Mysteries That Left Us Disturbed Even Though They're Solved

Voting Rules

Vote up the most disturbing solved mysteries.

So much in life is built on following our safe, established patterns and being able to luxuriate in the familiar. When something unknown or unexplainable appears, we can't help but be intrigued. And when an explanation for the unknown is offered, sometimes that explanation is still so extraordinary that, while it may close the mystery, it does nothing to settle our shaken nerves. 

These mysteries have all been solved, but every one of them has left us disturbed.

  • 1
    2,216 VOTES

    When Police Rescued A Recently Missing Child, They Also Found A Boy Who Was Missing For Four Years

    In January 2007, 13-year-old Ben Ownby disappeared from a school bus stop in rural Missouri. A witness saw the white pick-up truck that carried Ownby away, which eventually led police to the one-bedroom apartment of 41-year-old Michael Devlin. Upon arriving at the scene, investigators not only discovered Ownby alive and well, but another boy, Shawn Hornbeck, who had been missing from the area for four years and was sitting comfortably on the couch. 

    Devlin had quite literally been on the prowl in rural neighborhoods, looking for a boy to victimize when he abducted Hornbeck and took him back to his apartment just 50 miles away. Eventually, Hornbeck was allowed out of the apartment to lead a relatively normal life, under the threat that if he tried to leave or tell anybody about his captivity, Devlin would kill his family. This arrangement, coupled with sexual abuse, lasted for four years, until Devlin decided Hornbeck was getting too old and he started looking for another victim. That's when he spotted Ownby at the bus stop.

    With the eyewitness tip fresh in mind, officers happened to be responding to an unrelated call at Devlin's apartment complex when they spotted the white pick-up. The next day, they questioned Devlin at the pizza shop where he worked, which was just around the corner from the police station; he confessed to kidnapping not one but two boys.

    Authorities were stunned not only at his confession, but at the result: two abducted boys, found alive, not more than an hour's drive from their homes. Devlin received 74 life sentences for his crimes.

    2,216 votes
  • 2
    2,470 VOTES

    A Missing Young Woman Was Finally Found When Her Kidnapper Went Out With Their Children

    Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped in 1991, but the mystery of her whereabouts wasn't solved until 2009, when she was found and rescued from her kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

    Dugard was 11 when the couple kidnapped her as she walked to the school bus stop in her neighborhood in Meyers, CA, near South Lake Tahoe. Philip and Nancy (a certified nursing assistant) held Dugard in captivity in a labyrinth of sheds and outbuildings Philip had built in their backyard. He regularly sexually assaulted Dugard and forced her to raise the two daughters she had with him.

    In August 2009, Phillip went to UC Berkeley to inquire about hosting religious events on the campus and brought along the two girls. A campus staff member, Lisa Campbell, immediately became suspicious of him and requested a background check, which revealed Phillip was a registered sex offender. He was required to attend a parole meeting, where authorities uncovered that the children were Dugard's, and Dugard was the girl who had been kidnapped in 1991.

    Shortly afterward, police raided the Garrido home and arrested Phillip and Nancy, charging them with 29 felony counts. Phillip was sentenced to 431 years in prison, while Nancy received 36 years to life. Dugard was reunited with her family, and has since published two memoirs.

    2,470 votes
  • 3
    3,488 VOTES

    A Perplexing Suicide Note Led Police To Discover Pots Of Body Parts In A Kitchen

    On an October night in 2006 in New Orleans, the body of Zachary Bowen, an Iraq War veteran who was just 28 years old, was found on top of a parking garage. In his pocket, police discovered his dog tags, a suicide note, and a key to his girlfriend's apartment. The note read

    This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took. If you send a patrol car to 826 N. Rampart, you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge and a full signed confession from myself... Zack Bowen.

    When police arrived at Addie Hall's apartment, that is exactly what they found. Her head was in a pot on the stove, as were her hands and feet, and her legs and arms were covered with seasoning salt on a roasting pan in the oven. Upon further searches of the scene, police found Bowen's journal, in which he calmly described how he strangled Hall to death and, not surprised that he had no remorse for the act, decided it was time to leave this world.

    3,488 votes
  • 4
    1,795 VOTES

    A Murder Investigation Went Cold Until A Family Found A Drifter In Their Attic

    In the fall of 1941, while his wife Helen was recovering in the hospital from a broken hip, Philip Peters returned home to find a man going through his icebox. He confronted the man, and was promptly beaten to death by the intruder with a cast-iron stove shaker. Worried neighbors came to check on Philip that evening, as they usually saw him every day; that's when they discovered his body. 

    No evidence was present at the scene, dumbfounding the police. Even more mind-boggling were the calls from neighbors - and even Helen, once she returned home - insisting they heard someone in the house, or telling of odd smells. Every time officers responded, they found nothing suspicious. Helen eventually moved out and the house stayed vacant, yet calls from the neighbors continued.

    Police finally caught a break when two officers stationed in front of the house spotted a man inside. They rushed in just in time to see a pair of spindly legs disappearing into an attic trapdoor. The suspect, Theodore Coneys, was apprehended and confessed to murdering Philip Peters. Upon viewing the filthy, cramped quarters Coneys had been living in for months, Officer Fred Zarnow declared, "A man would have to be a spider to stand it long up there." And so began the legend of "The Denver Spider Man."

    1,795 votes
  • 5
    1,443 VOTES

    It Took Decades For The Identity Of The Golden State Killer To Be Revealed

    The so-called Golden State Killer began his spree in California in the 1970s: He typically went into homes, where he raped women and sometimes committed murder. The culprit eluded detection. His tendency to commit offenses in different parts of the state confounded investigators, who initially didn't realize one person was responsible. As a result, his identity remained a mystery for decades.

    But DNA testing finally solved the mystery. In 2018, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo was caught - now a senior in his 70s and still living in California. Investigators identified him through DNA that a relative had uploaded to a genealogy website. He eventually received several life sentences without the possibility of parole.

    1,443 votes
  • 6
    1,395 VOTES

    A Woman Solved Her Own Kidnapping Case 23 Years After It Happened

    Back in 2005, when Nejdra "Netty" Nance was 17 and pregnant in Bridgeport, CT, she asked her mother, Ann Pettway, for her birth certificate so she could receive prenatal care from the state. When Pettway kept procrastinating about giving her the document, Nance decided to visit the Bureau of Vital Statistics in New Haven herself, providing her birthdate and name. No records came up, and officials visited her house to speak to Pettway.

    After the meeting, Pettway told Nance she was not her birth mother, and that Nance's mother had left her daughter and never come back. Pettway said she did not remember anything more, and the pregnant teen took in the news and tried to go on with her life, especially after giving birth to her daughter, Samani. 

    When Nance shared this story with an aunt she was close to, the aunt advised her to keep looking. Nance scoured the internet for missing children, using her birthdate as a reference. She wondered if DNA could help, but was told that tactic was "TV stuff." She then searched the website of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and found a picture of a missing baby girl who looked just like her daughter Samani as an infant.

    This meant Nance could be that missing baby girl. She contacted the center, and over time, via a birthmark and DNA tests, Nance learned she was Carlina White, the missing daughter of Joy and Carl White. Nance had been taken by Pettway from the hospital when she was 19 days old; the reunion with her birth parents took place 23 years later. 

    It sounds like a happy ending, but Netty/Carlina still had feelings for Pettway, and getting close to Carl did not come easily to her, although she did bond with Joy.

    Pettway gave herself up and received a 12-year prison sentence. Nance, who now officially goes by Carlina White, is a motivational speaker and Instagram model, although the last time she spoke publicly was at a 2014 conference.

    1,395 votes