A couple of months ago we did some articles on unsolved mysteries. We are thinking of bringing them back. So today we are going to start with 10 Lesser Known Child Disappearances.
01. Michaela Joy Gareth
The kidnapping of Michaela Gareth is probably one of the better known cases on this list. At the time the case gained national attention, especially for the notoriety of how the kidnapping was acted out.
Michaela was 9 years old in 1988 living with her mother, father and two siblings in Hayward California. On the first day of Thanksgiving vacation Michaela and best friend Trina begged for permission to go the supermarket just two blocks away to buy candy and sodas. Though Michaela had never been there alone and her mother’s initial response was no, the girls kept pleading and in her mother eventually gave in.
Michaela and Trina arrived at the supermarket on their scooters, parked them outside and went in and purchased candy, soda and beef jerky. They left the supermarket by foot at first, forgetting that they had ridden on there on their scooters but quickly remembering and running back to fetch them. Michaela’s scooter had been moved from its spot in front of the supermarket door and put next to a damaged tannish-gold full-size sedan car. As she went to pick it up, a man in his 20’s with dirty-blonde hair and severe acne jumped out of the car, threw a screaming Michaela in the car and sped away.
Though an extensive police investigation was launched and the Hayward Police department received more then 5000 tips the first year alone, no trace of Michaela or her kidnapper was ever found. Michaela’s mom runs a website with letters to Michaela and updates about leads.
02. Eugene Wade Martin
You can’t talk about the disappearance of Eugene without mentioning another missing boy, John Gosch. Though vanishing two years apart, the details of their disappearances are eerily similar. Both were fresh faced paperboys living in Des Moines in the 80s, both had a paper route delivering the Des Moines Register in the wee hours and both never returned home one morning.
Normally 13-year old Eugene did the paper route with his older stepbrother but on this fatal morning he was alone. Eugene was last seen around 5 and 6am (accounts differ) wearing blue jeans, a red shirt and a gray pullover having a friendly conversation with a 30-something clean-cut white male in a car. Witnesses describe the chat as being friendly, almost father-and-son like, with no indication of danger. Between 6.10 and 6.15am Eugene’s lonely paper-bag was found outside of Des Moines, 10 neatly folded papers still inside.
At around 8.40 am the police were notified. Federal agents stated they strongly suspected John Gosch’s and Eugene’s disappearances were linked but though an nation wide bulletin was issued for the suspect, who they described as likely being an introvert and a loner, the boys and their suspected kidnapper remain missing. John Gosch story was propelled into the spotlight again during the late 90s following his mother, Noreen Gosch, claim that a now grown-up Gosch had visited her with a strange man, telling a horrifying tale about being sold into a pedophile prostitution ring, escaping and now living in hiding in fear for his life. Investigators have never been able to confirm Noreen’s account about the visit and John has never visited his mother again.
03. Cherrie Ann Mahan
Cherrie was 8 years old when she vanished February 22, 1985 and was the first child to appear on The Centre for Missing and Exploited Children’s “Have You Seen Me?” search cards. The dark-haired third-grader from the Winfield Elementary School was last seen getting off the school bus only less than 100 yards from her family’s rural Pennsylvanian home, carrying a blue backpack decorated with a blue and red heart.
She never made it. Though new fallen snow covered the driveway to Cherri’s house investigators were not able to match any footprints to Cherri, leading them to believe, she was snatched off the side of the road. Possible only a minutes after leaving the bus, most likely by someone she knew as the shy child would not have gotten into a car with a stranger. A mysterious van was seen trailing Cherri’s school bus and though no one got a look at the driver, the van had distinctive features, making it easy to remember.
The van had snow-capped mountains and a skier skiing down the mountain wearing red and yellow clothes painted on both sides. Police was never able to locate the car or its driver and it is still unknown whether or not the car has anything to do with Cherri’s disappearance.
04. Lindsey Baum
In 2009 Lindsey, a bright, talkative blond-haired, blue-eyed 10-year-old living in McCleary, Washington, dreamed of becoming a veterinarian or an author when she grew up.
On June 26 Lindsey spent the evening at a friends house. Afraid of the dark and knowing she had a curfew at 10pm, she left her friends house around 9.15pm, a journey that should only take her around 10 minutes to walk. A neighbor, who drove past the child half way between Lindsey and her friend’s home, is most likely the last person to see her.
The case drew national attention, FBI became involved and the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s office followed up on hundreds of leads all to no avail. A local jewelry storeowner was named as a suspect and in 2011 his home was searched for possible clues to Lindsey’s disappearance. Though police stated they found several pieces of evidence, none could be linked definitively to Lindsey. To this day charges against the suspect has not been filed and what happened to Lindsey is still unclear.
05. Ricky Ray Barnet
Little Ricky had been visiting his grandparents on their Hillcrest Farms for a couple of weeks with his father in 1982, while his mother was in Idaho. At around 10 am the 2-year-old, clad in red and blue overalls, a pajamas top and cowboy boots was seen sitting in a hay wagon in front of one of the barns, watching a dozen or so workers unloading a delivery of chickens.
Approximately 15 minutes later he was discovered missing and at 10.30am after a fruitless search, the family called police. Though an immediate extensive search with more than 200 volunteers was launched, it yielded few clues to his whereabouts. Ricky’s grandparent’s farm was located seven miles north of Grangeville in a rural area surrounded by several hundred acres. Tracker dogs tracked the toddler’s scent to a fence line on the northwest part of the farm but then lost the trail. Police investigators first theorized that Ricky simply wandered away, got lost and succumbed to the elements. They recanted this later in the investigation after Ricky’s grandmother failed a polygraph. His grandparents were subsequently named as possible suspects in his disappearance.
Ricky’s grandmother was cleared for any involvement after passing a polygraph in 2001, almost two decades after her grandson’s disappearance. Ricky’s grandfather died before the exam could take place. The mystery of what happened to the hazel-eyed child remains unsolved.
06. Beverly Rose Potts
Though it has been more than 60 years since 10 year-old Beverly vanished after a trip to the park in Cleveland, Ohio, locals still remember her case. Around 9pm on August 24, 1951 Beverly set out on an 8 eight-minute walk home through her familiar neighborhood after spending the evening at the Showagon, an annual summer festival. Beverly’s mother Elizabeth who’d initially forbidden the shy fifth grader to go to the park, a punishment for being late a few nights before, had gave her special permission to attend the show this evening.
Beverly and her friend Patsy had already been at the park earlier that evening and returned to the carnival around 8.00 pm to see the show. Beverly was allowed to stay until the show was over while Patsy on the other hand had to be home before dark and left at around 8.40 leaving Beverly by herself. Patsy told police she last saw Beverly watching the show in company with a small, plump woman who curiously had her hand resting on Beverly’s shoulder. This woman has never been identified. When the show ended around 9.30pm a teenage acquaintance of Beverly’s recalled seeing her crossing the darkening park diagonally, heading in the northeast direction of her home. She never made it home and by 10.30 pm her frantic parents called the police.
As Beverly was described as being very shy and vary around strangers especially boys and men, people who knew her did not believe she would have gone willingly with a person she didn’t know. In 2000 the Cleveland Plain Dealer News reporter received 3 letters from an unidentified man confessing to Beverly’s kidnapping and murder. The man alleged to be on his deathbed prompting the confession. Investigators were however never able to locate the author of the letters and the authenticity of the confession has never been confirmed.
07. Kevin Andrew McCarthy Collins
A year and twelve days to the day Cherrie Ann Mahan was dropped off her school bus and vanished into thin air another child across the country waited for a bus that he never boarded. Kevin was a freckled, stocky build 10-year-old who enjoyed played basket, had nine siblings and resided with his Irish Catholic family in San Francisco.
Around 6.40 p.m. on February 12, 1985 Kevin had finished basketball practice and was waiting for the bus on the corner of Oak Street and Masonic Avenue to take him home. Witnesses last saw him wearing his school uniform, talking to a 20-30ish blonde man, around six feet tall. A big black dog, possibly a Great Dane, accompanied the man. No one actually witnessed anything suspicious and it is not clear if the unidentified man had anything to do with Kevin’s disappearance. A big search effort was launched, thousands of fliers were distributed, billboards and newspapers with Kevin’s picture became a common sight around the San Francisco area but police found no evidence and a suspect was never named.
In 2013 investigators started digging in the backyard and the basement of a house belonging to a person of interest in Kevin’s case, who had lived there at the time of Kevin’s disappearance. No remains or evidence related to Kevin’s case was unearthed and Kevin remains missing.
08. Diamond and Tionda Bradley
In 2002, 365 yellow and white balloons were released into the air at the 35oo block of South Lake Park Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Afterwards a garden was planted in front of the modest two-bedroom apartment. All in remembrance of two young sisters who at that time had been missing for 1 year. The girls, one with a green ponytail holders in her hair, the other with violet and purple ones, are still missing.
On July 6 2001 3-year-old Diamond and 10-year-old Tionda left a note written in childish handwriting for their mother, saying the pair were walking to nearby shop and Doolittle School where Tionda was enrolled in summer classes. Their mother Tracey had left for work at around 6.30 am that morning and by the time she arrived home at 11 am the girls were nowhere to be found.
Though witnesses place the girls playing outside their residence at around 12-12.30 pm contradicting Tracey’s recollection of events, this sighting was never confirmed by officials. Police did start to suspect the family; Tracey, her mother and her father were somehow involved in the girl’s disappearance after Tracey refused to cooperate with investigators and allegedly shoved a police officer who tried to escort her to the station to discuss new leads in 2002.
They were all subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing. An extensive search and follow ups on thousand leads, one that took the investigation out of out country, yielded few clues to what happened to the Bradley sisters.
09. Jeremiah Huger
In most cases of child disappearances there are no witnesses to the actual abduction. It is as if the child is there one minute and gone with a blink of an eye. In some rare cases like Michaela Gareth’s case and in more recent memory Jaycee Dugard’s in California in 1991, the kidnapper risked the danger of being seen and snatched the child in clear view of neighbors, friends or family members, as seen in the kidnapping case of Jeremiah Huger.
On June 25, 1985 Jeremiah, wearing a light blue shirt, dark shorts and white sneakers, was playing with his friends in the yard of his home in the New York City borough of the Bronx. An unidentified African-American male called the 4-year-old’s name from street and when the child ran to him, the man proceeded to grab the boy and leave. It is not clear if the suspect left the area with Jeremiah by foot or car or if the boy went along willingly. Jeremiah’s mother later stated that she suspected an abusive ex-boyfriend, who had previously threatened to kidnap the child, was responsible. The police never made any arrests in relation to Jeremiahs case and he remains missing to this day.
10.Todd Eugene Collett
Todd was only a few months shy of his fourth birthday when he vanished on January 23, 1964 from Santa Barbara County, California. The blonde, blue-eyed boy was playing with his twin brother and their friend across the road from a construction side. Todd’s mother had strictly forbidden the boys to enter the construction side and while Todd’s twin obliged Todd and the friend ventured toward the dirt embankments on their own.
Around twenty minutes later the friend’s mother saw him across the street, went to get him and asked where Todd was. The boy could give no clear answer but mentioned something about a fire and a bulldozer. A fire did actually burn at the construction site and was not put out for hours but investigators were never able to find any sign of human remains in the ashes. Tracker dogs indicated that Todd might have travelled over the railroad tracks and over an overpass but never found any clues to what happened to him beyond this.
People in the area describe a scruffy looking stranger lurking around the neighborhood at the time the child disappeared. The individual has never been identified and Todd has never been found.