The list of people who go missing for long periods of time, before eventually being found alive, is very short.
According to Hester Parr, a Professor of Human Geography who conducted a study of 45 people who had been reported as missing, this is because even if one does want to vanish, it’s really not that easy.
Most people who went missing on purpose only lasted a couple of weeks, she told Mamamia‘s daily news podcast The Quicky.
The Quicky explores people choose to go missing. Post continues below.
“Although it sounds as though weeks is not a long time, when you imagine somebody disappearing into a new life that’s quite a long time when the police are searching for someone and they have very little resources,” she said.
“Often people who go missing want to stay missing, although they’re in a very traumatised state. They’re trying to avoid CCTV, they’re trying not to take money out of a bank so they can’t be identified.
“It’s quite distinctive sorts of behaviours that people adopt to stay missing, but it’s really hard to do it for a long period of time, so that’s why the statistic that 99 percent of people who are reported missing actually return… it’s really hard to stay missing.”
The rarity of people who successfully leave their old lives and create entirely new ones means that when someone is discovered to have done so, we can’t help but be intrigued.
Here are three women who vanished for years before being discovered alive and well.
Natasha Ryan was dropped off at school in Rockhampton, Queensland, on the morning of August 31, 1998, yet never had her name marked on the classroom roll, prompting an exhaustive and unsuccessful police and SES search.
Natasha had a tendency to run away from home, her parents told police, but this time felt different. Natasha’s 21-year-old boyfriend told authorities he had no idea where his 14-year-old girlfriend was either.
As time passed, the backdrop of Natasha’s disappearance – three other local women Beverley Leggo, 36, Sylvia Benedetti, 19, and Julie Turner, 39, had recently gone missing from Rockhampton too – painted a macabre picture.