Realizing that a family member or a close friend has gone missing is one of the worst situations imaginable. The nagging uncertainty over where they are—and what could have happened to them—just further proves how crucial it is to trace their whereabouts and bring them home safely.

No one knew that better than Brooke Farthing’s family and friends. A recent high school graduate, Brooke was excited to enjoy her summer break before she went off to college. One evening, she attended a house party with some friends. Early the next morning, however, a small blaze broke out at the house—and Brooke was nowhere to be found…

Brooke Farthing of Berea, Kentucky, was like any other teen. She loved spending time with her friends and family, and she was known as an avid baker. In June 2013, however, Brooke suddenly vanished without a trace.

Brooke was a typical 18-year-old girl. She was thrilled to finally graduate high school and enjoy a few carefree months of partying and spending time with her friends before heading off to college in the fall.

She had also recently split with her fiancé, and she was looking forward to enjoying her new single life. Little did she know, a party she was about to attend would change that life forever…

Just a few days after her graduation ceremony, Brooke and her younger sister, Paige, were scheduled to take their driver license tests. They were excited to be able to hit the open road without the accompaniment of an adult.

Brooke aced her exam, and she was looking forward to acquiring her father’s Ford Ranger as he’d promised. Luck wasn’t on Paige’s side, however; she failed her test. To raise her spirits, Brooke decided to bring her little sister to a party that evening along with their cousin.

Even though the driver’s test didn’t go according to plan for Paige, the two girls were excited to celebrate with friends. It was summertime, and the sisters were determined to make the most of the night no matter what.

Before the sisters headed to the house party, they stopped at their grandfather’s 70th birthday celebration. The family and friends they saw there had no idea that it’d be the last time they saw Brooke…

Shortly after, the girls arrived at the house party. It was crowded, but everyone was enjoying the warm summer night. Paige and the sisters’ cousin, however, decided not to stay for too long.

Brooke planned to sleep at a close friend’s house that night, so she didn’t mind that her sister and cousin left early. However, Brooke and her friend got into a heated argument, and her friend stormed off, leaving Brooke alone at the party.

Soon after, a male friend of Brooke’s needed a ride home because he drank too much. Brooke offered to borrow the party host’s car and drive him back as long as she returned immediately. Excited about her new driver’s license, she happily agreed.

Brooke returned to the party after dropping off her friend, but she came to a disappointing realization: the friend she’d just brought home was the last person she knew relatively well. She was alone at the party, and she soon became concerned for her safety.

It was now 4 a.m. She pulled out her phone and texted the only person she knew who’d be willing to make the journey to pick her up at that late hour: her ex-fiancé. Even though they’d broken up, they were still on good terms, and it was his friend who was hosting the party, after all.

Her ex-fiancé agreed to make the trip to the house, but she’d have to wait until 6 a.m. since that was when he would be able to leave his shift at work. The only thing she could do at that point was to settle in and hope that the time passed quickly.

Brooke continued to text her friends for another hour or so, keeping in touch while she waited for her ex-fiancé. Then, at 5:30 a.m., Brooke suddenly seemed to want to stay at the party. She sent a text to her ex-fiancé that read, “Never mind, I’m okay. I’m going to a party in Rockcastle County.” What made her suddenly change her mind?

Not long after she sent this text message, the host of the party stepped out briefly; he needed to go to the ranch behind his house and move several of the horses his family owned out of their stables and into a field. As he was leaving, he noticed Brooke sitting on a couch and smoking a cigarette; she was the only one left by that time.

When the host returned a short while later, he was horrified to see smoke and flames billowing out of his windows. He had no idea what happened, but he immediately phoned firefighters who quickly showed up and put out the blaze.

Luckily, the fire didn’t cause too much damage, but after things had finally calmed down, there was no sign of Brooke anywhere. As the firefighters were clearing out some charred remains, they found the couch Brooke was sitting on when the host left. But where was she?

Brooke left behind her purse, boots, and some of her clothing, but she herself had vanished. The last place cell phone records placed her was 30 miles away from the party. Over the next several weeks, police, volunteers, and dogs searched three counties for Brooke, but to no avail.

Years later, no one is any closer to finding out what actually happened. Police believe the final text sent to her ex-fiancé was actually sent by someone else with… likely the one who started the fire as a distraction while they kidnapped Brooke.

Brooke is still missing to this day, but her family hasn’t given up hope. They pray every day that they’ll see their girl again. Sadly, the same goes for the Bradley family, who lost their daughter while on a family cruise in 1998.

On March 24, 1998, 23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley and her family boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise ship called Rhapsody of the Seas headed to the Antilles islands in the Caribbean. All was well, at first.

The Bradleys — Amy; her father, Ron; mother, Iva; and brother, Brad — boarded in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with their first stop in Aruba. Then, their ship departed for the island of Curacao.

While en route to Curacao, Amy and Brad went to a nightclub. Brad left first, and Amy soon followed. Around 5:30 a.m., Ron checked on his daughter, who was asleep. He returned at 6 a.m. to wake her up. To Ron’s shock, Amy was nowhere to be found…

Amy’s bed was empty, and Ron immediately panicked. Where could his daughter have gone within the half-hour window? He immediately spoke to Brad about the previous night’s events.

Brad told his father he saw Amy dancing with a man named Alister Douglas, nicknamed “Yellow,” before he left. He was a member of the band Blue Orchid that was performing at the club that night. Could he have played a role in Amy’s disappearance?

Ron and Iva immediately alerted the cruise ship authorities to Amy’s sudden disappearance. They pleaded with them not to dock the ship, fearing anyone involved would escape. Unfortunately, the crew denied their request, and the ship docked in Curacao as planned.

Once docked, authorities checked the ship, but they came up empty-handed. Police even questioned Alister, the last man seen with Amy, but there wasn’t enough evidence to detain him. 

The family was frustrated that many of the passengers had departed the ship before the search was over. If Amy was kidnapped, her captors could’ve easily escaped.

Police immediately issued a missing persons alert for Amy. People all over the island of Curacao were made aware of the situation, and her family desperately hoped someone would come forward with any information.

Authorities wondered whether Amy, intoxicated, might’ve fallen overboard after she left the club, but there was no evidence to support that theory. The Bradleys were devastated and were forced to return home without their daughter.

Although there was no evidence to support the claim, Amy’s parents firmly believed she was abducted. Brad noted that the cruise ship employees seemed to give her “extra” attention while she was in the club. Upon returning home, the Bradleys used every outlet possible to let the world know what happened, and the community rallied around them.

Shortly after they returned home, Ron and Brad flew back to Curacao to continue the search for Amy. While on the island, the men posted flyers of Amy everywhere. They were offering $260,000 to anyone who could help them find her.

Amazingly, within 24 hours, a taxi driver on the island told the men he saw Amy in a frantic state just minutes after the Rhapsody of the Seas docked. She allegedly ran up to his car window and asked where the nearest telephone was, and then she ran off. Her family was now convinced she was still somewhere in Curacao.

With the help of local police, Ron and Brad scoured the entire island. They checked every hotel, store, and beach, but Amy was nowhere to be found. Disappointed and distraught, they had no choice but to return home yet again without Amy.

As time passed, more people came forward with stories about spotting Amy, which only strengthened the Bradley family’s certainty that she was kidnapped. They feared she was in the Caribbean being held against her will…

In one such “sighting,” two Canadian tourists visiting Curacao believed they spotted Amy walking along the beach. The woman they saw had the same tattoos: the Tasmanian Devil spinning a basketball on her shoulder, a sun on her lower back, a gecko lizard on her navel, and a Chinese symbol located on her right ankle.

In another, a man named David Carmichael said he saw a woman who matched Amy’s description walking along the beach flanked by two men. When she approached David, he said, the men hustled her away. The Bradley family had local police search the area where the alleged encounter took place, but they found nothing.

Another man from the Navy reportedly saw Amy inside a Curacao brothel. He said a woman approached him and said her name was Amy Bradley and she needed help, but she was quickly whisked away by brothel workers.

Because the sailor wasn’t supposed to be in the brothel, he didn’t immediately go to the police. The brothel has since burned down…

There was another possible sighting in a restroom in Barbados. A tourist named Judy Maurer claimed to have run into Amy, who looked terrified. However, Judy quickly left, and she never saw her again.

Then, in 2005, an anonymous source emailed the Bradley family photos of a scantily-clad woman who supposedly was their daughter. Detectives couldn’t track down the original source, but the family saw the pictures as evidence that Amy was, in fact, forced into sexual slavery.

All of these leads have given the Bradleys hope that Amy will one day return home. They hired a private investigator in Curacao, and he has made it his mission to find her. Until he does, the Bradleys continue to keep her memory alive.