5. Tara Calico
- Born: 28 February 1969
- Disappeared: 20 September 1988 (age. 19)
- Last seen: Riding her bike near her home in Belen, New Mexico
On September 20, 1988, nineteen year old Tara Calico went out for a bike ride at 9:30 am and was never seen or heard from again. Tara’s mother, Patty, went searching for her daughter when she didn’t returned by noon. When she could not locate Tara, Patty notified the police, who soon joined the frightened mother in examining Tara’s usual bike route. Along the way, police discovered broken pieces of Tara’s Sony walkman and cassette tapes. Patty believes that Tara may have broken these items in an attempt to leave a trail to her whereabouts. Multiple witnesses claim to have seen a 1953 or 1954 Ford pickup following Tara that morning, though no one saw an abduction occur and the Ford pickup has never been located.
In June of 1989, a polaroid photo of a young girl and boy bound and gagged on a bed was discovered in the parking lot of a convenience store in Port St. Joe, Florida. Patty believes that the young girl in the polaroid is Tara. Click here to view the polaroid for yourself, but BE WARNED, it is disturbing. Here is a side by side facial comparison of Tara to the girl in the polaroid. A paperback copy of VC Andrews’ My Sweet Audrina, reportedly one of Tara’s favorite books, can be seen laying next to the bound and gagged girl on bed. Additionally, Patty claims that a scar on the leg of the girl in the polaroid matches one that Tara had. The Metropolitan Police Service Scotland Yard identified the girl in the polaroid as Tara, but an FBI analysis of the photo was inconclusive. To this day, no one knows what became of Tara Calico. She, nor her bike, were ever discovered.
Other things of note:
In 2009, a Valencia County sheriff named Rene Rivera claimed that he knew what happened to Tara. According to Rivera, she was involved in an accident involving some boys from her school and their truck. It is suggested that he believes the boys may have struck Tara with their vehicle. That is all the information Rivera has released and claims that, without a body, he will not disclose the names of anyone involved or release the evidence that brought him to his conclusion. No arrests have been made.
Between the polaroid and Rene Rivera’s claims, this case is very bizarre. I definitely believe that Tara met with foul play, but to what degree I cannot say. I, like Tara’s family, am disturbed by Rivera’s sudden disclosure and refusal to back up his claim with evidence. I also am of the opinion that the girl in the polaroid looks a lot like Tara, but I suppose we will never know. Such a sad and strange case.
What do you think?
4. Madeleine McCann
- Born: 12 May 2003
- Disappeared: 3 May 2007 (age. 4)
- Last seen: Sleeping in bed at a Portugal vacation resort
Madeleine McCann was only 4 years old when she disappeared from her bedroom in Portugal’s Praia da Luz resort. Madeleine and her two infant siblings were asleep on the ground floor of a resort apartment at 8pm, while her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, ate dinner with nine friends at the resort’s tapas restaurant. The restaurant was located 130 feet away from where the children slept, and the McCann’s took turns checking on Madeleine and the twins throughout the night. At approximately 10pm, Kate McCann left the restaurant to check on the children and discovered that the door to their bedroom was wide open. When she moved to close it, the door slammed shut as if a gust of wind had pushed it, and, upon investigating, discovered that the window in the room was open. After finding Madeleine’s bed empty and quickly checking around the apartment, Kate ran back towards the restaurant screaming that her daughter was missing.
Police were dispatched to the scene by 11pm and they, along with dozens of volunteer citizens, searched the area in the hopes that Madeleine had simply woken up and wandered off. However, even after a widespread hunt and the use of search-and-rescue dogs, Madeleine was never found.
Now, here’s where things get complicated…
There are MANY theories floating around concerning what happened to little Madeleine. For years, it was highly suspected that a white, dark-haired man of southern European or Mediterranean appearance, wearing beige trousers and a dark jacket, had kidnapped Madeleine through her bedroom window. According to Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCanns who has been dining with them that night, a man matching this description walked by her carrying a child in his arms- a child wearing pajamas identical to Madeleine’s. Jane claims she saw the man while she was walking toward the resort apartments to check on her own daughter, who was asleep in the same block as Madeleine and her siblings. A police sketch of the supposed kidnapper can be seen here. However, there are holes in Jane’s story. For one, Gerry McCann was on his way back to the restaurant at the time Jane claims to have seen Madeleine’s kidnapper, and doesn’t remember seeing Jane at all in the narrow alleyway between the restaurant and apartments. It is unlikely he could have missed her if she had actually been there, which puts her whole “sighting” into question.
Confusing the investigation further, the crime scene was not immediately closed off by police after Madeleine’s disappearance, rendering much potential evidence unusable. Crowds of curious people walked on and touched the mysteriously open window and the ground outside of it during the night of the disappearance, destroying any fingerprints or tracks that could have been lifted. Additionally, the apartment itself was not secured on the night of the disappearance, with as many as 20 people walking through Madeleine’s bedroom before it was closed off. Even more baffling, the apartment owners rented out her bedroom to tourists for two months after Madeleine’s disappearance before forensic testing ordered it closed.
For many years, the McCann’s themselves were prime suspects, and many believed they played a major role in Madeleine’s disappearance. Although Madeleine’s body was never found, cadaver dogs that patrolled the apartment allegedly “went crazy” around a couch in the living room of the apartment where the McCanns had been staying, as well as near the trunk of the McCann’s car. The Portuguese press began spreading the rumor that the McCanns, who both work in the medical field, may have given their children sleep-aids and, in a drug induced haze, Madeleine stumbled out of bed and fell off the living-room couch, accidentally killing herself. They suggested that Kate, upon discovering Madeleine’s body and not knowing what to do in a foreign country, hid and eventually buried the evidence of young Madeleine’s demise.
The theory of the McCann’s being somehow involved was not helped by the fact that Kate McCann went jogging the morning after Madeleine’s disappearance – a seemingly “normal” activity that the public scrutinized as something a grieving mother would not do- or by the fact that the family washed Madeleine’s stuffed animal that had been with her in bed the night she disappeared before forensics could examine it.
Whatever the case may be, Madeleine has now been missing for seven years and the case remains cold.
Other things of note:
This case is EXTREMELY complicated with many interesting leads and disturbing evidence and theories. The website mccannfiles.com has dozens of pages full of information about this case. Also, the wikipedia page for this case is a great source for information.
I honestly don’t know what to think about this case. Something in my gut tells me Kate and Gerry McCann know more then they’re telling, but I wonder if that’s because the Portuguese police so heavily implied their guilt in the press. Whatever the case, Kate washing Madeleine’s doll before it could be examined doesn’t sit right with me, but we may never know what truly happened. This case is still relatively new, so I will keep looking for answers.
What do you think?
3. Diane Augat
- Born: 21st February 1958
- Disappeared: 10 April 1998 (age. 40)
- Last seen: Taking a walk on New York ave. in Hudson, Florida
Not much is known about the disappearance of forty year old Diane Augat. She is the only woman on this list without a Wikipedia page, and there are very few pictures of her available- her case is an odd one indeed.
Diane was last seen walking away from her residence in Hudson, Florida at 11am on April 10th, 1998. Diane suffered from bipolar disorder and did not have her medication with her when she disappeared. 3 days after her disappearance, Diane called her mother’s house phone and left a panicked voicemail on her answering machine. In the voicemail, the sound of a struggle can be heard in the background and Diane can be heard yelling, “help, help, let me out!” The following noises are consistent with the sound of someone trying to force the phone away from her. Diane can be heard saying, “Hey, gimme that!” before the call is dropped. When Diane’s mother heard the voicemail, she called the number back but nobody picked up. The number was eventually traced to a a business in the Odessa area called the Starlight.
Two days later, on April 15th, the severed fingertip of Diane’s right middle finger was uncovered near the place of her disappearance. Two weeks after her disappearance, a bag of Diane’s neatly folded clothes was found inside a convenience store’s outdoor freezer in Odessa.
Finally, in 2000, Diane’s sister in law found a plastic bag labeled “Diane” in the parking lot of a Circle K convenience store. The bag contained makeup and toothpaste similar to the kinds Diane had owned. Diane’s mother claimed that the toothpaste in particular strongly resembled a tube of toothpaste Diane had been given after leaving a recent mental hospital stay. Despite all of the disturbing evidence, no arrests have been made and Diane hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Other things of note:
Diane struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction in addition to bipolar disorder, and only occasionally took her medication for the latter. Her behavior was often erratic, and she had lost custody over both of her children. In the weeks leading up to her disappearance, she had been released from a mental hospital stay too early, in her mother’s opinion, as she believed Diane was still very much in need of treatment.
Diane’s severed fingertip had red nail polish on it, but she had been wearing coral green nail polish at the time of her disappearance. Who repainted her nails?
The only in depth information I could find about Diane’s case was on her Charley Project page. Judging from the information there, it seems to me that Diane was mixed up in more trouble then people knew. I am fairly sure she was kidnapped, but it also sounds like she may have been involved in some shady business herself. The leaving of the fingertip feels like some kind of warning to me, but of what? I can’t shake the feeling that a lot of information is missing. It also bothers me that, upon hearing the disturbing voicemail from Diane, all Diane’s mother did was call the number back and then give up when there was no answer. Why didn’t she get in her car and drive to the location once the caller ID confirmed the address? Why didn’t the police? There just don’t seem to be any clear answers.
What do you think?
2. Dorothy Forstein
- Born: ?
- Disappeared: 18 October 1949
- Last seen: Being carried out of her house by an unidentified man
This story is quite old, but still very unnerving.
Dorothy Forstein was an upbeat, well-liked housewife living with her City Councilman husband, Jules, and their three children in Philadelphia. On January 25, 1945, Dorothy’s happy life was destroyed when she was savagely beaten in front of her apartment by an unidentified man. Neighbors claim to have seen a man trailing Dorothy as she returned from grocery shopping that night, but by the time police arrived at the scene the man was gone and no one could identify him. Dorothy suffered a concussion, a broken jaw, a shattered nose, and a fractured shoulder. Jules Forstein was investigated, but he had an air tight alibi for the night in question. After the attack, Dorothy’s entire demeanor changed. The once outgoing woman now stayed restricted to the house, where she lived a meek and frightened life, always waiting for her attacker to reappear. On the night of October 18, 1949, her nightmare came true.
Jules Forstein returned home at 11pm from a political banquet to find his and Dorothy’s two youngest children sobbing hysterically. Upon further investigation, he discovered that Dorothy was nowhere to be found. Nothing seemed to make sense, no neighbors had seen Dorothy leave the house, there was no sign of a struggle and the front door had been locked when Jules returned home. It wasn’t until his second youngest child, nine year old Marcy, said something seemingly crazy that any theory could be constructed at all.
According to Marcy, a sound had awoken her in the middle of night and, upon peaking into the hallway from her bedroom door, she saw a large man walking up the stairs. She then claimed she peered into her parent’s room and through its opened door could see Dorothy laying facedown on the rug. “She looked sick,” Marcy said. She then claimed the man walked over to her mother’s body, picked her up and hoisted her over his shoulder. At this point Marcy entered the hallway and asked the man what he was doing. He allegedly patted the young girl on the head and said, “Go back to sleep, little one, your mommy has been sick, but she will be all right now.” The man then carried Dorothy down the stairs, locked the front door behind him, and vanished. Marcy claimed she had never seen the man before in her life. To this day, Marcy’s story is the only clue to Dorothy Forstein’s disappearance.
Other things to note:
According to THIS amazing retelling of the story, Dorothy Forstein’s disappearance mysteriously stopped being printed in newspapers only a week after she went missing. On top of that, it seems that someone, to this day, is contacting any website that publishes stories about Dorothy and asks for them to be removed. Very strange.
I believe that Dorothy met with foul play, and I have a feeling that her politically involved husband had something to do with it. It seems suspicious to me that Jules just happened to have things to do on both nights Dorothy was attacked, especially considering that after her first attack she rarely wanted to be alone so he was almost always with her at night. I have no idea what his motives would be, but perhaps he hired someone to attack Dorothy and when the first attempt on her life failed he had her drugged and kidnapped. That would explain how the kidnapper had access to a key to their residence and why he would treat the children nicely and leave them alone. It would also explain why Marcy saw her mother unconscious on the floor. Also, if Jules had political clout, it could explain why the newspapers of the day all but erased Dorothy’s disappearance from the public consciousness.
What do you think?
1. Amy Lynn Bradley
- Born: 12 May 1974
- Disappeared: 24 March 1998 (age. 23)
- Last seen: Vacationing aboard the cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas
Amy Lynn Bradley, like Rebecca Coriam from my last top 5 list, disappeared while aboard a cruise ship. Unlike Rebecca Coriam, there has been chilling evidence released that Amy may still be alive.
Amy was last seen by her brother on the balcony of their room aboard the cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas at 5:30am on the morning of March 24th, 1998. A short time later, cruise ship passengers claim they saw Amy riding the ship’s elevator with a man named “Yellow,” a member of the ship’s band. Between this sighting and the cruise ship docking in Curaçao, Antilles around 6am, Amy had gone missing. At first, it was thought that Amy had fallen overboard, but family and friends argued that there’s no way Amy could have drowned so close to land, especially considering that she was a trained lifeguard and superb swimmer. It is also unlikely that Amy committed suicide- she was due to begin an exciting new job upon her return to Virginia and was in good spirits while on vacation. To this day, no arrests have been made and Amy hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
What sets this case apart from the rest are the disturbing accounts of Amy still being alive after her disappearance. In 1998, two Canadian tourists reported seeing a woman resembling Amy on a beach in Curaçao. The woman in question sported a Tasmanian Devil tattoo on her right shoulder, a sun on her lower back, a gecko lizard on her navel, and a Chinese symbol on her right ankle; tattoos that were identical to Amy’s. The Canadian pair also claimed the woman they saw had a naval ring, a piercing Amy also had.
More upsetting, a year later an American sailor visited a brothel in Curaçao and claims to have been approached by a woman matching Amy’s description. According to the sailor, the woman seemed frightened and told him her name was Amy Bradley and asked for help. Two men then approached her and forcibly escorted her up a flight of stairs. For reasons unknown, the sailor did not report this sighting until months later, by which time the brothel had burned down, taking any evidence with it.
In 2005, seven years after Amy’s disappearance, a man emailed Amy’s parent’s a picture of a woman bearing a striking resemblance to Amy that he had found on a website for escorts. The picture features a strung-out looking woman laying back on a bed with panties and a tank top on. This picture can be viewed here (WARNING: NSFW and disturbing). After receiving this picture, combined with the sailor’s sighting of Amy in the brothel, Amy’s family now believes she was sold into sexual slavery.
Other things of note:
THIS website contains the above picture and another more sexually explicit picture of the woman resembling Amy. There is also a copy of the email containing the pictures that was sent to her parents and a side-by-side comparison of Amy’s features to the woman in the pictures. Very interesting.
amybradley.net is a very thorough website concerning the Amy Lynn Bradley disappearance. If you’d like to learn more about her case, I’d suggest starting there. The homepage also links to the very interesting Vanished episode about her case.
I find the pictures that Amy’s parents were emailed very convincing and believe Amy was sold into sexual slavery. This entire case is so sad, and it’s disturbing to think that Amy most likely risked everything to tell that sailor who she was and ask for help, and he failed to report it until it was too late. This case and that picture of the woman on the bed always stick with me.
What do you think?