According to the Wall Street Journal an astounding 8-million children go missing around the world each year. In the US alone over 800,000 children go missing annually. That figure is probably underestimated due to the children that go missing and are unreported. There are non-family abductions, runaways, family abductions, and involuntary events such as accidents or vehicle crashes, causing injury, and the person is unable to notify family or friends of their whereabouts. The majority of children are safely found and/or returned, but for the families and friends of those that go missing and are never found—that is of no comfort.
A missing child is a person defined under the age of 18. Countries around the world have systems in place that don’t require a specific amount of time before they can be put into action to expedite finding the lost child. People over the age of 18 are often required to be missing a certain amount of hours or days before a missing persons report can be filed and authorities are notified to start looking for the missing person. This can be extremely frustrating for loved ones as crucial minutes tick by before they can receive help. Adults that go missing oftentimes do so willingly for either personal or financial reasons.
Over the course of history, children and adults have gone missing under some very scary circumstances. Here are 15 of the scariest unsolved missing person cases.
15. Amy Lynn Bradley
In 1998, 23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley went missing while on a Caribbean cruise. Her father last saw her asleep on the stateroom’s balcony around 5am. When he got up at 6am she had disappeared. The ship was searched from top to bottom. Nothing turned up. Investigators do not believe she fell overboard or committed suicide.
In 1999, a member of the U.S. military came forward to say he had talked with a woman that identified herself as Amy Bradley while he was visiting a brothel. He said she asked for help, but before he could ask questions, she was quickly whisked upstairs. He held onto this information and didn’t tell the authorities for several months. By the time he came forward and police were sent to the location, the brothel was no longer there. In 2005, Amy’s parents revealed a photo they received on the Dr. Phil Show. It showed a woman that resembled Amy dressed in trashy lingerie posing on a bed. She looked disheveled and possibly drugged. Her parents said they believe Amy might have been kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. There is a $250,000 reward offered for Amy’s safe return.
14. Harold Holt
Harold Holt was the 17th Prime Minister of Australia. Harold was a very experienced swimmer and diver. He was well-known for his endurance and athleticism.
On December 17th, 1967, while out relaxing and swimming with his family and friends at Cheviot Beach, Harold disappeared. One of Australia’s largest rescue operations was launched but no sign of Harold was found. There are many that suspect foul play, while others believe he either succumbed to the elements or had a medical emergency of some kind. Harold was presumed dead and a new Prime Minister was sworn in. Harold left behind a wife, Zara, and three kids. Ironically, a swimming complex was named in his honor as he was an avid swimmer. Many Australians find this memorial odd because he disappeared while swimming, yet he has a swimming facility named after him.
13. Tara Calico
19 year old Tara Calico said goodbye to her mother and went out for a quick bike ride. She was never seen from again. The only evidence found was her cracked Walkman case–it was found along the side of the road.
Witnesses said they saw a van following close behind her, but other than that investigators turned up nothing. Less than a year later in 1989 a mysterious photograph was found in the parking lot of a convenience store. The photo was of two bound kids in the back of what looks like a windowless van. They have tape over their mouths and a scared look in their eyes. The girl looked similar to Tara, so similar that her mother believed it was her daughter. Next to the girl in the picture was the V.C. Andrews book “My Sweet Audrina”. This book was one of Tara’s favorites. Did her kidnapper buy it or was it planted there because of sick and twisted story line of brainwashing?
In 2013, a task force was formed to dive deeper into the Tara Calico disappearance. So far nothing has turned up but her family remains optimistic that hopefully one day Tara will be found alive and they will be reunited.