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9 Disturbing Missing Persons Stories That'll Give You Sleepless Nights

Where are they?

1. The mystery of Maura Murray, Maura Murray Missing Facebook Group

Maura Murray was 21 when she lost control of her car and crashed into a snowbank in February, 2004. Another driver stopped and asked if she needed help, but she said no, she'd called the AAA. They drove off, deciding to call the police anyway.

Ten minutes later, when the police arrived, the car was locked and Murray was gone. There were no footprints in the snow, sniffer dogs couldn't get a scent on her, and a heat-seeking helicopter spotted nothing.

Strange details began to emerge. Murray, a straight-A nursing student, had withdrawn $280 from her account and emailed her teacher saying she'd have to miss class because there'd been a death in the family (there hadn't). Her cards and phone, a route map to Vermont, and a wine box were found in the back of the car, with red wine splashed on the outside. Back in Murray's dorm room, her belongings were found packed up in boxes.

But despite the leads, detectives made little progress, and there have been no credible sightings of Maura Murray since the night she disappeared.

2. The parking lot Polaroid,

In August 1989, a disturbing Polaroid photo was found in a Florida parking lot. It showed a young woman and a boy, bound and gagged in a small, dark space. A windowless white van had previously been spotted near where the photo appeared.

Two families came forward to identify the people in the picture. Nine-year-old Michael Henley had vanished on a camping trip with his father. Tara Calico, 19, had disappeared while cycling. Pieces of her Sony Walkman were found, but Tara and her bike had vanished.

Calico's mother was sure it was her daughter in the photo – her hair was the same, and she seemed to have the same scar on her right leg. Some time later, Henley's remains were found in the mountains where he went missing. But Calico's disappearance remains a mystery, and no one ever traced the origins of the sinister Polaroid.

3. The girl who vanished from her bed, The National Centre for the Missing and Exploited

On 14 February 2000, 9-year-old Asha Degree packed her bookbag in the middle of the night and walked out of her house. Her brother, who slept in the same room, said he heard noises coming from her bed, and at 6:30am her mother discovered she was missing. Police believe she left the house of her own accord, but Asha was a shy, well-behaved girl and her disappearance was out of character.

Several motorists spotted Asha wandering down the highway in the early hours of the morning in driving wind and rain. As one person slowed down to see if she was OK, Asha ran into the woods.

An immediate search found sweet wrappers and her hair clip in a shed nearby. Over a year later her bookbag was discovered wrapped in bin bags at a construction site, but Asha was never seen again.

4. What happened to Johnny Gosch?

Johnny Gosch was 12 when he disappeared on his morning paper run in 1982. His father found his paper wagon abandoned in the street, and a neighbour claimed to have seen him being followed. But the police had few leads and couldn't trace him.

Fifteen years later, two men knocked on the door of Johnny's mother Noreen's house. One of them claimed to be Johnny. He had long hair and a birthmark on his chest. Noreen was convinced it was her son. She said he seemed afraid and looked to the other man for approval while he talked. They spent an hour and a half together, before the pair left without saying where they were going.

No one could ever prove if the man who visited Noreen really was Johnny and, despite unconfirmed sightings, he's never been heard from since.

5. The disappearance of Zebb Quinn

Zebb Quinn, 18, and his colleague Robert Owens, then 21, were driving to view a car Quinn wanted to buy in January, 2000. The pair drove in separate cars, but midway through the journey Quinn pulled over and told Owens he needed to turn back.

Quinn never made it home. Owens, meanwhile, went to hospital later that day with broken ribs and a head injury, claiming he'd been in a car accident. Two weeks later, Quinn's car turned up in a parking lot with a giant pair of lips drawn in lipstick on the back window, and a puppy inside. Police found no trace of Quinn.

12 years later, Owens was arrested and charged for the murder of pregnant Food Network star Cristie Schoen Codd and her husband. Despite this disturbing development, the disappearance of Zebb Quinn remains unsolved.

6. The missing trio of Fort Worth

Rachel Trlica, 17, was heading to the mall with her friend Lisa Wilson, 14, to buy Christmas presents on December 23, 1974. As they were leaving, Lisa's neighbour, Julie Moseley, 9, asked to come along too.

Rachel's car was discovered later that day in the parking lot by Sears. The car was locked, and there were presents inside, but the girls had vanished. The next day, a letter arrived for Rachel's husband Tommy. It read:

"I know I'm going to catch it, but we just had to get away. We're going to Houston. See you in about a week. The car is in Sears upper lot. Love Rachel."

It was written in childish scrawl, and Tommy said it wasn't Rachel's handwriting. The girls have never been found.

7. The girl who was lost at sea

The Disney Wonder cruise ship was sailing off the coast of Mexico in 2011 when 24-year-old crewmember Rebecca Coriam apparently vanished into thin air.

She was seen on a security camera at 5:45am having a phone conversation, which seemed to be upsetting. A colleague stopped and asked if she was OK, and she mouthed, "I'm fine." One of her slippers was found on deck, but other than that she had disappeared without a trace.

Just a few hours earlier, she'd texted her mother to say she'd call the next day. Instead, her mother got a call from Disney saying Coriam was missing. The captain suggested she might have been washed overboard by a wave, and others said she might have jumped. But her parents suspect something more sinister.

The case has never been solved.

8. What happened to Suzy Lamplugh?

The last time anyone saw Suzy Lamplugh, she was on her way to a house viewing in Fulham, London, in 1986. She was a 25-year-old estate agent, and her office diary noted the details of her appointment: "12.45 Mr. Kipper – 37 Shorrolds Road".

Lamplugh's car was found later that night outside another property for sale on a different road. Her purse was in the car door.

Despite a huge police search and investigation no trace was ever found of Suzy Lamplugh. And the mysterious "Mr Kipper" has never been identified.

9. The girls who went up in smoke

Lauria Bible was having a sleepover at her friend Ashley Freeman's home in December 1999. That night a fire started, and when the emergency services arrived they found the body of Ashley's mum Kathy in the smouldering ruins.

The girls were missing, and at first police thought Ashley's father Danny had killed his wife and kidnapped Ashley and Lauria. But then Danny's body was found in the house as well. Both parents had been shot in the head before their bodies were burnt.

Lauria's car was found nearby with the keys in the ignition, leading some to suggest Ashley shot her parents and was planning a getaway. However, Lauria's purse was found with around $150 inside, and no one can explain why the girls would leave without the money. Despite several criminals being questioned over the deaths and disappearances, the case is still cold.