Urban Disappearances

Hosted byGeorge Knapp

Urban Disappearances

About the show

George Knapp welcomed researcher and author David Paulides, who provided an update on his investigation into mysterious disappearances and detailed how his latest research now takes him to urban areas, where he is finding evidence that fits his criteria for this unsettling phenomenon. While he had previously been focused on disappearances in national parks, Paulides explained that he began looking into strange urban cases after reading about a cluster of extremely smart and athletic young men who disappeared and their bodies were later discovered under unusual circumstances. As he began looking deeper into such cases, Paulides was astonished to find that the minutiae of these events had a number of eerie similarities to the national park disappearances he had chronicled in his Missing 411 series of books.

Paulides observed that the many cases of upstanding young men disappearing in urban areas contradicted what one would expect from instances where someone vanishes from a city in the middle of the night. He marveled that these were not criminals, alcoholics, or drug addicts, but rather the "best of the best kind of guys." Although the majority of these cases find the victims possessing an extremely high level of alcohol in their system, Paulides stressed that the circumstances of these disappearances do not appear to allow for such an amount to be consumed. To that end, he suggested that perhaps the high level of alcohol is being used, by whomever is perpetrating the crime, as a way of dissuading further investigation by law enforcement.

He also pointed out extremely suspicious circumstances surrounding the trend of victims being found in water. Despite medical examiners often attributing the death to drowning, he cited subsequent independent investigations which revealed that the bodies were likely deposited in the water after the person's demise, but not immediately after they had disappeared. As such, he said, it appears that the victims were held captive, then died, and were subsequently dumped in the water. Acknowledging that this scenario sounds unbelievable, Paulides lamented that "when you read the reports, these are the facts." According to Paulides, other recurring elements found in many of these cases are victims reportedly feeling very tired just prior to disappearing, cell phones going dead or vanishing, and the lack of any witnesses or video surveillance footage from the moment when these people go missing.

Over the course of his appearance, Paulides shared a number of accounts of mysterious urban disappearances he has uncovered throughout the latest stage of his investigation. One such case was that of Fordham student Patrick McNeil, who disappeared after leaving a Manhattan bar in February of 1997. Fifty five days later, McNeil's body was discovered in the East River, twelve miles from where he was last seen. A medical examination of the body indicated that he died on land, but the coroner, nonetheless, listed the cause of death as drowning. Paulides also recounted the strange case of Steven Kubacki, who disappeared for fifteen months and reemerged with no discernible knowledge of his whereabouts over that time, as well as Elisa Lam, a Canadian student who disappeared from a Los Angeles hotel and was later inexplicably found dead in a water tank on the hotel roof.

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