Mysterious disappearances are nothing new, but in the modern information age, it almost seems impossible for someone to vanish off the face of the Earth.
With social media, cellphone records, CCTV and even smartphones which broadcast a person's location, tracing someone should be easier than ever. However, that doesn't mean there are not mysterious cases of disappearances in the 21st century.
In fact, here are five such cases:
Shortly after New Year's Day in 2002, the 18-year-old Zebb Quinn finished his shift at Walmart in Asheville, North Carolina, and met his friend, Robert Owens, in the parking lot. The two had previously planned to go see a car Zebb was considering to buy.
On the journey, Zebb flashed his lights at Robert to indicate he needed to pull over. On the side of the road he explained he had received a page and needed to visit a payphone. After he made the call, Zebb apparently became so agitated he ended up crashing into the back of Robert's truck. Following this, Zebb claimed he had to abandon their plans and he drove off to an unknown location. He was never seen again.
Two days later, a call was received by Walmart which claimed to be from Zebb. He explained he needed to miss work as he was ill. However, the phone call was actually traced to Robert Owen's workplace and when questioned by police he admitted he placed the call, but at the insistence of Zebb. It was also revealed that Robert had been treated for broken rips and a head injury that he claimed was from another automobile accident, however he failed to report this to the police.
Even stranger is that two weeks later, police found Zebb's car near the hospital his mother worked at. Inside was a collection of curious artifacts including a jacket which did not belong to Zebb, a live puppy and a unknown hotel key card. On the rear window of the car, a pair of lips had been drawn with a lipstick.
What police do know is that Zebb was involved with a woman named Misty Taylor, and that he had been threatened by her boyfriend. Furthermore, it was discovered that Zebb did receive a page the day he disappeared, but it was from his auntie's pager. However, his aunt said she could not have sent it as she was having dinner with Misty Taylor's family.
Back in 2011, Rebecca Coriam worked as a crew member on the Disney Wonder, a Disney cruise ship. On March 21st, she sent a Facebook message to her mother claiming she would call the next day. She never did. Instead she received a call from a Disney official claiming that her daughter was missing. She was last seen on the ship's security camera and appeared to be having an emotional phone conversation.
Following a thorough search, officials concluded she had been swept overboard by a large wave - although others have suggested the high walls made this unlikely.
However, in May 2011, Rebecca's bank called her mother to state there had been activity on her account following her disappearance. Furthermore, in September, Rebecca's uncle also claimed her Facebook password had been changed.
Some of Rebecca's fellow Disney Wonder crew members suggested she may have been involved in a love triangle which drove her to suicide. Others also claim Disney officials knew, but decided to cover up the suicide with the wave story.
Ray Gricar had been a successful district attorney in Centre County, Pennsylvania since 1985. However, despite a seemingly normal and stable life, he mysteriously disappeared in 2005.
On April 15th he had phoned his partner, Patty Fornicola, to say he was driving home through the Brush Valley area. However, he never returned home...
The next day, his car was found in the parking lot of an antique store in Lewisburg, his keys, laptop and wallet were missing, although his cellphone was inside. Later, in July, a fisherman found his laptop dumped in a local river, although the harddrive had been removed. It was later found nearby, but was damaged beyond repair.
Interestingly, in 2009, police had found someone had used his home computer to Google “how to wreck a hard drive” and “water damage to a notebook computer.”
The case recently received a resurgence of interest when it was revealed that Ray was one of the former students abused by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. In 1998, Ray had declined to press charges against Sandusky, perhaps due to outside pressure.
In February 2004, the 21-year-old Maura Murray was attending a dorm party at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and while driving back to her father's motel in his car, struck a guardrail at around 3:30am. Police questioned Maura, confirming that the damages would be covered by insurance, however they did not administer a sobriety test at the scene.
The next day, her father dropped her off at school and in the evening called her to speak about the insurance forms. About 30 minutes after this conversation, around about midnight, Maura used MapQuest to search for directions to Burlington, Vermont. Furthermore, previous to that she had emailed her boyfriend, stating: "I got your messages, but honestly, I didn’t feel like talking to much of anyone. I promise to call today though."
Shortly after this, she also called a rental company to enquire about renting a condo in Bartlett, New Hampshire, where her family had previously stayed on vacation. However she did not rent the condo. Later that day, she also emailed her professors explaining she would be out of town due to a death in the family. But, there was no death.
At around 3:40pm, Maura withdrew practically all of her money - about $280 - from her bank account and spent around $40 on alcohol at a local liquor store.
At around 7:00pm that night, Maura had another crash, this time driving into a snowbank in Woodsville, New Hampshire. According to witnesses, several passersby offered assistance, however Maura "pleaded" with them not to contact the police.
About 30 minutes later, a local resident did call the sheriff's department, and police arrived at the scene 15 minutes later. They found the car abandoned, with a selection of artifacts inside, including accident forms, the MapQuest directions, gloves, CDs, makeup, a book on mountain climbing, and Maura's favorite stuffed animal, a monkey which her father had given her. Her various bank cards and cellphone was missing, and she was never seen again.
The police still consider it an open case, and there is even a rather extensive - and up-to-date blog, which is attempting to crack the case. It seems the case of Maura Murray might be more complex than initially thought, with credit card fraud, a second driver and even adulterous relationships being thrown into the mix.