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10 Couples Who Mysteriously Vanished
It’s often seen as a romantic idea for a loving couple to run away and disappear, leaving everything behind in order to start a new life together. However, in real life, it rarely ever works that way. Whenever you hear a story about a couple disappearing together, it usually happens under very sinister, mysterious circumstances and only winds up causing anguish for their loved ones. Here are ten couples of various ages who simply vanished without a trace one day and have not been seen since.
54-year old Michael Sullivan and his 36-year old girlfriend, Camden Sylvia, lived in a loft together in Manhattan when they left to go jogging on the evening of November 7, 1997. When no one heard from them for several days, Camden’s mother came to visit their loft. The couple was not there and aside from their running shoes, a pair of house keys and Camden’s bag, all of their personal items had been left behind. After they were reported missing, suspicion immediately fell on their landlord, Robert Rodriguez, who was reportedly having financial problems at the time and wanted to increase his tenants’ rent by an exorbitant amount.
Rodriguez had threatened to turn off the building’s heat if the tenants did not agree to the rent increase, but on the day she disappeared, Camden presented him with a signed petition. The tenants all stated they would withhold their rent payments if Rodriguez followed through on his threat. Right after Camden and Michael went missing, Rodriguez would himself disappear for two weeks without explanation, and he was later sentenced to six years in prison for larceny, tax fraud and credit card fraud. Rodriguez has since been released and though rumours persist that he may have been responsible for the disappearances, there is no evidence to prove this and he has always maintained his innocence. The whereabouts of Michael Sullivan and Camden Sylvia are still unknown.
Glen and Bessie Hyde were a newlywed couple from Twin Falls, Idaho who decided to spend their honeymoon going on a rafting trip down the Green and Colorado Rivers in October 1928. On November 15, they stopped at the home of a photographer named Emory Kolb to restock supplies. Shortly after leaving Kolb’s property, they disappeared. In December, a rescue party found the Hydes’ abandoned boat on the river. The boat’s tow line had gotten caught on something underwater and while the scow was fully stocked with supplies and all the couple’s personal belongings, there was no sign of Glen or Bessie.
Since Glen had refused to bring any life jackets on the trip, it was theorized that the couple had either drowned or attempted to hike out of the Grand Canyon and died in the woods. Over the years, however, their disappearance has been surrounded with urban legends involving murder. In 1971, a woman named Elizabeth Cutler claimed she was Bessie Hyde and that she had stabbed her husband to death before going off to start a new life. However, she later recanted this story. After Emory Kolb died, skeletal remains were found on his property with a bullet wound in the skull. These remains were initially believed to be Glen, but turned out to be someone else. After nearly 85 years, there is still no conclusive ending to the story of Glen and Bessie Hyde.
On the evening of May 15, 1970, Edward and Stephania Andrews, a couple in their early sixties, were both attending a cocktail party at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago. Other guests noticed that as the night wore on, Edward appeared to become ill. The manager of the underground parking garage claimed that Edward was staggering to his Oldsmobile before he left and that Stephania was crying and asking him not to drive home. Edward accidentally hit the garage door before exiting and he was last seen driving the wrong way down Michigan Avenue.
Authorities initially theorized that Edward might have become disoriented and drove off a nearby bridge into the Chicago River. However, an extensive search of the water turned up no trace of the couple or their vehicle. In 1980, a full clean-up of the river produced twelve vehicles, but none of them were the Andrewses’ Oldsmobile. The case took a different turn in 1994 when an informant told police that Edward and Stephania had been murdered that night by gang members, who placed the couple’s bodies in their car and submerged it in a pond near Green Oaks. However, a search of the pond turned up nothing. After more than 40 years, it’s still unknown what happened to Edward and Stephania Andrews that night.
On July 27, 2006, Christopher Mittendorf, a 21-year resident of Hardin County, Tennessee, left to go on a shopping trip with his 17-year old fiancee, Kristina Branum. They were both living with Christopher’s mother at the time. When she returned to their apartment later that day, she discovered that the couple had purchased some new clothes, which were laid out on a bed. However, Christopher and Kristina were nowhere to be found.
Five days later, the couple’s car was found abandoned in a rural area about 50-60 miles away. One of their cell phones was left behind inside and a witness claimed to have seen them leaving the vehicle there before they climbed into a white car, which drove away. Christopher’s mother believes that one possible suspect in the disappearance is a career criminal named George Baugus. She claims to have found a lock box inside her apartment containing items which belonged to Baugus and wonders if Christopher and Kristina might have stolen them and made themselves a target. However, Baugus was murdered by his wife in 2010 before any evidence could be found to link him to the disappearances. Since that potential lead has gone cold, no one has any idea what could have happened to the young couple and they remain missing.
37-year old Claude Shelton and his 27-year old wife, Martha Sue, lived with their three children at a residence in a trailer park in Corbin, Kentucky. On the evening of May 21, 1971, the couple put their children to bed and then left the trailer park in their Ford Galaxie. Neither the Sheltons nor their car has ever been seen again. No one believed that the couple would have willingly abandoned their children, so authorities were completely baffled about what might have compelled them to drive away and leave their kids alone in the middle of the night.
One of the Shelton children claimed they overheard Claude asking Sue, “Are you going with me or are you going to stay here?” before hinting that they were going to drive to King’s Truck Stop, which was five miles away. However, authorities could not find anyone from the truck stop who remembered seeing them there that night. The Sheltons had also saved up over $600, which they kept in a bowl in the kitchen, but that money disappeared along with them. Two months after the couple went missing, the body of an unidentified woman was found in Oregon which resembled Sue and in 2009, DNA tests were performed to check for a possible match. However, the body turned out not to be her, so the fate of the Sheltons remains a mystery.
Danielle Imbo & Richard Petrone, a Philadelphia couple in their mid-thirties, spent the evening of February 19, 2005 having drinks with friends. At around 11:30 PM, they left the establishment in Richard’s Dodge Dakota pickup truck. After that, they just seemed to vanish off the face of the Earth. Since then, there has been no activity on their bank accounts or credit cards and their cell phones have remained turned off. Danielle and Richard each had a child from a previous relationship and it seemed unlikely that they would just abandon them.
It was suspected that the couple might have accidentally driven into the nearby Delaware River, but while a search of the water turned up several submerged vehicles, none of them were Richard’s pickup truck. Authorities soon investigated Danielle’s estranged husband, Joe Imbo, who had allegedly exchanged threats with Richard over the phone. In fact, Danielle had also reportedly told Richard she wanted to break up with him, though she still agreed to go out with him on the night they disappeared. All these suspicions have caused a lot of tension between Danielle and Richard’s separate families, though there is no evidence to suggest foul play on anyone’s part. However, after eight years, there is still no trace of Danielle Imbo, Richard Petrone or their vehicle.
In May 2005, Hue Pham and Hue Tran, a retired Vietnamese-American couple who had been together 49 years, embarked on a seven-day Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Cruise Line ship, “Destiny”. They took their daughter, Sharon, and granddaughter along with them. At around midnight on May 8, Sharon received a phone call in her cabin, asking her to retrieve some items from the reception desk. They turned out to be her parents’ flip-flops and her mother’s purse. They had been found on a deck the couple liked to frequent, but there was no sign of them anywhere.
Sharon immediately searched for her parents and informed the crew about their disappearance, but it took them hours to make an official announcement and inform the Coast Guard. The deck where the couple went missing overlooked a 70-foot drop into the ocean, but the ship continued on course and did not turn around to search the area where they could have fallen overboard. The cruise line suggested that they may have committed suicide, but their family did not believe that at all. Days later, the FBI finally conducted an investigation and while they ruled out suicide, they could also find no evidence of foul play. The Pham children have been highly critical of how Carnival Cruise Line has handled the disappearance and even testified before Congress about improving safety measures on cruise ships. However, they have yet to receive any answers about what really happened to their parents.
On July 27, 1973, 16-year old Mitchel Weiser met his 15-year old girlfriend Bonita Bickwit at her workplace in Narrowsburg, New York. They planned to hitchhike to a concert festival 75 miles away in Watkins Glen. They were given a short ride by a truck driver and were last seen hitchhiking on State Route 97, but after that, they disappeared and it’s unknown whether they even made it to the concert. Authorities initially suspected that the young couple ran away together, but their families did not believe this.
The case took an interesting turn in 2000 when a witness named Allyn Smith came forward and claimed that after the concert, he hitched a ride on a Volkswagen bus and interacted with two teenagers who may have been Mitchel and Bonita. Smith said that when they stopped to go swimming in a river, Bonita got into trouble in the water and Mitchel dived in to save her. After they were both swept away, the bus driver apparently told Smith he would call the police at the next available phone, but there is no record of any call being made. While authorities don’t discount Smith’s story, they do find it strange that he made no attempt to help the couple and waited 26 years to come forward. Since there is no evidence to confirm if Smith’s story is true, Mitchel and Bonita are still officially considered missing.
One of the most baffling missing persons cases in the history of Ireland occurred in 1991 when an elderly couple named Conor and Sheila Dwyer mysteriously vanished from the town of Fermoy. The last confirmed sighting of them was when they attended Mass at St. Patrick’s church on April 30. After not hearing from them for weeks, Sheila’s sister decided to visit the couple’s home on May 18. When nobody answered, she decided to notify the police. They arrived and broke down the door, but could find no sign of the Dwyers inside.
The Dwyers’ Toyota Cressida was nowhere to be found, but their home was otherwise completely normal. There were no signs of struggle, robbery or forced entry. The house was secure and all their personal items, including their clothing and glasses, were still there. The couples’ passports and over £1000 in cash were stashed in a tin. Curiously enough, investigators found out that Conor Dwyer had previously gone missing for a couple of years sometime in the 1980s. He eventually returned, but never provided any explanation about where he had been. Unfortunately, history would not repeat itself and Conor didn’t return this time around. Authorities have not found any evidence to suggest what might have happened to the couple and 20 years later, this remains one of Ireland’s strangest unsolved mysteries.
Sometime after the evening of March 5, 1957, 52-year old William Patterson and his 42-year old wife, Margaret, vanished from their home in El Paso, Texas. The couple’s vehicles had been left behind, along with their cat and the house seemed to be in disarray. It was initially believed that they had left for Florida on an extended vacation, but a neighbor finally reported the Pattersons missing five months later. The neighbor had been at the Patterson home on the night of their disappearance and said they seemed very upset.
A mysterious letter from William soon appeared, providing specific instructions about how his businesses and properties were to be distributed to three of his employees. Authorities suspected the note was not actually written by William and one of these employees was seen working on William’s boat at the Patterson home right before they vanished. In 1984, a man who had been hired to clean the Patterson home after their disappearance claimed he found some blood under the water heater and a piece of human scalp on the boat’s propeller. He also saw one of the aforementioned employees removing bloody sheets and putting them in the trunk of his car, but waited 27 years to tell police since he was an illegal immigrant at the time. While there are still no answers in the Pattersons’ disappearance, their old house still remains… and is rumored to be haunted by their ghosts!
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“.