Where did they go? Five mysterious missing persons cases

Imagine realizing someone you love is missing and not knowing when or if you would see them again.

As sad as it is, it’s a reality for many people and many families of those who go missing every year. Sometimes it’s a a runaway situation, and other times when following a case it’s oftentimes easy to speculate what happened.

In my growing interest in missing persons cases, I came across a website called The Charley Project. It’s  a website containing thousands upon thousands of missing persons cases in the United States, and lists the circumstances of the disappearance. You could actually spend hours on the site.

There have been a number of cases that have stuck with me and I decided to share five of them here. The information that I have obtained about the cases have come mostly from the Charley Project. I encourage everyone to check it out.

The Springfield Three

Stacy McCall, Suzanne Streeter, Sherrill Levitt

You might be wondering why all these women are placed together if you are not familiar with the case. These women disappeared together from Springfield, MO in 1992. You can read extensively about the case at http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/mccall_stacy.html

Streeter and McCall were friends, and Levitt is Streeter’s mother. The two girls had just graduated high school and were spending the night going to graduation parties. Eventually, the girls ended up back at Streeter’s house where she lived with Levitt, her mother. The girls had made plans with other friends to go to a waterpark the next day.

Panic didn’t set in until the next day when friends and relatives could not get ahold of the women. All their cards were found at the residence, as well as personal belongings including the women’s purses. The door was unlocked, the family dog was barking anxiously, and the TV was left on. One of the porchlights outside the front door had been shattered.

There are many details in this case that can be read on the CharleyProject, but it has been nearly 20 years and no trace of the women was ever found. What happened to three women in the middle of the night?

Catherine Sjoberg

Catherine Sjoberg

Photo is from http://www.charleyproject.org

The case of Catherine Sjoberg is the case that started my interest in missing persons cases. You can read her case summary here: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/s/sjoberg_catherine.html

It was summer of 1974 and Catherine Sjoberg was attending her prom/prom after party at the Concord House in rural Wisconsin. Accounts vary as to when she left, but sometime during the early hours of the morning, Sjoberg got into an argument with her boyfriend and was last seen leaving.

The boyfriend was polygraphed three times, and passed. Searches turned up absolutely nothing and Sjoberg was never seen or heard from again. If she were alive today, she’d be in her fifties.

The place where Sjoberg disappeared from is in the middle of nowhere, but it is next to the interstate. Could a passerby have abducted her? Will it ever be known what happened to this young girl on the night of her prom?

Edward and Stephania Andrews

Edward AndrewsStephania Andrews

Photos from the Charley Project.

Edward and Stephania Andrews disappeared from Chicago, right from downtown in 1970. The two attended a cocktail party the night they vanished. They were husband and wife.  Witnesses report that Edward appeared to not be feeling well at the party and by the time they left the party, Stephania was crying.

Here’s where it gets bizarre. When the couple left, the parking garage attendant said Edward hit the door on the way out and had to back up so he could get out of the garage. He then supposedly turned the wrong way on Michigan Avenue.

The couple was never seen or heard from again. Their disappearance wasn’t discovered until neither or them showed up for work and mail was piling up at their residence.

The thing that sticks out to me about this case is the fact the couples’ car was never found either. Even when a cleanup of the Chicago river was conducted, and a dozen automobiles were found, Edward and Stephania and there car have never been discovered. Where could the couple, and their car gone? Why was Stephanie crying when she left? Why did Edward turn the wrong way on Michigan Avenue?

Sadly, one can only assume that they have passed away, as if they were alive today they would be over 100.

Maura Murray

Maura Murray

Photo from the Charley Project

There are a lot of details in this case, so I would like to refer you to her Charley Project Page: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/murray_maura.html

Maura Murray disappeared in 2004 from the side of a road after a single-car crash. No one knows where she was going or why, and it can only be speculated. It is the events leading up to her disappearance that are perhaps the most strange. She had e-mailed her professors and told them she would be absent from class for a week because of a death in the family when in fact there was no death. She packed up belongings in her dorm room, withdrew money, bought alcohol and set out to an unknown destination.

It appears that she wanted to get away for a while, but when she disappeared from the side of the road after the crash, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happened to her. Shortly after, Maura’s boyfriend received a voicemail of a whimpering girl. The call was traced to a calling card issued by the American Red Cross. Maura was known to use calling cards.

There are so many details in this case that are fascinating, and for that I recommend reading her Charley Project page. The show “Disappeared” has also done an episode on Maura’s disappearance, if you are interested in watching it, you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxJHPT9fNlo

Brian Shaffer

Brian Shaffer

Photo from The Charley Project

Brian Shaffer disappeared in 2006. You can read his Charley Project case summary here: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/s/shaffer_brian.html

Shaffer was, by all accounts, happy with his life. He had a girlfriend he had planned on taking a trip with. He was in medical school. He had everything going for him and one night he disappeared.

The bizarre part of this case is that Shaffer was out with friends and was caught on a video camera entering a particular bar. However, the cameras do not capture him leaving the bar and he has never been heard from again. He simply vanished.

Sadly, his mother had passed away three weeks before his disappearance and since his disappearance, his father was killed in a freak accident when a tree branch fell on him during a storm.

I wanted to write on these cases because I found them to particularly interesting and compelling. I would like to call attention to more missing person cases in the future.

Leave me a comment and share your thoughts on these cases. Do you have theories?

This post is dedicated to missing persons and their loved ones so that they may be remembered.

Special thanks to http://www.charleyproject.org

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/musingsofmegan

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More: What happened to Beth Bentley? http://meganmillard.visualfunnies.com/4228138-9842384

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14 comments

  1. Hey Megan! Long time no talk!
    Remember in Signal when we read that super interesting article about how most missing persons cases in the US are African American males? interesting how media attention is fixated on white females eh? Like Natalie Holloway, Lacey Peterson, etc.
    Just a thought! Hope all is well
    -Lyndsay

    • Hey Lyndsay! Thanks for reading and commenting! You totallly have a good point. I believe there’s a term called “Missing white woman syndrome” which sounds made up but it’s totally real, check Wikipedia. With the media attention given you would definitely assume that it was white females who most often go missing.

      Anyway, thanks again for reading! I hope all is well with you too!

  2. Ah, missing persons cases. It may just be that I love a good narrative, but I don’t find these nearly as interesting as I would if we actually knew what happened! Still, I know ya love The Charley Project, and this article certainly highlights some of the interesting details behind cases!

  3. Thank you for this article on missing people. I too am fascinated by wondering -where do all the missing people go? It is nice that you’re keeping their cases alive. Jaime

  4. Maura Murray – did they question the bus driver who found her right after her car crashed? There was little information on that really, he could’ve hid her somewhere on his bus. Just a thought.

  5. Hello from London, England. The two most famous disappearances to have happened in this country must be those of Suzy Lamplugh (1986) and Lord Lucan (1974). I think everyone believes Suzy is dead. But some think Lord Lucan may still be alive. Possibly in Africa. The British police would like to speak to him about the 1974 London murder of his children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett (who he apparently mistook in the dark for his wife). Suzy Lamplugh was an Estate Agent (Realtor) in London who went missing after leaving the office to show a ‘Mr Kipper’ around a house. The official prime suspect in her disappearance is convicted murderer/rapist John Cannan. Although Cannan is certainly the most likely culprit, the names of 2 other well-known convicted English killers have been put forward as possible candidates for the infamous ‘Mr Kipper’.

  6. Re: Catherine Sjoberg

    I grew up in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin near where Ms. Sjoberg disappeared. My parents were classmates of Cathy’s and attended prom that night with her. This case alone has inspired me to continue my education into crime scene investigation. One disturbing theory I have is that Mr. Counsel, her boyfriend at the time of the disappearance was not questioned or looked into enough. Around the time of her disappearance his family was building a business now known as Mr. Ice. This is just my opinion obviously but nothing adds up with her case.

    • Wow…curious what did your folks say about that night? Do they remember Cathy fighting with her boyfriend? Did they see her leave? Did anyone go looking for her after she didn’t return? Be interesting to hear from some that were actually there!

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