There are plenty of cases of vanished people who have seemingly stepped off the face of the earth to leave abandoned vehicles behind. However, even more curious is those cases where the disappeared have gone off to take a drive and completely vanished along with their vehicles, never to be seen or heard from again. It is one thing to have a person disappear, but for them to just melt away from the world along with their vehicles and never have a trace found is truly odd indeed. Here are some of the myriad, bizarre cases of people who got into their cars to go driving, and keep going seemingly right off the face of the planet.Our first case finds us at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on May 15, 1970. On this evening, there was a cocktail party going on in full swing, and among the various people mixing and mingling were 63-year-old Edward and Stephania Andrews, of Arlington Heights, who were there because of a trade convention sponsored by the Woman’s Association of Allied Beverage Industries. At some point at around 9:30 PM, Edward made some complaints to other party goers about feeling rather ill, and he was described as looking noticeably pale and under the weather, although if this was a result of alcohol some sickness is not known. Some witnesses who asked what was wrong claimed that he had told them he was just hungry.Not long after this, witnesses say that the couple made their way to the parking garage, where Edward was seen to be stumbling, staggering, and practically unable to walk. As he fumbled with the car keys, his wife was seen to cry and beg him not to get behind the wheel, but despite this objection the two were seen to head off in their vehicle, a black-and-yellow 1969 Oldsmobile, smashing across the garage door to scrape it on their way out. The couple were last seen driving down Michigan Avenue against traffic, and then they just vanished off the face of the earth.
When the couple wasn’t heard from and could not be located afterward, it was feared that they had been driving under the influence of either alcohol or medication, or that they had been otherwise disoriented, and somehow had driven their car clear off the road into the nearby Chicago River to sink down into its depths, and a pair of skid marks on a bridge seemed to point to this dire possibility. A search of the river was immediately launched, but no trace of the car was found despite all efforts. It was all considered to be very odd, as the Andrews’ were a happy, well-off couple who were not known to drink heavily and they did not have any known enemies or ties to criminal activities. A search of their home turned up no sign of any foul play or theft, with their valuable still there, and there was absolutely no activity with their credit cards or various stocks and bonds. None of it made any sense. Ron Van Raalt, a detective who worked on the case at the time, mused:
Two people in their 60s, in a car, just don’t vanish off the face of the earth. Not intentionally, at least.
In the years after the disappearance there were no further leads, and a complete clean-up of the Chicago River in 1980 served to dismiss any ideas that this was their final resting place. During the operation, the river bottom was thoroughly dredged, and although this turned up a total of 12 submerged vehicles, none of these turned out to be the one that had belonged to the missing couple. The best possible lead came forth in 1994, when a 36-year-old man from Knollwood contacted police with information on what he claimed had really happened to the couple.
The man claimed that the couple had been murdered in cold blood, and that their bodies had then been stuffed into the trunk of their car and the vehicle intentionally sunk into a nondescript pond located south of Atkinson Road and east of the Tri-State Tollway near Green Oaks. Police were apparently impressed enough with the man’s claims and knowledge of the case to warrant a search of the stagnant pond, and it was thoroughly dredged and scoured by divers, but no sign of the missing car was found. The search was eventually called off, with the cold case no closer to being solved. Interestingly, a large, unidentified object was allegedly discovered lodged deep in the muck of the bottom, but there was no way to tell what it was and police were unable to reach it with the equipment they had at the time. It is uncertain whatever became of this possible lead, and the strange disappearance remains unsolved. Neither the Adrewses nor their car have ever been seen again.
The following year, in 1971, there would be a similarly bizarre vanishing involving a couple in a vehicle, this time in Corbin, Kentucky. On May 21, 1971, 37-year old Claude Shelton and his 27-year old wife, Martha Sue, left their beloved children sleeping and headed out from their home in Gerry’s Trailer Park for unknown purposes in their car, a Ford Galaxy. When they failed to return there was much concern as to their whereabouts. It was at first thought that they had just gone off to the King’s truck stop in Corbin, but no one there remembered having seen the couple passing through.
At the time, it was completely baffling, as everyone who the authorities spoke to were adamant that the couple had loved their children and would have never simply abandoned them. In light of this testimony, it was thought that something dark must have happened to them, but no one could figure out just what that could be. A spooky clue would come when the daughter, Sheila, claimed that her father had whispered to her, “Are you going with me or are you going to stay here?” before driving off of the face of the earth, with neither the couple nor their vehicle ever found.
The two on the left are Claude and Martha Sue Shelton
Decades would pass before any sort of lead would come up. Months after the vanishing, a body was found in Oregon which was thought to have an uncanny resemblance to Sue Shelton, but there was no technology in place at the time to test this, and in 2009 DNA samples were finally taken to test for a possible match. It was widely though at the time that this was the big break that everyone in the family had been waiting for to give them some form of closure, but the body was ultimately found to not be hers. There have been no other leads whatsoever into the strange case, and no clue at all as to why this happy couple should lovingly tuck their children into bed and then drive off into the dark unknown. The now grown Sheila Shelton has lamented:
Maybe someone knows if they were killed. Maybe the person that killed them is deceased now, or is getting older and wants to make right with the Lord. Anything. We need some closure.