People Who’ve Gone Missing Reveal Their Shocking Stories

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Remember when you were a kid and you would wander away from your mom or dad in a store for what seemed like just a second but then all the sudden you realized they were gone and you had no idea how to find them? That definitely happened to me a few times. I have a distinct memory of losing my dad while on a tour of the US Capitol building because I was following the wrong bald man wearing a suit. (There were a lot of them, I guess).

Luckily, I was able to find my dad within a few minutes, but I remember being terrified I would have to wander around the Capitol by myself forever.

It’s always scary when someone goes missing. Whether it’s someone you know or something you heard about on the news, the idea of someone just disappearing from their life can be terrifying.

Sometimes people go missing and never come back, and we may never know what exactly happened to them. But sometimes people do come back and are able to explain why they weren’t where we thought they were.

Reddit user emiliano_ruiz writes: When I was 10, me and my family went to Disneyland to hang out for summer. After a few hours walking from ride to ride, I ended up losing my family between thousands of persons. Once I realized I was lost, like every little kid would do, I started crying. 

As I did this, I felt a hand touching my shoulder.

When I finally looked at the person that was touching me, I saw a big man in his 30s. He grabbed me from my hand and took me to the parking lot. As he introduced me into his car, he told me: “We are going to find your family”

We went through the road for around 15 minutes until he stopped in a gas station.

He wasn’t that smart and left the door open. I entered the grocery store that was beside and told the guy who was working there that I lost my family. He quickly called police and they got me back to my family.  

According to ohwowsy: I was playing hide and seek with my older cousins. I was only 4 at the time. Because they were much older and smarter, they kept finding me first. Wanting to win so badly, I just kept walking and walking until everyone was out of sight.

I continued to walk in that one direction, fearing that I will be caught too soon again. Apparently I walked for hours!

A nice lady on the street thought it was odd for a little kid to be walking alone and called the cops for me. Found my family at the end of the night and everyone was sobbing except me, happy that I “won” at hide and seek.

User Littlebird456 was just living their life: I was reported as a missing person in college. I was holed up in my dorm studying for midterms one evening. It had been a normal day. I’d been to classes and to the campus dining hall with friends and been in contact with my roommate, dorm mates and everyone else I normally saw. This was pre-smartphones so I hadn’t checked my phone in a couple hours when my roommate walks in and hands me her phone without saying anything.

It was my university’s police asking me to confirm my identity and location.

The backstory: unbeknownst to me, my abusive mom was feeling angry I hadn’t called her often enough. She always used to love threatening to call the cops on me for normal kid behavior like talking back. She actually did call a couple times and I was almost taken into foster care. Anyway, now that I was a newly minted adult she thought she could use the law to force me to do what she wanted. Or punish me for not doing so.

I don’t remember how long it had been since I spoke with her. Not long, maybe a few days or at most a week.

But when I didn’t pick up a couple calls from her that day, she filed a missing persons report with campus police and told everyone she knew in my town to go to campus to search for me (luckily none of them listened). I had to have a very awkward conversation with my RA and the director of housing that day. Happy ending though, that was the last time that happened (after I read her the riot act). Now I’ve been happily NC and free of her BS, minus some light stalking a couple years back, for 7+ years now.

This story from DameiestBird is really scary:
I had psychosis and went missing.
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I wasn’t missing for multiple days just very early in the morning to very late at night. I had grandeur and I thought I needed to leave ‘markers’ so other secret people knew I was aware that they were communicating with me through songs, TV, etc.

The marker was a book with a collection of all the ‘keywords’ they had said to me.

And I left encrypted keywords for them incase someone intercepted the communications. Yeah… Psychosis makes you do odd things.

User rosarosi writes: When I was in kindergarten, probably around the age of 4 or 5, the front door had a low handle so the kids could reach it. One day I opened the door and walked home in my socks in the snow.

The kindergarten didn’t even notice I was missing until a woman that lived in my apartment building found me at the playground in front of the house and called my mom.

They moved the door handle higher after that.

User nasty-otter writes: I used to have really awful menstrual cramps that would completely debilitate me. I was at the Toledo Zoo with my family one summer to see Steely Dan perform. Halfway through the first song, I start getting bad cramps and needed to go lay down. 

There was a bench right outside the stage area, so I told my sister I was going to go lay down for a bit.

I passed out for a few hours actually, and when I woke up there was a security guard shining a light in my face and asking my name. I groggily said my name, and she screams into her walkie talkie “FOUND HER!” They throw me into a golf cart and I ask what’s going on. 

Apparently my sister didn’t hear me say I was going to the bench, and when they couldn’t find me my dad alerted security that I was missing.

They had the entire zoo on a lockdown and security guards were combing the entire zoo looking for me. We laugh about it now but looking back it is kind of scary that a 14 year old girl was completely alone passed out on a bench!

Here is elvis_vanderbilt‘s story:

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When I was 16 I left the states to be a foreign exchange student in Chile. However, the night that I got there was the massive earthquake of 2010. I had just gotten to my host families home and was getting settled and ready for bed after a long day of travel. I Skyped my parents and said goodnight. 

No more than 4 hours later I was awoken by the earth shaking around me.

At first I thought it was a dream but then I started hearing pictures and other things falling off the walls and breaking. It was the earthquake.

I ran outside for what felt like the longest 2 minutes of my life.


I had to sleep in the car that night for safety reasons.
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All phone lines and internet was cut off, I had no way to contact my family for the foreseeable future.

They did not know if I was dead or alive.


In reality, I was totally fine. There were inconveniences but nothing drastic. We had food and water and a generator so that I can charge my computer.
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Three days after the earthquake, we were in town helping the family’s relatives with some things around their house and I had my phone on me which suddenly got service.

I had hundreds of messages come in but the first thing I did was call my parents.


They were thrilled to hear from me and told me that there were several news crews outside of the house wanting to hear my story.
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In the end, I was totally fine and spent the next 4 months living in Chile.

User MiraL11 writes: When I was 7 and my brother was 5 we stopped in Paris for a few days on a layover when we were moving back from the Middle East to Canada. We went into a giant Disney store they had there and my brother disappeared. Mum was crying, the police were called, streets were blocked. Many hours later a Disney store employee came up to us holding him. He’d crawled into the huge mountain of plush toys every Disney store used to have and was watching the loop of songs on the screen, completely covered in stuffed animals. He’s 30 now and it still comes up …

This is eccentrick_‘s story:
 So my current bf and I went missing for 17 hours in the woods last July.
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We had met a few days prior, on the night I got kicked out of my house, and we’d been chatting with each other pretty frequently. The reason we decided to go to the woods was because I had broken up with my partner that day and I was really depressed and I wanted to be away from everyone. 



It was about 3 or 4 in the afternoon and we planned on being in the mountains for an hour or two.

I had camped in this area once before and he had never been there. I like it because it was gorgeous and has gigantic open space. It was early July so both of us wear tank tops and jeans, I bring my cigarettes and he has a backpack. No service on our phones. We walk up past where I camped and found a nice place to sit.

As we’re walking down to my car again I didn’t realize I was leading and walked with him down a wrong path without realizing.

We walk for hours, back and forth across the mountain sides, we tried to retrace our steps, at one point we had to free climb down a rock face. We found a reservoir at probably six and skinny dipped because we were dying. Neither of us brought water. He had granola bars that I let him have at some point. We walked some more because now the sun was moving down and we were worried about being caught in the mountains at night. 

Forded a river naked- four times.

It got dark and he pulls out a headlamp and we start looking for a place to camp because we can’t see shit. Had a run in with a rattlesnake and found a spot to camp after that. I built a fire for us. He had a hoodie and we kind of shared it for the night.

He woke me up at about 5:30 in the morning.

We had no water and no containers…we stopped back at the river to drink. The water was quickly moving, and fairly deep. We were so dehydrated we felt that diarrhea was a problem for survivors so we drank our fill and set out on a road we hadn’t noticed in the dark. We walked some more. 

At 7:22am we stumbled to the door of a park ranger’s house.

We were starving, dehydrated, dirty, exhausted. He gave us water and a ride back to my car, OVER 13 MILES AWAY. We got a small amount of trouble over our fire, as there was a very large fireban in our area at the time. But he let us off very lightly, and we got into my car and drove to the house of my friend, where I had been staying the past few days. They were all worried but the situation was handled pretty well since we were both adults. We passed out on their couch and since then we’ve been inseparable.

User cip43r wrote: Got drunk and disappeared for half a day, friends found me drunk and confused taking a shower in all of my clothes in the dorm bathroom. No one knows where I was and how I got that drunk.

User littlemantry writes: My dad had my uncle babysit my sister and I for the day when I was ~4 and sister was 2. It was awesome, we got to hang out on his boat and eat ice cream all day. When he took us home really late I remember my mom was hysterical and a cop was there. Dad had told mom that he got rid of us and she would never see her kids again and refused to tell her if we were dead, alive, or if he even knew. The cop took us away that night and ultimately mom’s parents raised us for a few years while my parents got their shit together independently from each other.

User plantman01 writes: Went down to Panama to volunteer with a company doing animal population studies. Me and 2 scientists were walking in the jungle with a guide tracking monkeys when the guide got lost. We walked for 6 hours until we found a hill and surprisingly I got phone service. Called for help and after 2 nights sleeping on the ground, the national guard found us.

It was pretty funny because the first person I called was my best friend back in the states.

He answered and the first thing I said is “can you call the united states embassy and tell them I’m lost in the jungle?” He didn’t believe me at first lmfao. Tbh we were never afraid, although we did hear jaguars in the night so nobody went to pee very far from anyone else. It was mostly just sitting around waiting or looking for water which we found pretty easily. 

User gregogree writes:
My brother who was probably 6 at the time told our neighbors (who we knew very well) that our parents said it was okay to go to their sons baseball game with them.
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They just assumed he was being truthful, and took him along.
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Meanwhile, my mother couldn’t find him for about 3 hours until he hopped out of their car in our shared driveway with them.
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He was in quite a bit of trouble, and the neighbors felt horrible, but there were no hard feelings.

User Quid_Emperor writes:
My mom likes telling me this story about how when I was a baby she let this lady hold me (because she thought I was cute I guess) while my mom was selling stuff (this was at a flee market) and the moment she turned back the lady was gone. Fortunately, my grandma was on her way to check up on my mom when she saw the lady and apparently, despite not being a fan of my grandma, I immediately cried for her and she brought me back to my frantic mom.

User ibby_kinibby writes:
 Last day of sophomore year of high school I went with friends to go see Revenge of the Sith. Before the movie starts we decided to go to the bathroom. Most of them go to a different bathroom than I did. I walked out, went into the theater, movie had just started so it was dark. I just found a seat by myself and decided I would catch up with them later. Watched the whole movie, and I loved it for what its worth.
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I walk out of the theater and first thing I see is all of my friends, my mom bawling her eyes out, and the cops standing there talking.

Obviously everyone was relieved to see me but didn’t understand how I managed to sit in there by myself for 2+ hours. Turns out the ticket guy said first theater on the right and what he meant was turn right and it’s the first theater on the right not look right and it’s that one. I felt like an idiot.