This is a list of notable, historically testified people who mysteriously disappeared, and whose current whereabouts are unknown or whose deaths are not substantiated.
834 (circa) - Muhammad ibn Qasim (al-Alawi) led a rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate but was defeated and detained. He was able to flee but was never heard from again.
1021 - Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (36), sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismailiimam, rode his donkey to the Muqattam hills outside Cairo for one of his regular nocturnal meditation outings and failed to return. A search found only the donkey and his bloodstained garments.
1412 - Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales, instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England in 1400. Although initially successful, the uprising was eventually put down, but Glyndŵr disappeared and was never captured, betrayed, or tempted by royal pardons.
1499 - John Cabot, Italian explorer, disappeared along with his five ships during an expedition to find a western route from Europe to Asia.
1501 - Gaspar Corte-Real, Portuguese explorer, disappeared on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia. Two of his ships returned to Lisbon, but the third, with Gaspar on board, was lost and never heard from again.
1502 - Miguel Corte-Real, Portuguese explorer, disappeared while searching for his brother Gaspar. Like his brother, he took three ships, and as with his brother, the ship with Miguel on board was lost and never heard from again.
1546 - Francisco de Orellana, Spanish explorer and conquistador disappeared while exploring the Amazon in November, and his grave remains a mystery.
1590 - The Roanoke colonists disappeared, becoming known as The Lost Colony, in 18 August 1590, when their settlement was found abandoned.
1631 - At Baltimore, County Cork in the far south of Ireland the entire population of the village disappeared, never to be seen again. This is thought to be the action of North African slavers.
1848 - Khachatur Abovian (38), Armenian writer and national public figure of the early 19th century, credited as creator of modern Armenian literature, left his house early one morning and was never heard from again.
1848- Ludwig Leichhardt (34), Prussian explorer and naturalist, disappeared during his third major expedition to explore parts of northern and central Australia. He was last seen on 3 April at McPherson's Station on the Darling Downs, en route from the Condamine River to the Swan River. His fate after moving inland, although investigated by many, remains a mystery.
1872 - Captain Benjamin Briggs (37), his wife Sarah Elizabeth (31), daughter Sophia Matilda (2), and all seven crew members were missing when the Mary Celeste was found adrift in choppy seas some 400 miles (640 km) east of the Azores. Their unexplained disappearances are the core of "one of the most durable mysteries in nautical history"
1880 - Lamont Young, a government geologist inspecting new goldfields on behalf of the New South Wales Mines Department, together with his assistant, Max Schneider, and boat owner Thomas Towers and two other men all disappeared near Bermagui, New South Wales, Australia. The location where the abandoned wreck of their boat was discovered was subsequently named Mystery Bay.
1912 - Bobby Dunbar (4) disappeared during a fishing trip in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. A child found in the custody of William Cantwell Walters of Mississippi some eight months later was ruled to be Bobby Dunbar by a court-appointed arbiter, and Walters was found guilty of kidnapping. The child grew up as Bobby Dunbar, had four children of his own, and died in 1966. In 2004, DNA tests proved that the child found was not related to Bobby Dunbar's brother, Alonzo.
1914 - Alejandro Bello Silva (27), a lieutenant in the Chilean Army, disappeared during a qualifying exam flight over central Chile. Although search efforts commenced within hours, no trace was ever found. His disappearance is reflected in a Chilean set phrase, "more lost than Lieutenant Bello", applied to people who stray off course or disappear en route.
1920 - Victor Grayson (39), British socialist politician, received a phone call and told his friends that he had to go to the Queen's Hotel in Leicester Square and would be back shortly. He was last seen entering a house owned by Maundy Gregory.
1921 - The captain and crew of the Carroll A. Deering, which was found beached near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
1925 - Percy Fawcett (58), British archaeologist and explorer, together with his eldest son, Jack, and friend Raleigh Rimmell, was last seen travelling into the jungle of Mato Grosso in Brazil to search for a hidden "city of gold". Several unconfirmed sightings and many conflicting reports and theories explaining their disappearance followed, but despite the loss of over 100 lives in more than a dozen follow-up expeditions, and the recovery of some of Fawcett's belongings, their fate remains a mystery.
1927 - Charles Nungesser (45), French aviator, and his navigator, François Coli (45), disappeared while attempting a flight from Paris to New York. They are presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic, or possibly in Newfoundland or Maine, but no wreckage that could be confirmed to be from their biplane, The White Bird, was ever found.
1930 - Joseph Force Crater (41), an associate justice of the New York Supreme Court, was last seen entering a New York City taxicab, and his mistress, Sally Lou Ritz (22), disappeared a few weeks later. Neither was ever heard from again, and Crater's disappearance, which prompted one of the most sensational manhunts of the 20th century, was the subject of widespread media attention and a grand jury investigation. Crater was declared legally dead in 1939 and his missing persons file was officially closed in 1979; however, Cold Case Squad detectives have investigated new leads as recently as 2005, and the term "pull a Crater" became slang for a person vanishing.
1935 - Charles Kingsford Smith (38), Australian pioneer aviator, and co-pilot Tommy Pethybridge disappeared during an overnight flight from Allahabad, India, to Singapore, while attempting to break the England-Australia speed record. Eighteen months later, Burmese fishermen found an undercarriage leg and wheel (with its tire still inflated) on the shoreline of Aye Island in the Andaman Sea, 3 km (2 mi) off the southeast coastline of Burma, which Lockheed confirmed to be from their Lockheed Altair, the Lady Southern Cross. Botanists who examined the weeds clinging to it estimated that the aircraft itself lies not far from the island at a depth of approximately 15 fathoms (90 ft; 27 m). A filmmaker claimed to have located Lady Southern Cross on the seabed in February 2009.
1939 - Lloyd L. Gaines (28) was the central figure in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938), one of the most important court cases of the U.S. civil rights movement. After graduating from Lincoln University (a historically black college) as an honors student with a bachelor's degree in history, he applied for admission to the University of Missouri (MU) law school. Denied solely because of the color of his skin, he ultimately secured a landmark Supreme Court of the United States decision which, in December 1938, ordered the state of Missouri to admit him to the MU law school or provide a faculty of equal stature for blacks within the state border. In 1939, Missouri lawmakers responded by converting a run-down St. Louis beauty college into the Lincoln law school. The NAACP was ready to challenge this as inadequate; however, on the evening of 19 March, Gaines left his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity house in Chicago, having told the housekeeper he was going to buy some stamps, and was never seen or heard from again, forcing the NAACP to drop the case. It was another decade before MU admitted a black student. MU awarded Gaines an honorary posthumous law degree in 2006.
1944 - Glenn Miller (40), the popular American jazz musician and bandleader, was en route from England to France to play for troops in recently liberated Paris when the single-engine aircraft in which he was a passenger disappeared over the English Channel some 10 days before Christmas. The plane and those on board have never been located. As a U.S. military officer who vanished in wartime, Miller continues to be listed officially as missing in action.
1945 - Heinrich Müller (45), NaziGestapo chief, last confirmed sighting in the Führerbunker on the evening of May 1, the day after Hitler's suicide. The NARA review of his CIA file and related documents states that while the record is "...inconclusive on Müller's ultimate fate ... [he] most likely died in Berlin in early May 1945."
1945 - Raoul Wallenberg (32), Swedish diplomat credited with saving the lives of at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, was arrested on espionage charges in Budapest following the arrival of the Soviet army. His subsequent fate remains a mystery despite hundreds of purported sightings, some as recent as the 1980s. In 2001, after 10 years of research, a Swedish-Russian panel concluded that Wallenberg probably died (most likely was executed) in Soviet custody in 1947, but to date no hard evidence has been found to confirm this.
1955 - The crew and passengers of the 69-foot merchant vessel Joyita, which disappeared in the South Pacific; the Joyita was found five weeks later, partially submerged and listing heavily, with no one on board.
1955 - Weldon Kees (41), U.S. poet, disappeared without leaving a note but had talked about packing up and moving to Mexico. His Plymouth Savoy was found on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge with the keys in the ignition.
1956 - Three USAF airmen, commander Captain Robert H. Hodgin (31), observer Captain Gordon M. Insley (32), and pilot 2nd Lt. Ronald L. Kurtz (22), disappeared when their B-47 Stratojet was lost after failing to make contact with an aerial refueling tanker at 14,000 ft over the Mediterranean.
1967 - James P. Brady (59), Canadian Metis leader, and a Cree friend, Abraham Halkett (40), disappeared while on a prospecting trip in northern Saskatchewan. An extensive land, air, and water search located their camp but failed to find any trace of either man.
1970 - Robin Graham (18) ran out of gas on the Hollywood Freeway. She was last seen by California Highway Patrol officers, who directed her to a call box and later saw her speaking with a man beside her car. The circumstances of her disappearance resulted in CHP policy's being changed to ensure the safety of stranded female motorists.
1977 - Donald Mackay (43), Australian antidrugs campaigner, was assassinated after providing information to police which resulted in what was then the biggest drugs bust in Australian history.
1977 - Megumi Yokota (13) was kidnapped from the city of Niigata, Japan. In 2002 North Korea admitted to having abducted her and claimed she died in 1994. The American documentary Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story was released in 2006.
1980 - Azaria Chamberlain, nine-week-old Australian baby girl, presumed taken by a dingo near Uluru. Some clothing items were later recovered, but her remains have never been found. Azaria's disappearance and the subsequent police investigation were the basis for the 1988 motion picture A Cry in the Dark.
1982 - Johnny Gosch (12) was reported missing to West Des Moines Police Department by his parents after he disappeared while delivering newspapers. At that time, there was a customary three-day waiting period before police responded to missing persons reports. Gosch was never heard from again, but his case prompted new laws for Iowa and other states, resulting in missing persons reports involving children being given immediate attention.
1984 - Kevin Andrew Collins (10) disappeared while returning home alone from basketball practice at his school in the Haight district of San Francisco. His was one of the first of the "Have you seen me?" milk carton photos.
1986 - Suzy Lamplugh (25), British estate agent, disappeared from Fulham, West London. In 1994 she was declared dead, presumed murdered. Despite further police investigations in 1998 and 2000, no trace of her has ever been found.
1989 - Jacob Wetterling (11) was abducted by a masked gunman while cycling home in the dark with his brother Trevor (10) and friend Aaron (11) after going to rent a video from a convenience store a 10-minute ride away from his home in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
Ben Needham, a 21-month-old boy, disappeared from the island of Kos in Greece on July 24. He has never been found. It was believed Ben was abducted, and several suspects in Kos and Veria were suggested as being responsible, but no one was ever charged with abduction.
Michael Dunahee (4) disappeared from a school playground in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. His parents were nearby, but no witnesses to his presumed abduction have ever been identified, and there have been no subsequent confirmed sightings of him.
Michael Anthony Hughes (6) was kidnapped from his school in Choctaw, Oklahoma, by Franklin Delano Floyd, who claimed that Hughes was his son. Authorities have received conflicting reports from Floyd as to whether Hughes was murdered or is still alive and safe in the custody of an undisclosed caregiver.
Tom and Eileen Lonergan (34 & 29), an American couple left stranded owing to a faulty head count while scuba diving in shark-infested waters off Australia's Great Barrier Reef, were not reported missing until their belongings were found on the dive boat two days later. Double suicide and murder/suicide theories were ruled out by police and the coroner, who charged skipper Jack Nairn with manslaughter; he was acquitted in November 1999. The 2004 film Open Water was based on their disappearance.
Bruno Manser (45), Swiss-born activist who fervently campaigned for the preservation of rainforests in Sarawak, was last seen in May 2000 in the isolated village of Bareo in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, close to the border with Indonesia. He was declared legally dead in March 2005.
Trevor Deely (22) was last seen when filmed by a CCTV camera near the Baggot Street bridge in Dublin city centre as he walked home to his apartment in Serpentine Avenue, Sandymount, on a stormy night during a taxi strike. Despite an extensive poster campaign and police searches from the air, with dogs, with divers, and by dredging, his fate remains unknown.
Peter Falconio (28), British tourist, disappeared in the Australian outback while traveling with girlfriend Joanne Lees. Although Falconio's body has never been found, Bradley John Murdoch was convicted of his murder in 2005.
Jason Jolkowski (19), resident of Omaha, Nebraska, disappeared on June 13. His parents subsequently founded Project Jason, a nonprofit organization that assists families of missing persons.
Ben Charles Padilla (50), licensed aircraft mechanic, flight engineer, and pilot of small airplanes, was on board Boeing 727-223 designation N844AA when it was stolen from Luanda, Angola, on 25 May and has not been heard from since. On 28 June an aircraft closely resembling N844AA was seen at Conakry, Guinea, but there have been no subsequent sightings.
Joe Pichler (18), American child actor, disappeared from his home town of Bremerton, Washington. Four days later his car was found above the Port Madison Narrows; inside, police discovered a message which they characterized as a suicide note. Though it did not explicitly state that he intended to take his own life, the note expressed suicidal thoughts and asked that his belongings go to his younger brother.
Kaz II, a 9.8 m (32 ft) catamaran, was found adrift with its three-man crew, owner Derek Batten (56) and brothers Peter Tunstead (69) and James Tunstead (63), missing. The yacht's sails were up and its engine running, and the global positioning system showed the yacht had been drifting since around the time of their last known radio contact, about 11 hours after they departed Shute Harbour for Townsville, Queensland, five days earlier.
Madeleine McCann (3) disappeared after being left unsupervised in the unlocked ground-floor bedroom of her family's rented holiday apartment in the Algarve (Portugal) while her parents dined with friends at a local restaurant; there have been no confirmed sightings of her since then.
Leonid Rozhetskin (41), Russian-born British media magnate, disappeared from his house in Jūrmala, Latvia, in what Latvian police described as "extremely worrying circumstances"; he may have been the victim of a political murder plot.
^Analysis of the Name File of Heinrich Mueller National Archives and Records Administration - Timothy Naftali, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia; Norman J.W. Goda, Ohio University; Richard Breitman, American University; Robert Wolfe, National Archives (ret.)