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Disappearance by Design: Cases Where People Intentionally Vanished

No student by the same name had ever attended the high school where he claimed he went. He apparently had a Social Security number, but it didn’t appear on file until 1987, nearly 40 years after he was believed to have been born. Records did exist for an individual with a similar name–Paul Raymond Harrod–that included the same date of birth and next of kin; however, they belonged to a 5-year-old who was killed in a car accident years ago. That incident occurred in Harrod, Ohio.

Some things just aren’t what they seem, as the old expression goes. While the idea has applications in many different walks of life, it has particular relevance to certain people; and when it comes to missing person cases, while it is true that some individuals do vanish under mysterious circumstances, at least some of those individuals seem to have wanted to disappear.

On November 27, 1992, Paul Harrod’s wife found a note from him, along with a $100 bill. The note simply read that he, “needed to get away for a while.” He was never seen again.

Harrod was officially reported missing the following year on May 7, 1993. Investigators with the Hamilton County Sherriff’s Department in Hamilton, Indiana, did manage to find the car he was driving when he left–a white 1992 Geo Metro–which had been sold two years later in Denver, Colorado. Beyond this, Harrod’s trail went cold, and authorities are still seeking information about his possible whereabouts today.

Harrod is believed to now be in his 70s. While there are many similar cases that involve people who seemingly just “vanished” under odd or unresolved circumstances, many of them share a common element, where the missing individual seems to have actually chosen to leave.