The rise in popularity of "true crime" might seem sort of unusual, but the Internet has always had an obsession with things that are strange or creepy —and there's definitely nothing more unsettling than unsolved murder cases. Although most people are already aware of big crime stories like the Menendez murders, but there've been other cases that have flown under the radar.
The unsolved cases you hear about only make up a fraction of the crimes that are being reported. While not all the stories become tabloid news, the stories are just as terrifying. And like most mysteries, they'll leave you with more questions than answers. Below, 11 cold cases that are simply chilling.
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In 2013, a Canadian student went missing while traveling in California. She was traveling alone and had scheduled to check out of her hotel on Jan. 31, but once the front desk didn't hear from her, they called the police.
After about a week of searching, the police released a disturbing video that showed Elisa's last known sighting. The elevator surveillance footage showed Elisa acting strangely, and as the video went viral, many people had several theories for her behavior, from mental illness to paranormal forces.
Meanwhile, guests at the hotel started complaining about "black" and foul-smelling water. Hotel staff checked the roof water tank where Elisa's body was found. Investigators said the cause of death was drowning. As for why or how Elisa got into the water tank remains a mystery.
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In 2010, Shannen, an escort, went missing after visiting a client on Long Island. She was accompanied by a driver, who was supposed to take her back home to Jersey City after her job was over. However, at around 3 a.m. she called 911 saying, "They're trying to kill me!" as she fled away from the client's house.
She ran to a neighbor's house who let her in. However, once the neighbor said he was going to call the police, she got scared and ran out of the house. She banged on one more neighbor's door before she gave up and fled out into the night where she disappeared.
About a year later, her body was found in a marsh about a half mile from where she disappeared. Police said the cause of death was an accidental drowning, but her family didn't believe it. Soon after her body was discovered, ten more bodies were found in the same area.
As for the "Long Island Serial Killer," they still haven't been found.
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This pregnant mom and her five-year-old son went missing in May 2002, the same year Laci Peterson went missing. However, although their cases are very similar, Evelyn's case was barely covered in the media.
A month after going missing, her decomposed torso was found floating in the San Francisco bay. Her baby (who was almost full term) and her five-year-old son were nowhere to be found. Police aggressively questioned her ex-boyfriend, but eventually ruled him out as a suspect. Her case is still open.
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In 2011, the 24-year-old disappeared while working on the Disney cruise ship Disney Wonder. The last known sighting was a surveillance video of Rebecca on the phone looking visibly distraught as she hung up and walked away. After the crew searched the whole boat, they then suspected she had fallen overboard. However, a coast guard searched the waters around the boat and found nothing. In the end, the Disney crew came up with the theory that she was knocked from the boat and thrown into the water from a large wave, however Rebecca's family didn't believe this theory.
Later, when a journalist decided to investigate the case, he discovered that many members of the Disney crew knew more than they wanted to reveal. "It didn't happen," a bartender told the reporter. "You know that's the answer I have to give." Other workers said Disney allegedly knew what happened because they "record everything."
Despite the numerous theories, including an anonymous email sent to Rebecca's parents telling her they saw Rebecca in Venice, the case is still unsolved.
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Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon
In 2014, the two Dutch college students disappeared while hiking in Panama. A few days after the women were reported as missing, their backpack was found by a local. Inside was a cell phone, that proved the students tried to call 911 numerous times, and a camera that showed the last snaps of them.
Probably the creepiest part of the case is the 90 photos taken between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. after both women were already pronounced missing. The majority of the pictures show complete darkness, while a few showed plastic bags, candy, and the back of Kris' head. Weeks later, 33 bone fragments were found close to where the backpack was. Investigators said the bones belonged to the women, but they still don't know the reason for their death.
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In 2017, yet another college student went missing in Panama. To make the case appear even more cryptic, shortly before her disappearance, she had posted on Instagram that she "had found paradise."
After an exhaustive search, her body was found three days later near the beach on Panama’s Bastimentos Island. Forensic results concluded she died from strangulation. Although the police have arrested and questioned dozens of suspects, no one has been charged yet and the case is still ongoing.
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Dorothy Jane Scott
In 1980, the 32-year-old secretary told her mother an unidentified male caller kept leaving her threatening messages and stalking her. It got so bad, Dorothy started taking karate lessons and contemplated buying a gun. However, just a few weeks later, co-workers witnessed her car speeding away recklessly out of a parking lot, and the next day the car was found burning in an alleyway with no one inside.
About a week after her disappearance, her parents began receiving mysterious phone calls from a man who said, "I've got her" and hung up. Four years later, a construction worker found her body. After the body was recovered, her parents received one last phone call from the mysterious man who said, "Is Dorothy home?" They, unfortunately, weren't able to trace the phone calls.
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The McStay Family
In 2010, Joseph McStay and his wife, Summer, and their two sons all mysteriously disappeared. After not being able to contact the family for a week, Joseph's brother broke into the McStays home where he found their two dogs still in the back yard and no signs of a struggle. Later, the family's car was found parked at a strip mall close to the Mexican border, but the family wasn't inside. Surveillance footage showed a family that resembled the McStays crossing the border into Mexico by foot, prompting investigators to suspect the family left voluntarily.
Unfortunately, the bodies of the family were found three years later in the desert near Victorville, CA. An autopsy revealed they were beaten with a blunt object, possibly a sledge hammer.
After the case was featured on crime shows like Disappeared and Nancy Grace, in 2014, cops made a breakthrough and arrested Joseph's business partner, Chase Merritt, in connection with the crime. However, his trial is set tentatively for Sept. 2017 and many skeptics aren't sure they believe he's responsible.
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In 2000, the 20-year-old left her fiancé in Arkansas to go visit her parents who lived 40 miles away. When she never made it to her parents' house, her fiancé called the police who did a search for her along the highway. They found her car on the side of the road, which still had her keys and wallet in it and showed no signs of a struggle. Three days later her body was found in a rain-swollen ditch. To make matter worse, heavy rain had washed away most, if any, evidence away, prompting the case to go cold.
Seven years later, Amanda's mother revealed she suspected her daughter was killed by a law enforcement officer or someone impersonating one.
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In 1996, the 31-year-old Canadian was found dead in a parking lot in Knoxville, TN surrounded by money. But it was the incidents that took place before his death that were the most mysterious. Friends and witnesses said he was acting strangely in the weeks before he died. He took out money from his account, quit his job, and fled across the border into the U.S., telling a friend that someone was trying to kill him. While staying in Knoxville, he left the lobby of his hotel and was never seen alive again. The cause of death? A single blow to the stomach.
Blair's story was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, but the case is still cold.
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In 2011, the 33-year-old disappeared on the same day she appeared on an episode of The People's Court with her ex-fiancé where they argued over a missing engagement ring. On the day the episode aired, Michelle dropped off her kids and then drove to work, but she never made it there. Her Hummer was found abandoned and her cell phone was found in a nearby lake. As for her body or whereabouts, no one knows.
Although police thought her ex-fiancé was a prime suspect, he was eventually cleared and the case is still open.