An extensive search of the area turned up no trace of her, but authorities speculated that Burdick’s disappearance might have been connected to an incident which had occurred earlier that evening.
Less than an hour beforehand, an unidentified man had tried unsuccessfully to abduct a young woman from the nearby Williams College campus. The student got away from him, and the assailant vanished. Shortly afterward, a dark sedan matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle was seen heading in the direction of the Barefoot Peddler General Store. Since the store was located only 15 kilometers (10 mi) from the college, this same assailant could have driven there and abducted Burdick.
One potential suspect was a man named Leonard Paradiso. Paradiso had been convicted of killing a young woman in 1984 and is believed to be responsible for many other unsolved murders. He may have been in the area around the time of Burdick’s disappearance, but he died in prison of cancer in 2008 before he could be connected to any other crimes.
For 10 years, Curtis Pishon worked as a police officer in Concord, New Hampshire, but his tenure on the force ended when he was stricken with multiple sclerosis. By the time he hit 40, Pishon was forced to take a job as a security guard at Venture Corporation, a manufacturing plant in Seabrook.
On July 5, 2000, Pishon showed up at the plant to work an overnight shift. A 1:42 AM, he called the fire department after his car inexplicably caught fire. No one ever found out the cause of the blaze, but the firefighters noticed that Pishon seemed unusually calm about the situation. After the fire was extinguished, he continued with his shift, but at approximately 3:45 AM, one of his coworkers noticed that he was missing. Pishon had mysteriously disappeared, and a search of the area turned up no trace of him.
Because of his struggles with multiple sclerosis, Pishon had also battled depression, so there was speculation that he was suicidal and had had a complete mental breakdown when his car caught on fire. However, because of Pishon’s condition, he could not have walked very far to commit suicide, so his body likely would have been found had this been the case. A door and two vending machines were also found damaged at the plant, opening up the possibility that Pishon might have met with foul play.
Years later, one of Pishon’s former coworkers, Robert April, was arrested for an unrelated crime. Allegations soon surfaced that April told people that he’d killed Pishon. However, the charges against April were eventually dismissed, and no evidence was found to link him to Pishon’s baffling disappearance.
One of the most infamous disappearances in the history of London involved 25-year-old real estate agent Suzy Lamplugh. Lamplugh was last seen at her office at Sturgis Estate Agents on July 28, 1986, but she mysteriously disappeared after leaving to show a house to a potential client in Fulham. According to Lamplugh’s notes, the client’s name was “Mr. Kipper,” and their appointment was scheduled for 12:45 PM.
Lamplugh never returned from this appointment, and her car was discovered about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 mi) away from the Fulham house. Witnesses in the area saw Lamplugh argue with an unidentified man on the street that day before she climbed into another vehicle. An investigation turned up no trace of Lamplugh, and she was declared legally dead in 1994.
Authorities thought that Mr. Kipper was a serial rapist named John Cannan, who happened to have been released from prison three days before Lamplugh’s disappearance. He reportedly went by the nickname “Kipper” and resembled the unidentified man seen talking with Lamplugh. In 1989, Cannan was convicted of the murder of another woman and received three life sentences. One of Cannan’s former girlfriends eventually told police that he had bragged about raping and killing Lamplugh, and he was questioned about his role in her disappearance.
Even though the police had a strong circumstantial case against Cannan, there was not enough evidence to charge him with Lamplugh’s murder. Nevertheless, they publicly announced their belief that Cannan was the culprit. Cannan remains incarcerated for the other murder and has always denied murdering Lamplugh.
On the morning of February 27, 1989, the employees of a Norcross, Georgia picture frame company arrived at their workplace and were surprised to find the building flooded. A fire had started near a workstation belonging to 26-year-old computer programmer Lisa Geise, who had been working alone the previous day and was nowhere to be found. The fire had set off the sprinkler system and caused the flood, but that became a secondary concern when a pool of blood was found at Geise’s desk.
Geise’s vehicle and purse were soon located, and authorities feared the worst when they found a large doorstop covered in blood in the nearby woods. Due to the flood inside the building and heavy rains from the previous day, all the blood evidence from the scene was seriously compromised.
The prime suspect was a recently fired employee. This employee may have broken in to vandalize the building and was surprised to see Geise there. At the time, the suspect lived on a large piece of property containing several wells—and, years later, his ex-wife claimed that he once called them “a good place to hide a body.” Even though authorities searched many of these wells, they did not find Geise’s remains, and there is still no evidence to tie the suspect to Geise’s presumed murder.
On the evening of December 20, 2002, 17-year-old Brian Carrick went to work at his shift as a stock boy at the Val’s Foods market in Johnsburg, Illinois. The following day, Carrick’s parents realized that he had not returned home and reported him missing. An investigation found no one from the market who could confirm that Carrick had actually left his job the previous night.
The morning after Carrick’s disappearance, an employee discovered a pool of blood in the market’s walk-in produce freezer. The manager, thinking it had dripped off some raw meat, ordered the employee to clean it up. However, additional drops of blood were discovered throughout the store, and DNA testing confirmed that it belonged to Carrick.
Over the years, allegations surfaced that Carrick’s supervisor, Mario Casciaro, was responsible for his disappearance. After a coworker named Shane Lamb was arrested on drug charges, he implicated both Casciaro and himself. According to Lamb, Carrick had been dealing marijuana for Casciaro and owed him money. When Casciaro enlisted Lamb’s help to confront Carrick about the debt, things got out of hand. They accidentally killed Carrick inside the freezer and then disposed of his body.
In 2010, Casciaro was charged with first-degree murder after Lamb agreed to testify against him in exchange for a reduced sentence. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but in 2013, Casciaro was found guilty and received 26 years in prison. Casciaro continues to maintain his innocence, and Brian Carrick’s body has never been found.
Kim Leggett, 21, worked as a secretary at Ross Cotton Gin in Mercedes, Texas. At 4:30 PM on October 9, 1984, a customer saw Leggett talking to two unidentified males in the parking lot. Approximately 15 minutes later, Leggett’s stepfather received an anonymous phone call stating that Leggett had been kidnapped for ransom.
He initially believed the call was a practical joke, but he soon learned that his stepdaughter was missing from her workplace. Even though her car was parked out front and her purse was still inside, Kim Leggett had completely vanished.
Leggett’s family received a ransom note demanding $250,000 for her return. It appeared to be in her handwriting. Leggett’s stepfather was a pilot, and rumors said she’d been kidnapped because he’d refused to smuggle contraband into Mexico. Leggett also left behind a husband and one-year-old son, and her husband aroused some suspicion as well—he allegedly mentioned his wife’s disappearance to friends before anyone had even been told about it.
Nevertheless, the two males seen talking to Leggett were never identified. After the initial ransom note, no more contact was made with her family about arrangements for a payoff.
In 1990, 52-year-old Trevaline Evans owned a shop called Attic Antiques in the small town of Llangollen in North Wales. On the afternoon of June 16, Evans mysteriously disappeared from the shop. Her car was still parked nearby, and a note on the front door said that she would be back in two minutes.
Evans had purchased an apple and a banana from a nearby establishment at approximately 12:40 PM, and she was seen heading back toward her shop. A banana skin in the wastebasket suggested that she made it back to her workplace, but what actually happened to her is a mystery.
During the course of the day, there were alleged sightings of Evans at different locations throughout town, one of which was close to her home. But if Evans returned to the shop after her two-minute shopping trip and then left again, why was the note still posted on the door? In addition, both her handbag and jacket were left behind inside the shop, along with other items she was planning to take home with her that day.
Over the years, sightings of Evans came in from such places as London, France, and Australia, but none of them were confirmed. An unidentified man was reportedly seen in the shop around the time Evans vanished, but that lead never went anywhere either. After 25 years, Trevaline Evans’s disappearance remains one of the most baffling missing persons cases in the history of the United Kingdom.
In 1992, 17-year-old Kelly Wilson was employed by Northeast Texas Video in the small town of Gilmer. On the evening of January 5, she was working at the video store and allegedly went out to make the nightly deposit at a bank around the corner. It’s unknown if Wilson actually made the deposit, and no one has seen her since. Wilson’s car was later be found in the video store parking lot with one of its tires slashed and her purse still inside.
The case remained cold for two years until some pretty horrific allegations were made about Wilson’s disappearance. The town came to believe that she had been abducted by a satanic cult, who’d sexually assaulted, murdered, and ritually dismembered her.
In January 1994, a grand jury indicted eight suspects for their roles in the alleged murder. Seven of these people belonged to a local backwoods family named the Kerrs, but the eighth suspect was police sergeant James Brown, who had investigated Wilson’s disappearance. The suspects were also accused of sexually abusing their children, some of whom told Child Protective Services that they’d witnessed Wilson’s murder.
However, it soon became apparent that the children had been fed their testimony, and there was no evidence to support any allegations of abuse or murder. The charges against Sergeant Brown and the Kerr family were dropped, and the satanic cult rumors were dismissed. All of the suspects have maintained their innocence in Kelly Wilson’s disappearance, which remains unsolved.
1Paul Armstrong And Steven Lombard
In 1993, a Merced, California company called RTS Towing became the center of a truly bizarre mystery when two seemingly unrelated employees vanished without a trace. Truck drivers Steven Lombard, 33, and Paul Armstrong, 28, had no apparent connection to each other, yet one day in December, they simultaneously disappeared.
That morning, Armstrong was last seen at his house by his girlfriend and was reported missing when he didn’t meet her for lunch. Shortly thereafter, Lombard went to the towing yard to pick up his paycheck. He was not seen again after that, and his pickup truck was soon found abandoned in a K-Mart parking lot with the keys still inside.
The strangest element of this case involves the owner of RTS Towing, Randal Wright, who seems to be surrounded by suspicious events. In 2009, Wright’s estranged wife mysteriously disappeared from the couple’s vacation home in Mexico. She has never been found, and Wright did not bother to inform Mexican authorities about her disappearance.
If that wasn’t enough, Wright’s six-year-old stepson also drowned in a pool in 1982 while Wright was watching him. Even though the child’s death was initially ruled to be an accident, the disappearance of Wright’s wife compelled authorities to exhume his stepson’s body for further investigation. While they found no evidence of foul play, Wright wound up serving jail time for auto theft and embezzlement.
No one knows if Wright had any culpability in his stepson’s death or the disappearance of his wife, but two of his employees going missing on the exact same date seems like a pretty weird coincidence.
Robin Warder is a budding Canadian screenwriter who has used his encyclopedic movie knowledge to publish numerous articles at Cracked.com. He is also the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row and recently worked on a sci-fi short film called Jet Ranger of Another Tomorrow. Feel free to contact him here.