5 Missing People Who Were Found Alive

The phrase “missing person” conjures images of serial killers, human traffickers, and horrible endings. Missing is just a stop on the way to “body discovered.” But sometimes, remarkably, missing people are found alive. Mostly, it’s not hardworking sleuths uncovering criminal activity. Instead, kidnapped people escape, or bureaucratic hiccups reveal runaways and assumed identities. Here are five of those people.

5 Missing People Who Were Found


Capt. William Howard Hughes

Missing 35 Years

An investigation into passport fraud put an end to a mystery dating back to 1983. Capt. In the Netherlands, Hughes was working with NATO officers when he became depressed about serving in the Air Force. He returned to Albuquerque, NM, to withdraw his life saving, then moved to California and assumed a new identity. Hughes lived as Barry O’Beirne until 2018, when the Diplomatic Security Service found inconsistencies with his identity. He admitted his true identity, and special agents from the Air Force arrested him for desertion. 


Kamiyah Teresiah Tasha Mobley

Missing 19 Years

Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

Gloria Williams abducted Mobley from a Florida hospital when she was less than eight hours old. She impersonated a nurse by dressing in scrubs and wore a wig and glasses to disguise her identity. Williams conversed with Mobley’s mother, Shanara Mobley, before taking Kamiyah and walking out of the hospital. Williams raised Mobley as her own for the next 18 years alongside her two children. Mobley refers to Williams as her mother and describes her as “no felon.”

Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus

Missing 10 Years

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Ariel Castro kidnapped the three women and held them in his Cleveland home for ten years before Berry signaled a neighbor for help. The neighbors broke down Castro’s front door, and Berry and her 6-year-old daughter escaped to call the police who found Knight and DeJesus during the subsequent raid. A court indicted Castro on 977 counts and sentenced to consecutive life sentences plus 1000 years without the possibility of parole. He committed suicide a month into his imprisonment.

Shannon Matthews 

Missing 23 Days

Not every missing person story is a heart-wrenching plot of loss and uncertainty. Sometimes at the center is just good old fashioned greed. Like the case of Shannon Matthews in West Yorkshire, England. Her mother, Karen Matthews, and her mother’s boyfriend’s uncle, Micahel Donovan, came up with a scam to “kidnap” Shannon. After generating enough publicity and reward money, Donovan would “find” Shannon and collect the reward. Police broke into Donovan’s apartment after neighbors heard weird noises and found 8-year-old Shannon drugged and restrained in a bedroom. 


Jayme Closs

Missing 88 Days

Image by Pavlofox from Pixabay

In 2018, Jake Patterson broke into the Closs home in Wisconsin, killing Jayme’s parents and kidnapping the 13-year-old. Patterson forced Closs to live under his bed in his cabin in northern Wisconsin, for almost three months before she could escape and flagged down a neighbor for help. A judge sentenced Patterson to two consecutive life sentences, describing him as pure evil.  


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