missing persons

20 Former “Missing Persons” Share Exactly What Happened To Them

Every year, we see hundreds of thousands of missing persons cases in the United States. There are plenty of reasons for these cases—from those who accidentally get lost or wander off without telling friends and family, to more nefarious cases of kidnapping and murder.

In either case, there’s often a pretty wild story when it comes to missing persons, which was recently the subject of an Ask Reddit thread:

“Former missing persons, what’s your story?” We’ve compiled some of the best responses below, and they certainly do not disappoint.


I went “missing” for two days last summer. I decided to spend the summer in Colorado, where my boyfriend was moving. I knew my mom would never let me go so I left her a note that said, “I’m spending the summer in Boulder with BF, I will be home before fall quarter. I’ll call you in two days when I arrive! Love you!,” and she DIDN’T SEE IT. Unfortunately, a combination of an old phone that constantly died and backcountry travel (with limited service) made it so she couldn’t contact me for two days. The woman filed a police report and almost killed me when I finally called her. – iwillwhenineedit


When I was in Singapore, must have been primary or junior high school in the early ’80s, we had camping trips that took us to another part of the island with no radio, TV or cellular. It was clear that I was going on this trip to my mother, she even went to the store with me to get supplies.

I was out of contact for the entire week, I was clothed, sheltered, time of my life. I came back to civilization to see my picture on all the TVs on the MRT. She thought the week after. Oof. – strengr


When I was a wee lad when at the age of seven I got on my bike and biked from Ramsey to Anoka. When I was found and sent home I got my ass beat. – mister_fuckinweebUWU


I was out with my friends. I have a mental illness with some psychosis and I felt trapped, like the world was closing in on me and I couldn’t tell anyone. I took off my shoes and left them on the car and walked for maybe four hours around town, ended up at the train tracks thinking that I should lay down on them. I ended up walking back to my friends’ house instead. When I got there, the cops were talking to them and everyone was so relieved. I’m afraid I put them through a few of those scary situations. The nice thing is they are very understanding and cool people and we are all friends still over a decade later. – harlequinnx


I wouldn’t say missing but my whereabouts remained unknown, this all happened back in my primary school days. I think I had a problem with a bully, and back then as a young child, I didn’t cope too well with things. It was after school and I was supposed to be at the after school care that was held on school grounds until my mother picked me up, well in my best wisdom for whatever reason I decided to walk home, I think I lived a good 3 or 4KM’s from the school and this may not seem like much but to a young person like myself it was, I walked home the long way (I don’t know why) and I got home and the house was locked up with nobody home and I couldn’t get in.

At the time we had chickens so I spent time down by their cage and I think eventually my mother came home looking for me, apparently, she went to pick me up from after school care and I, of course, wasn’t there but the lady running it said I’d been sent up to the school office, mum goes to the school office and checks and I’m of course not there, IIRC she decided for whatever reason to check home and luckily she did because I was out at the back, I think I got the talking too of course and she told me if I wasn’t there she was going to call the police & file a missing report.

Not one of my brightest moments as a young child. – NoNant64


Wasn’t a missing person per se, but when I was around 9 months old my sister and I went up to our dad’s house for the weekend as per usual but her refused to bring us back for like 2 weeks and the worst part was that what he was doing wasn’t kidnapped because he refused to sign the divorce papers so he still had full custody instead of partial. (All of this comes from my mom and grandparents.) – ryanWM103103


Only missing for about 5 hours, brother, mom, dog, and myself went for a walk on what we thought was just a little turn around the trail, and turns out it was a HUGE trail that was over 200 miles long. We were barefoot in swimsuits, found about 15 miles away from where we started on a gravel access road around 9 pm… the police and equisearch had been called out, it was kinda nutty. – kaymo93


I developed a serious mental illness. As a result, I went from getting a graduate degree to being on the streets the next spring. There was a Facebook page “Have you seen [my name]”

I was on the streets for about 8 months. Sleeping on benches. The cops pulled a gun on me for asking strange questions. Someone put a gun to my head while I slept. I was beaten with blood everywhere a couple of times. I would never fight back. I was arrested for sleeping on a bench. That being said many people were very kind to me. People would buy me a meal fairly often.

Finally, I was deemed incompetent to stand trial for a minor (non-violent) charge and got help and saw a psychiatrist that actually asked me questions and cared about me. Before that, they would hold me 2-3 days and release me without even asking any questions. I remember occasionally sleeping in the park across from the White House. Weird to be within that distance of the president of the United States while homeless. At one point the secret service took me to the hospital for being strange there. (Not a delusion.)

I haven’t been homeless for a few years now. Live with a roommate. See my doctor every month. Just needed some help and compassion (and meds). Life is pretty good now. – gingeronimooo


Mom decided to run off with me, lmao. I was 9ish. I didn’t see my dad for six months. I don’t even know what happened or why we left. She was in the hospital and I don’t know why. It was fucked up. I ended up in a different school and the kids hated me for some reason. Don’t have a single pleasant memory from that time. My mom was barely taking care of me, so I had to learn how to do things on my own. My parents have never explained any of it to me and we never talked about it. I stayed up all night just sitting and staring at a wall. I wasn’t warned before we left or anything. I was picked up from school and told to pack up. Hm. I am just now realizing that this isn’t exactly “healthy.” – probgonnakms


I was about five and staying at my grandparents’ 500-acre farm for the summer. My cousin, who is 8 years older than me, was going to the pond to fish with his friends. I wanted to go but he said I had to ask my mom first. She was in the living room with all the other grownups and I was afraid she’d say no, so I lied and told my cousin I had permission. I went to the pond and had a blast until we heard my grandfather on horseback calling my name.

To my credit, I fessed up to lying when they started yelling at my cousin for letting me come along with them without checking with my mom first. – ExGomiGirl

Stacey Ritzen

Stacey is an amateur cat hoarder who lives in West Philadelphia. No really, your Fresh Prince joke is super original please let me hear it.