People in the world go missing all the time. While the most high-profile missing person cases are usually about “normal” people, there have been several instances throughout history in which someone famous is the one who vanished. From well-known socialites, to rock stars, to former athletes, no one is really exempt from disappearing. While many of these people have been missing for decades (and have probably passed on) the fact that their bodies or their remains have yet to turn up remains the ultimate mystery. Could they still be alive? The world may never know.
Michael Rockefeller – Last Seen In 1961
Michael Rockefeller was a fourth-generation member of the famed Rockefeller family. His father was Nelson Rockefeller, who was New York’s Governor and later a U.S. Vice President. Michael Rockefeller went on an expedition for Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ehtnology to study native tribes of New Guinea.
Rockefeller was last seen on November 17, 1961 when he and Dutch anthropologist René Wassing were overturned on their boat near New Guinea. It’s believed that Rockefeller died from exhaustion after trying to swim to shore, but his body was never recovered. He was legally declared dead in 1964.
Richey Edwards – Last Seen In 1995
Richey Edwards was the guitarist and lyricist for mid-’90s Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers. Edwards was known as “a lightning rod of sorts for adolescent angst,” according to The Guardian and was also known for his battle with depression.
When he first went missing in February 1995, many believed it was another of his crazy stunts, as he was set to tour with the band in the U.S. But Edwards never returned and his car was last seen parked by the Severn Bridge between England and Wales. He was legally declared dead in 2008, but no body has been found.
Oscar Zeta Acosta – Last Seen In 1974
Oscar Zeta Acosta was an attorney, novelist, and activist prominent during the Chicano Movement. He is known for his 1972 novel Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and The Revolt of the Cockroach People, which came out the following year.
He also became known through his friendship with author Hunter S. Thompson. In May 1974, Acosta disappeared while traveling throughout Mazatlán, Mexico and was never heard from again. Thompson’s attempts to find Acosta turned up fruitless, leading the former to believe he was a victim of a political coup or a drug cartel. Acosta is forever immortalized as the “Samoan attorney” Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Harold Holt – Last Seen In 1967
Harold Holt was the former Prime Minister of Australia during the late ’60s. Holt fancied himself an outdoorsman and had a particular affinity for spearfishing. Holt wasn’t afraid of the water and loved swimming, though he could tread water better than he could surface swim.
On December 17, 1967 Holt and some friends were returning to shore on a yacht when he suggested they stop by Cheviot Beach for a swim. Holt swam far out and never returned. After a massive search, he was declared dead in absentia and its widely believed that he drowned. No body found and this theory has never been proven.
Bison Dele – Last Seen In 2002
Before he was Bison Dele, he was Brian Williams, an NBA player who won a championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1997. Williams was one of the NBA’s more eclectic players who renounced basketball and retired in the prime of his career.
He went on to explore new countries and new hobbies, most notably sailing. In the early 2000’s he planned to voyage from Tahiti to Hawaii. Dele, his girlfriend, older brother, and the ship’s captain set out on Dele’s catamaran on July 6, 2002. Dele, the girlfriend, and captain were never seen again. Dele’s older brother was later found dead in Mexico and is presumed to have killed the other voyagers.
Connie Converse – Last Seen In 1974
Connie Converse was a singer-songwriter in New York City during the 1950s. Her futile attempts at establishing herself with her music led her to ditch the city for Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she became a writer and editor for the University of Michigan’s Journal of Conflict Resolution.
She lost the job when the publication moved to Yale and by 1973 became terribly depressed. The following year, she wrote personal letters to family and friends, announcing her intention to start a new life somewhere else. Converse was never heard from or seen again, but her music would gain traction many decades later.
Jim Sullivan – Last Seen In 1975
After moving to Los Angeles in the late ’60s, Jim Sullivan became a singer-songwriter who had the potential to hit it big. He only recorded one album, U.F.O., which was released in 1969 and regarded for the way Sullivan blended country, folk, and rock.
Seeing the potential in his talent, Sullivan set out in his Volkswagen Beetle on March 4, 1975 for Nashville, but he would never make it. His car was later found outside of Santa Rosa, New Mexico with his money, papers, and guitar left inside. Sullivan had vanished without a trace and has never turned up since.
Glenn Miller – Last Seen In 1944
Glen Miller was a big-band trombonist and bandleader during the swing era of the 1940s. When World War II began, Miller did his civic duty and enlisted in the Air Force. On December 15, 1944, Miller was ordered to fly to Paris, where he was going to meet his band for a performance.
Miller boarded a single-engine UC-64 Norseman with two other passengers, but they would never touch down in Europe. Miller and the other two passengers were never heard from again, but if they crashed, the wreckage and their bodies were never found.
Glenn Miller’s Plane Might Have Been Located In 1987
Seventy-five years after the plane carrying Glenn Miller and two other occupants disappeared over the English channel, some new information led authorities to believe they might be able to recover the wreckage. In 1987, a local fisherman discovered the remains of a crashed plane in an area known as Portland Bill. Not thinking much of it, he let the craft drop back down to the seabed.
It wasn’t until years later that the fisherman saw pictures of Miller’s plane. He recognized it as the same type he had found and contacted authorities. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is on the case. Executive director Ric Gillespie was cautiously optimistic about finding the aircraft. “Some of the details of what [the fisherman] remembers seeing don’t match the Miller aircraft … but you don’t expect a perfect memory after decades,” he said. But “we cannot find any reason that the aircraft he pulled up could not be the Miller aircraft – we have not eliminated that possibility.”
Rico Harris – Last Seen In 2014
Rico Harris played for the Harlem Globetrotters. He had the potential to forge a lasting career until alcoholism forced him out of the sport and working a menial security guard job. After getting fired from that job due to his drinking problems, Harris set out from LA to Seattle to live with his girlfriend. In 2014, he was on his way back up from visiting his mother in California, but he would never make it back to Seattle.
His car was later found abandoned alongside the interstate outside of Sacramento. A backpack and phone with a video of him were found on the roadside, but Harris himself was nowhere to be found.
Barbara Newhall Follett – Last Seen In 1939
Barbara Newhall Follett could’ve been the next great American writer, but her disappearance in 1939 is not the cause for her lack of career success. Follett was a literary prodigy who published her first novel, The House Without Windows, at the age of 13. Shortly after, her family fell on hard times, which led Follett to give up her craft.
Follett married in 1933, but eventually became depressed when she suspected her husband of cheating. On December 7, 1939, she left their apartment and was never seen again. Her mother didn’t find out about her leaving until 1952 and it didn’t become public news until 1966.
Theodosia Burr Alston – Last Seen In 1812
You may know of her through “Dear Theodosia” from the critically acclaimed musical Hamilton, but the real daughter of Aaron Burr had quite a tragic story in real life. Theodosia Burr Alston became well-known after her father, then-Vice President under Thomas Jefferson, killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
The elder Burr was never tried, and his daughter Theodosia would eventually help him flee the country after he was acquitted of treason. By 1812, Burr sent for Theodosia who was to come to Europe. She boarded the boat at the end of that year, but was never heard from or seen again.
Sean Flynn – Last Seen In 1970
Sean Flynn was the only son of Hollywood’s swash-buckling actor Errol Flynn and his first wife actress Lili Damita. The younger Flynn made his first appearances on camera as a teen on his father’s show, The Errol Flynn Theatre. After graduating from Duke, Sean Flynn followed in his father’s footsteps to become an actor, but was always in his shadow.
He retired from acting to become a photojournalist and in 1966 flew to Vietnam to document the war. Flynn was relatively successful in this new field, but eventually disappeared on the job in 1970. Never found or heard from again, his mother declared him dead in absentia in 1984.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Last Seen In 1944
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was the French author of The Little Prince. He was also an avid aviator who once crash-landed in the middle of the Libyan desert and wandered for a week before he was miraculously found.
By the time World War II came around, the author wanted to help his native France and became a pilot, albeit a risky one who’d make a lot of mistakes on his missions. July 31, 1944 was the last time anyone has ever heard from him before he embarked on a mission over the Mediterranean. In 2000, wreckage from his plane was found, but there was no body.
Jim Thompson – Last Seen In 1967
Jim Thompson was the most famous American living in Asia when he disappeared in 1967. Thompson was a businessman who formerly worked for the Office of Strategic Services (which would eventually turn into the CIA.) After World War II, Thompson went into private business and was known for revitalizing the Thai silk industry.
He lived in Bangkok during the ’60s but traveled to Malaysia to conduct some business. March 26, 1967, was the last time Thompson was seen in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. Malaysian authorities searched for eleven days with no success and Thompson’s body was never found.
Ambrose Bierce – Last Seen In 1913
Ambrose Bierce has long been regarded as one of the most masterful authors in American history. Known for works such as The Devil’s Dictionary and Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, Bierce has become required reading in American literature for decades after his disappearance.
A veteran of the Civil War, Bierce somehow found his way into Mexico and joined Pancho Villa’s army as an observer during the Mexican Revolution. In a letter dated December 26, 1913, he wrote to a close friend: “As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination.” Bierce was never heard from or seen again.
Amelia Earhart – Last Seen In 1937
Amelia Earhart’s disappearance is probably what makes her story all the more astounding. The first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart was making strides for women. She wrote about her flying experiences in best-selling books and even started The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
She famously went missing during her attempt to circumnavigate the world by plane in 1937. Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in the central Pacific Ocean. Her last messages reported of low fuel while in the air. Their bodies and the remains of their plane were never found.
Lord Lucan – Last Seen In 1974
John Bingham was popularly known throughout the United Kingdom as Lord Lucan. As the 7th Earl of Lucan, the British peer was a socialite with expensive taste and an affinity for gambling. After his marriage collapsed and a failed custody battle, Lucan became obsessed with getting his children back.
On November 7, 1974, the children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death in the Lucan household. The original target was intended to be Lady Lucan, and it’s widely believed that Lord Lucan was Rivett’s murderer. His car was found abandoned in Newhaven and though police put a warrant out for his arrest, Lord Lucan never turned up.
Ylenia Carrisi – Last Seen In 1994
Ylenia Carrisi was the daughter of famous Italian performers Albano Carrisi and Romina Power. An aspiring novelist, Ylenia had appeared in a film with her parents and was also a letter-turner on the Italian version of Wheel of Fortune.
While visiting New Orleans, Louisiana in 1994, Ylenia disappeared and has not been seen since. In December of 2014, she was declared “presumed dead” at the request of her father.
Dorothy Arnold – Last Seen In 1910
Dorothy Arnold was a New York City socialite in the early 20th century who tried to make it as a writer. After her first rejection from McClure’s magazine, her family never let her live it down. Arnold asked her father, perfume importer Francis Arnold, if she could have her own apartment, but he forbade her from leaving home claiming “a good writer can write from anywhere.”
On December 12, 1910, Arnold left home to go shopping but would never return home. Store clerks and friends who ran into her that day reported no unusual behavior, which made her disappearance all the more mysterious.
Scott Smith – Last Seen In 2000
Canadian rocker Scott Smith disappeared in 2000, though many believe he died in a boating accident. Smith was the bassist for Loverboy, whose hits “This Could Be the Night” and “Working for the Weekend” became huge in the ’80s.
In November 2000, Smith and his friends embarked on a sailing trip to Mexico from Vancouver. Near San Francisco, a large wave took over the boat and Smith vanished. He probably was swept overboard, but U.S. Coast Guard searches for his body or remains turned up fruitless. Though he most likely died from this incident, the fact that his body was never found remains a mystery.
Joe Pichler – Last Seen In 2006
Joe Pichler was a child actor with dreams of making it to the big leagues in Hollywood. He had minor roles on television and a steady job playing Brandon Newton in the Beethoven movies.
In 2003, Pichler’s parents urged him to return home to Washington state to finish high school. After graduating in 2005, Pichler planned to return to Los Angeles after he got his braces off. Pichler was last seen by friends on January 5, 2006. His car was found a few days later at an intersection and was reported missing. Pichler has yet to be heard from or seen since his disappearance.
Ozzy Osbourne – Went Missing In 2016
Former Black Sabbath member Ozzy Osbourne was reported missing in May 2016. Osborne was reportedly kicked out of the house by wife Sharon due to infidelity. Their marriage at the time was reportedly on the rocks with Sharon telling The Talk, “I can’t keep living like this.”
After Osbourne’s children tried to contact him for days with no answers, they grew concerned, worrying that he may have fallen off the wagon. But just hours after Page Six reported Osbourne as missing, another tabloid reported he was alive and well in Los Angeles.
Nick Stahl – Went Missing In 2012
Nick Stahl was a child actor who gained prominence in 1993’s The Man Without a Face. Stahl was able to continue acting into adulthood, notably for his performance as John Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Unfortunately, the price he paid for fame was a drug addiction.
After TMZ reported that the actor went missing in May 2012, Stahl emailed his friends to let them know he was checking into rehab, which he did. But he caused concern again when he checked out of rehab against doctor’s orders. His wife decided not to look for him, but luckily he turned up and they reconciled.
Sinéad O’Connor – Went Missing In 2016
In 2016, Sinéad O’Connor went missing in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette. She went for a bike ride on the morning of May 15th never returned home. A few days prior, she posted an emotional Facebook message about her son. The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer has publicly dealt with depression in the past and has even attempted suicide.
When family reported her missing, they suspected the worst. But the alert was called off when police found O’Connor alive and well at a hotel. She was missing for over 24 hours and balked at the reports that she was thinking of committing suicide.
Chelsea O’Donnell – Went Missing In 2015
Rosie O’Donnell had a scare in 2015 when her daughter Chelsea went missing for a week that August. The former television host tweeted that her then 17-year-old daughter had been missing from their New York home along with her 6-month-old therapy puppy.
A week later, Chelsea O’Donnell was found in Barnegat, New Jersey hiding out with a 25-year-old drug dealer she had met earlier on Tinder. She returned home unharmed, but later in a paid interview with Daily Mail claimed her mother had kicked her out of the house for smoking marijuana.
Kurt Cobain – Missing In 1994
In 1994, Kurt Cobain was missing for several days before he was found dead in his Seattle home, along with a shotgun facing his head and a suicide note. Cobain was known to struggle with substance abuse and was checked into a Los Angeles rehab facility on March 30, 1994.
The following night, he broke out of the facility and flew to Seattle. Wife Courtney Love hired a private investigator to find Cobain up there, to no avail. It wasn’t until April 8 that an electrician found Cobain dead in his home. He’d apparently been dead for a few days before he was found. If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Katherine Jackson – Went Missing In 2012
In 2012, Jackson family matriarch Katherine Jackson made national headlines when she was reported missing. Michael Jackson’s children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, have been trying to contact their grandmother for 10 days with no response, which led her nephew Trent Jackson to file a missing person’s report.
Not long after, she was found alive and well at a spa in Arizona. She reportedly was going to ride to New Mexico to see the Jackson’s Unity show but was told by a physician she should fly. The plane she boarded took her to Arizona instead of New Mexico, and when she got to the spa they took away all forms of communication from her.
Margot Kidder – Went Missing In 1996
Margot Kidder was known for playing Lois Lane to Christopher Reeve’s version of Superman in 1978. But in 1996, three days after she was reported missing, she was found hiding in the bushes of a stranger’s yard in a Los Angeles suburb.
Kidder was found disheveled and bruised up, but apparently, it was due to living in the bushes for several days. It was later revealed that Kidder suffered from bipolar disorder and had suffered a mental breakdown. She was on the run after she believed her first husband and the CIA were “trying to kill” her.
Jason Mewes – Missing In 2001
Jason Mewes, who played the vocal half of Jay and Silent Bob, went missing for a couple years in the early 2000’s. In 1999, Mewes was arrested for heroin possession and later sentenced to community service, drug counseling, and regular court appearances.
In 2001, another warrant for Mewes’s arrest was issued after he failed to make a court appearance. No one knew of his whereabouts or heard from him for a couple years. Finally in 2003, Mewes surrendered and turned himself in. He was ordered to enter a six-month rehab program. After several years of struggling with his addiction, Mewes has been clean since 2010.
J-Kwon – Missing In 2010
You may not recognize rapper J-Kwon by name, but you may have heard his 2004 hit “Tipsy.” In 2010, the rapper went missing which sent his record label, Gracie Productions, ablaze trying to uncover his whereabouts. After no word from him for a month, people grew concerned and Gracie Productions even set up the account @WhereIsJKwon on Twitter.
At one point, J-Kwon’s people were going door to door looking for tips. Once word got out, J-Kwon contacted his friends and family to let them know he was okay. Apparently he was taking time to himself and didn’t realize people would notice his absence.
Casey Kasem – Went Missing In 2014
Casey Kasem was America’s beloved host of American Top 40 and also the voice of Scooby-Doo’s Shaggy for many years. In 2014, the television personality briefly went missing. Kasem’s daughter Kerri filed a missing person’s report in May 2014 after he disappeared from his home.
At the time, Kasem was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and was no longer able to talk. Just hours after the report was filed, Kasem was found in Washington state. Apparently, Kasem’s wife Jean took him to visit friends up north. The case was solved but unfortunately, Kasem passed away a month later due to complications from Lewy body dementia.
Mark Sanford – Missing In 2009
Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford went missing in June 2009 and caused a nationwide stir. Sanford was missing from June 18th until June 24th. His wife Jenny seemed nonplussed at first but did say it was the longest he’s ever been gone without a word.
When it became national news, Sanford’s representatives said that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, which turned out to be a lie. Sanford had gone to Argentina to be with his mistress, which is ostensibly why his wife didn’t seem to care. She reportedly found out about the affair earlier that year and had already started trial separation.
Jesse Camp – Went Missing In July 2018
Jesse Camp was popular in 1998 when he won MTV’s “Wanna Be a VJ” contest. That same year, he was in a band called Jesse & the 8th Street Kidz but after releasing an album with them, he relatively fell out of the spotlight.
In 2018, however, it seemed he had fallen off the grid as well. His sister filed a missing person’s report that July after she hadn’t spoken to him in a week, which she said was unusual. He eventually was found alive and well and explained to DailyMail.com that it was just a case of poor communication and phone problems.
Andrew Koenig – Went Missing In 2010
Andrew Koenig followed in his father Walter’s footsteps to become an actor. The younger Koenig is known for his recurring role as Richard Stabone in Growing Pains. Unbeknownst to his family at the time, Koenig sold all his possessions in Los Angeles before traveling to Vancouver in February 2010.
Walter Koenig and his wife received an alarming letter from their son and after he failed to board a flight back to LA, they filed a missing person’s report. Eventually, Andrew Koenig’s lifeless body was found in a park. His family later revealed that he suffered from depression.If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Richard Stanley – Went Missing In 1996
Director Richard Stanley was fired from the set of The Island of Doctor Moreau in 1996. He was to be escorted back to Los Angeles from Australia, but when the plane arrived at LAX, Stanley was nowhere to be found.
Apparently, Stanley was found a month later “living rough in the jungle: he’d fled from the airport to a fruit plantation, where he’d been subsiding on yams, cassava, and coconuts, along with his substantial personal stash of marijuana,” according to a report in The Telegraph. He even at one point snuck back onto the movie set by dressing as a mutant dog.
Philip Taylor Kramer – Went Missing In 1995
Philip Taylor Kramer was a bass player for Iron Butterfly but he was also a brilliant scientist who founded Total Multimedia Inc. in 1990. By 1994, the company was reorganized under bankruptcy, which allegedly left Kramer distraught.
In 1995, he was supposed to pick up a business associate at the airport but never showed up. He made a flurry of confusing calls before he was never heard from again. A massive search for him ensued, to no avail. It wasn’t until 1999 that his minivan and skeletal remains were found in a canyon near Malibu. The death was ruled a probable suicide although evidence suggests otherwise. If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
James Allan – Went Missing In 2009
James Allan is the lead singer and guitarist of the Scottish band Glasvegas, who had the honor of touring with Kings of Leon back in 2009. That same year, Allan scared his band when he suddenly went missing.
They grew concerned after he failed to show up for a performance at the Mercury Prize awards ceremony. The band had no idea where he was, but after word got out, he contacted his manager to let them know he was okay and preparing for the tour. Apparently, Allan didn’t have a cell phone at the time, which led to a lot of miscommunication.
Patrick McDermott – Went Missing In 2005
Patrick McDermott was a former Hollywood cameraman and on-and-off boyfriend of Olivia Newton-John. In June 2005, McDermott embarked on a fishing trip with 22 other passengers and three crew members and was never seen again. Apparently, nobody noticed until McDermott failed to show up to a family event the following month.
The disappearance sparked national interest and was even featured on Dateline NBC and America’s Most Wanted. In 2009, investigators concluded McDermott was alive somewhere in Mexico with many believing he was avoiding the thousands of dollars of debt that he was in at the time.
Michael Cavallari – Went Missing In 2015
Reality television personality Kristin Cavallari was upset to discover that her brother Michael had gone missing in November 2015. Michael Cavallari reportedly had a history of run-ins with the law, his most recent arrest happening just days before his disappearance.
His car was found abandoned along a Utah highway before he was reported missing. Two weeks later, his body was found in brush close to a highway exit. Authorities concluded that Cavavllari died from prolonged exposure to the elements. His death was ruled accidental and caused by hypothermia from extremely cold temperatures.
Sasha Mitchell – Went Missing In 1996
Sasha Mitchell is best known for playing the cheese-headed Cody Lambert on the sitcom Step by Step. In 1996, a warrant for Mitchell’s arrest was issued after violating his probation and leaving the Los Angeles area. Listed as a fugitive, Mitchell was involved with the law in the first place on charges of spousal abuse.
Eventually, Mitchell turned up and claimed that the charges were brought against him because he was trying to protect his children from their mother. After everything was cleared up, Mitchell eventually gained full custody of his children and remarried in 2010.