The 5 Most Unexpected Twist Endings Of Real Missing Persons Cases

Some of these disappearances were far from accidents. 

By Gina Tron

Here are 5 missing person cases that had shocking endings. 


In 1912, 4-year-old Bobby Dunbar disappeared during a trip with his wealthy family at Swayze Lake in Louisiana. The story became a national sensation. Hundreds of volunteer rescuers searched the swamp with no luck. Eight months later, a boy that looked like Bobby was spotted in Mississippi, traveling with a drifter named William Cantwell Winters, who said the boy was his nephew. But the Dunbar family was convinced it was their missing Bobby. The child had a burn scar on his left foot, and a similar mole as their son. They were awarded custody of the boy, and the drifter went to prison until his conviction was overturned on a technicality. Bobby was raised by his family, had children and died in 1966. Case closed, right? No. Years later, one of his grandchildren researched the case and asked her father, Bobby Dunbar Jr., to take a DNA test. Turns out, he had had no genetic connection to the Dunbar family at all.

[Photo: Public Domain]


The cookware salesman and archery lover took a boat out on Lake Erie during a storm in 1957. His boat was found the next day. It was damaged and missing an oar, and Lawrence was assumed dead, despite his body never being found in the lake. Bader left behind a pregnant wife and three kids. The wife received $40,000 in life insurance. But, eight years later, things got eerie. A friend of the family spotted a man who looked just like Lawrence -- John "Fritz" Johnson, a radio and television personality in Omaha, Nebraska. He had also won 13 archery titles. He insisted he was raised in an orphanage and served 14 years in the Navy before moving to Nebraska where he married and had two children, but after a fingerprint test, it turned out he was Lawrence. He maintained he had no memory of his former life.


The Scottish folk singer went missing just as her career was starting to take off. In 1972, she vanished. Her albums were re-issued on CD in the mid-2000s, and several articles were published about her mysterious disappearance. Then, Shelagh responded to one of the articles in person. She showed up at The Scottish Daily Mail and explained what happened: She took too much acid. She had suffered an LSD trip that apparently lasted weeks. And, when it was over, her singing voice was ruined. It was so bad, she hopped on a plane back home to Scotland to reunite with her parents, still tripping. She gave up her music career and spent a few decades living as a transient. In fact, she was living in a tent when she read the article about herself in the Daily Mail. In 2013, she began making music again.

[Photo: YouTube]


Natasha Ryan was 14 years old when she went missing in her hometown of Rockhampton, Australia in 1998. Leonard Fraser, known as "The Rockhampton Rapist," confessed to the murders of four girls, including Natasha. Her body was never found, but his confession was believed, so her family held a funeral for her, and “The Rockhampton Rapist” went to trial for her murder in 2003.

Nearly five years after she vanished and was presumably murdered, police received an anonymous tip and they raided her boyfriend’s house, 2.5 miles away from where Natasha lived. Natasha was there, living inside a wardrobe. She had been secretly living there the whole time. Natasha told police she didn’t leave because "the lie had become too big."

[Photo: YouTube]


In 1984, Petra of Germany was supposed to visit her parents after seeing a dentist, but she never showed up. Then she missed her brother’s birthday party. Her family contacted police, who suspected foul play. In 1987, a teenager confessed to killing her, and by 1989, the case was closed. But, 31 years later, in 2015, law enforcement responded to a call of an apartment burglary. “Mrs. Schneider” opened the door, and police asked for her to confirm her identity. It was then that "Mrs. Schneider" confessed she was missing person Petra Pazsitka. Her explanation for vanishing? She just wanted to end her relationship with her family. She said they didn’t abuse her, but she refused to give details. Petra still didn’t want to be reunited with her family.

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