Mysterious disappearances are the stuff of legend....
Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, is perhaps one of the most famous of the missing cases that continue to fascinate. She and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean without a trace on June 2, 1937, during her attempt to also become the first female aviator to fly around the world.
After Earhart disappeared in 1937, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard launched the largest and most expensive air and sea search in American history to find her. Military ships scoured the ocean at a cost of $250,000 per day, but no conclusive evidence has ever been found.
On November 2, 2016, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Discovery, a group investigating one of the greatest aviation mysteries in history, said it's uncovered a similarity between the pilot and a body found 76 years ago.
Earhart stands in front of her bi-plane, "Friendship," in Newfoundland, June 14, 1928.
Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939. There are a number of theories explaining her mysterious disappearance, and the search for answers continues to this day. In June 2015, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery announced it was undertaking a new mission to search the South Pacific island where she is suspected to have crash-landed 78 years ago. The news on November 2, 2106, that the group’s forensic analysis of an Earhart photo showed a match between the size of her bones and those of a skeleton found on Gardner Island in Kirbati in 1940, put the Earhart mystery back in the spotlight once again. Still, the organization says its finding doesn’t prove the body is Earhart’s.
Click through to read about other famous disappearances.
U.S. aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son, Charlie, mysteriously vanished from his bedroom on the night of March 1, 1932.
Lindbergh and his wife reportedly found a ransom note in Charlie’s crib, demanding that they pay the abductor $50,000 in two installments or never see their baby again. Though the Lindberghs ultimately paid, Charlie was never returned to them alive. His badly beaten body was discovered in the woods near their New Jersey home, just under two months later.
Investigators later determined that the child was kidnapped and murdered by an illegal German immigrant, named Bruno Hauptmann, who was consequently sentenced to death and executed for the crime.
New York City real estate heir Robert Durst was the subject of a 2015 HBO documentary mini-series, "The Jinx," that captivated the nation when he was heard apparently confessing, "killed them all, of course," in reference to several murders he's long been considered responsible for. In addition to his other alleged crimes, the series highlighted the mysterious disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathleen McCormack.
McCormack was last seen at a friend's party in Newtown, Connecticut on January 31, 1982. Her husband told police that he dropped McCormack off at a train station later that evening because she had to attend medical school classes in New York City the next day. Kathleen McCormack, however, was never seen again and one of her friends caught Durst throwing her possessions in the trash shortly afterward.
Here, Robert Durst is transported from Orleans Parish Criminal District Court to prison on March 17, 2015, after he was arrested for his involvement in a separate murder a day before the final episode of "The Jinx" aired. His first wife's disappearance remains an unsolved case.
In 1971, 18-year-old Lynne Schulze disappeared suddenly from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Shortly after news of Robert Durst's arrest broke in March 2015, police announced that they were investigating a possible link between Schulze's 1971 disappearance and the millionaire murder suspect.
On May 25, 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz left his apartment in Lower Manhattan by himself for the first time to walk two blocks to catch the school bus. He disappeared without a trace before ever making it to the bus stop.
His disappearance sparked the modern missing children's movement, including new legislation and techniques for tracking down children who have disappeared. Notably, Patz was also the first missing child to ever appear on the side of a milk carton. And President Reagan deemed the day of his disappearance National Missing Children's Day in the United States.
Though a man named Pedro Hernandez later confessed to Patz's abduction and murder in 2012, the case against him was ultimately dismissed as a mistrial, May 8, 2015, after jurors failed to reach a verdict despite three weeks of deliberation. Here, Patz's mother speaks about her son's disappearance on the "Today Show" in 1981, insisting that the reason so many missing children are not found is that police departments in various cities do not talk to each other in conducting searches.
Where is Jimmy Hoffa?
For 40 years, the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa has proved to be one of the enduring mysteries in American folklore. "Where is Jimmy Hoffa?" is a pop culture conversation point.
James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa, the controversial leader of the powerful U.S. Teamsters union from 1957 to 1971, was sent to jail in 1967 with a 13-year sentence for jury tampering, fraud and conspiracy. Hoffa was released after a pardon agreement with President Nixon in 1971. He vanished from a Detroit-area restaurant without a trace July 30, 1975. Hoffa had no end of enemies as a powerful union boss with alleged mob connections.
With the release of the two "Godfather" films in the early 70s prior to Hoffa's disappearance, Americans were well versed in mob culture and the concept of "sleeping with the fishes." Theories abound about his disappearance. In the 80s, Hoffa was thought to be buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium, on "Saturday Night Live" they guessed he was inside R2-D2 of "Star Wars." OR maybe his body was in a Florida swamp. Or he was run through an industrial shredder or incinerator.
Jimmy Hoffa and Anthony Provenzano
On the night of July 30, 1975, Hoffa had reportedly gone to to meet with Provenzano, chief of the New Jersey Teamsters and Detroit Mafia enforcer Anthony Giacalone at the Macchus Red Fox restaurant in suburban Detroit, where he was last seen. Hoffa placed a call to his wife saying he'd wait a few more minutes for the ment to show... the last known conversation he had.
Hoffa believed that Giacolone was acting as a middleman to sort out a feud between the Hoffa and Provenzano, but Giacolone and Provenzano were no-shows, according to the FBI. Both Giacolone and Provenzano told the FBI that no meeting had been arranged.
Over the years, a multitude of false leads have been pursued by investigators in the Hoffa disappearance.
In January 2013, convicted mobster and Mafia captain Tony Zerilli told NBC New York that he knew the location where Jimmy Hoffa had been buried in suburban Detroit. He claimed Hoffa was buried in a "shallow grave" in a field in Oakland County, Michigan reportedly previously owned by Detroit crime boss Jack Tocco.
The former head of the FBI in Detroit said Zerilli was reputed to be the underboss of the Detroit organized crime family, so he would have been in the know. The FBI excavated a large tract of the field, but to no avail.
Here, Hoffa (L) awaits a plane at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport with his son, James P. Hoffa, prior to heading to federal prison after visiting his ailing wife at a hospital in San Francisco. James P. Hoffa was sworn in as president of the Teamsters in May 1999.
Hoffa and Bobby Kennedy
Jimmy Hoffa, right, Midwest boss of the Teamsters union, talks with Robert F. Kennedy, counsel for the Senate Rackets Investigating Committee in Washington, D.C., August 21, 1957. Hoffa was to take the witness stand for more questioning about his financial affairs during the McClellan hearings.
The Kennedy brothers considered Hoffa a menace and many described the relationship as a blood feud with Hoffa. Robert Kennedy spearheaded the McClellan hearings in which Hoffa and many others were questioned about their ties to organized crime. As Attorney General, Robert Kennedy had men known as the Hoffa group collecting information about the union boss at the Justice Department.
The Conspiracy theorists relish the connection to the Kennedys and theories exist about Hoffa's connection to President Kennedy's assassination.
Hoffa in Federal penitentiary
Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa, center, shakes hands with one of the Federal marshals who brought him to the Federal penitentiary before being led away by the prison guard, right, at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, March 7, 1967. Hoffa, faced a 13-year-sentence and was brought to the prison after surrendering in Washington, D.C. Hoffa served only 58 months before President Nixon commuted his sentence with the stipulation Hoffa stay out of union politics till 1980, the length of his original sentence.
Jimmy Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982, but his case remains open and police still act on tips about his whereabouts to this day.
Here, FBI agents search a field in Oakland Township, Michigan for Hoffa's remains, June 17, 2013. Authorities did so, acting on a tip from Tony Zerilli, an 85-year-old former mobster, who was released from prison in 2008.
Jack Nicholson as Jimmy Hoffa
Hoffa's disappearance has been the subject of countless books and three movies -- "Hoffa" with Jack Nicholson, "Blood Feud" starring Robert Blake and "F.I.S.T." with Sylvester Stallone.
Actors Jack Nicholson, left, in makeup as Jimmy Hoffa, and Danny DeVito walk onto the set of the movie "Hoffa" in Detroit on March 26, 1992.
Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America, mysteriously vanished along with her parents and their fellow colonists from Roanoke Island, North Carolina in 1591.
The only clue left behind was the word "Croatan" carved into one of the settlement's posts, suggesting perhaps that the Native American Croatan tribe had either kidnapped or killed the settlers.
Here, Dr. H.J. Pearce, president of Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, examines a roughly carved stone in Edenton, North Carolina on June 23, 1939, which he regards as a possible clue to the fate of Virginia Dare. Signed with the name of Eleanor Dare, mother of Virginia, the inscription in Elizabethan English says that 15 of the colonists, including Virginia and her father, were slain by Native Americans and the surviving seven left the island and traveled southwest.
Escaped prisoners of Alcatraz
On June 11, 1962, three inmates -- Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin -- defied the odds and escaped from Alcatraz.
The subject of the 1979 Clint Eastwood flick "Escape From Alcatraz," Morris and the Anglin brothers spent two years planning their crafty escape. When they finally executed it, they drilled through the air vents in their cells with a motor made from a vacuum cleaner and cafeteria spoons, fashioned plaster dummies to leave in their bed so that the guards would not realize they were missing, and pieced together a makeshift raft out of raincoats from the prison sewing shop.
Though authorities later launched one of the largest manhunts in history to sniff them out, the three men were never heard from again.
On November 24, 1971, a man using the alias D.B. Cooper hijacked a Northwest Airlines jet between Portland and Seattle. "Cooper" then demanded several parachutes, $200,000 in ransom money, and for the plane to fly him to Mexico with its rear door unlocked.
Then, despite the fact that five different planes were tailing the jetliner, Cooper parachuted from the plane en route to Nevada unseen.
Though the FBI insists that he couldn't have survived the jump, they released new composite sketches of the skyjacker in 2007 in the hopes of officially closing the case once and for all.
Abbie Hoffman, the leader of the Youth International Party known as the Yippies, frequently made headlines in the 1960's and 70's for staging wild stunts to protest the Vietnam War, as well as America's established economic and political systems.
He was arrested a number of times for his actions. In 1974, for example, he was taken into custody for attempting to sell $36,000 worth of cocaine in New York City.
Hoffman then jumped bail, vanished and personally reported his disappearance to the police. Several years later, authorities apprehended him in upstate New York, where he was living with a new name and a new face.
Russia's last Emperor, Czar Nicholas II, had four daughters. His youngest, Grand Duchess Anastasia, seen at right here, went missing in 1917 following the October Revolution.
And though many believe she was killed by Bolshevik revolutionaries, several women claimed her identity (and her vast Romanov fortune) after the fact... both confusing the issue and rendering her disappearance one of the most widely debated of all time.
Jim Thompson was an OSS intelligence operative for the U.S., during World War II. After founding the Thai Silk Company in 1948, he also become one of the wealthiest and most famous Americans living in Asia during that time.
On March 26, 1967, however, Thompson went for a walk in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia and never returned. To this day, his disappearance remains one of the most mysterious unsolved missing persons cases ever.
Judge Joseph Force Crater
Judge Joseph Force Crater served as an Associate Justice for the New York Supreme Court in the early 20th Century. A high ranking city government official, Crater made front page news when he mysteriously disappeared after a night out on the town, August 6, 1930.
Crater and his wife, Stella Mance Wheeler, had been vacationing in Belgrade, Maine when he suddenly returned to the city for work purposes, promising Wheeler he would return in time for her birthday on the ninth.
On the morning of the sixth, Judge Crater had his law clerk cash two checks for him. He then bought a single ticket for a Broadway show and went out to dinner with his mistress and a lawyer friend. That dinner was the last time he was ever seen. Flags were raised when Crater then failed to report for the opening of the courts on August 25, 1930.
For many years after his disappearance, the phrase "to pull a Crater" was used in popular culture interchangeably with "to disappear." "Judge Crater, call your office" also became a go-to gag for nightclub comedians of the time.