Not everyone who goes missing wants to be found — some, even, hide from family and friends in what police classify as a “malicious missing person.”
Approximately 90,000 people are missing at any given time, according to USA Today data, and annually law enforcement agencies receive an average of 750,000 missing persons reports. Most are resolved within two days, but in some cases, the missing person may be intentionally hiding from friends, family or law enforcement.
Here are five crazy cases of people who go missing and don't want to be found.
1. The Valentine's Day Vanishing
David Wandtke walked out of his home in St. Paul, Minnesota on Valentine's Day and disappeared, the Star Tribune reports. He’d been married to his wife for 11 years, and told her he was going to the grocery store. She told police she believed he was running out for a last minute Valentine’s Day gift, but he never came back.
Wanditke was 52 years old when he disappeared, and had been working as a nurse at the time. He left in a maroon PT Cruiser, and when he never returned, police investigating the missing person case said they believed he was an older man who “decided to walk away from his family,” according to a 2012 interview with Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman.
[Photo: Family Handout]
2. Found After Three Decades
When 24-year-old Petra Pazsitka never showed up at her brother’s birthday party, the German student was quickly declared a missing person, and a manhunt for her and her killer took off. Police declared her deceased, and the case was considered cold and closed in 1989.
Thirty years later, police responded to a routine report of a robbery, and found Pazsitka alive, NBC reports. She told police she had been living in several German cities and had no official documents. Now 55 years old, she offered police no explanation of why she chose to disappear over three decades ago — but she did assert she still wants no contact with the public or her family.
[Photo: Aktenzeichen XY]
3. Halftime Mystery
Paul Kitterman attended a Denver Broncos game in 2014 with his stepson. He was last seen at halftime outside the men’s restroom, where Kitterman told his stepson he’d meet him at their seats. Then, he vanished.
Kitterman was missing for five days before police found him in a Kmart parking lot 100 miles away in Pueblo, Colorado. Police believe he walked or hitchhiked there, and when questioned, Kitterman said he’d “had his fill of football and decided to go for a walk,” ABC News reports.
"He wanted to walk 'somewhere warmer,’” a Pueblo police statement read. "Kitterman mentioned sleeping in treed areas and in bushes during his journey to Pueblo and even mentioned disposing of his Broncos hat as he did not want to be recognized."
His family and friends said they believed Kitterman had a breakdown and that they were unsure of what exactly happened. Police reported Kitterman was of sound mind when he was found.
[Photo: Tia Bakke]
Ten-year-old Alexandra Greenwall disappeared in New Mexico, and was missing for four days. When her mother went to sleep, police say Greenwall changed out of her pajamas, packed a bag and left. When she returned days later, police were still unsure of where she was and questioned whether she walked home or was dropped off by someone.
“It was like a miracle. It was like angels in heaven blowing trumpets and singing their praise,” Greenwall’s mom, Catherine Allen, said when her daughter returned home safely.
The station also reported Greenwall may have run away because she was mad her mother had punished her. Allen said she hid in the neighborhood and in the desert for over three days. When she disappeared, law enforcement launched a local search that was one of the largest of its kind, one officer said. A police statement said they believe Greenwall did, indeed, hide from rescuers and officers.
5. Job Pressure
David Lee Rockney was 51 years old when he suddenly decided to leave his wife and two sons in their Bartlesville, Oklahoma home in 2002. He was considered a missing person for seven years, before police found him living in South Dakota. The Journal Standard reports Rokey told police he was under significant pressure after being laid off his job. His car was found at the Tulsa International Airport, and police determined there had been no foul play.
“It’s a bizarre thing,” said Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland of the case. “We’re going to have a made-for-TV movie out of this thing before it’s over.”
Rockney went missing after telling his wife he was going on a job interview. He was found by police during a routine check when he tried to renew his driver's license in South Dakota.