Disappearing divers and Disney crew members are just a few of the 900,000 people reported missing every year in the United States alone. (A number that has risen from 150,000 in 1980). In addition, there are as many as 40,000 unsolved cases of unidentified bodies, as well as 6,000 unsolved murders a year.
When six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared near his home in Manhattan in 1979, the police and his family adopted a new strategy to get results. Etan became one of the most famous "missing persons" cases when his image was the first to be put on the back of a milk carton, sparking the missing children's act. Unfortunately, 20 years later Etan was pronounced legally dead. And though a suspect, Pedro Hernandez, self-confessed to the murder, the case was reopened in 2010 when authorities began doubting Hernandez's confession.
Since Etan's disappearance in 1979 the FBIs Missing Person list has grown to include thousands of people every year, and the INTERPOL forensics division is developing a "database of missing persons and unidentified bodies". Thanks to these efforts the majority of missing people are found and most bodies identified.
However, these results are not replicated in the most mysterious and bizarre of unexplained cases. Many murders are still unsolved, many deaths still unexplained, and many missing people remain unfound.
10. The Disappearance Of Ben McDaniel
On August 18, 2010, an amateur diver named Ben McDaniel descended into the water at Vortex Springs, a popular cave-diving site near Ponce de Leon, Florida. Ben left his wallet and a dive log in his pickup-truck in the parking lot. He never returned. After a day had passed, employees of the park contacted the police.
Vortex Springs had a deadly reputation; thirteen people had died there during the 1980s. Unlike the previous incidents, which had left bodies, Ben McDaniel simply disappeared. Several other divers had seen Ben descend into the cave, and recovery divers were able to locate some of his equipment left at the mouth of the cave, but found no trace of a body.
The recovery teams searched the cave as deep as possible and even brought special equipment used to detect the presence of a decomposing body. Eventually they concluded that Ben was simply not in the cave.