Astrid graduated with a Bsc Hons in Criminology and Psychological Studies in 2017 and currently works as a professional ghostwriter.
A missing person is defined as someone whose location is unknown and whose disappearance is out of character. It is estimated that someone in the UK goes missing every 90 seconds. That's 180,000 every year. Out of this number, 1 in 200 of these will be children. However, these estimates are assumed to be conservative as many disappearances go unreported to the police.
In this article, we examine three specific cases that remain open and still haunt England to this day.
Russel Bohling: Suicide or Satanism?
18-year-old Russell was an ordinary teenager. He lived at home with his parents in West Ella, Yorkshire and was enrolled in a bricklaying course. On the 2nd of March, 2010, he left his home at 8 AM with the only noticeable difference in his behaviour being his unusual smart clothing. But apart from that, nothing was untoward.
When he didn't return home, his parents reported him missing. Subsequently, his Renault Clio was discovered at Bempton Cliffs by a member of the RSPB staff who worked in the area observing puffins.
So what was Russell doing out at these cliffs? An initial theory proposed by the police was that he committed suicide. This was supported by an audio recording discovered in his bedroom where he spoke of wanting to die because he didn't believe he was intelligent enough.
But his parents proposed a different theory, stating they believed he didn't arrive at the cliffs to commit suicide but to explore the nearby abandoned RAF radar station. Russell was a keen explorer of the station which had been a source of local gossip since the 1970s.
Allegedly the site of Satanic rituals, it was heavily decorated with Satanic and pornographic graffiti. Pictures of which were carried by Russell on a USB device. It is here that Russell's father, Roger, believes he came to harm. However, to this day, there have been no sightings and no discovery of a body.
Sheila Fox: The Girl in Green
As of early 2019, Sheila has been missing for 74 years and 6 months and remains one of England's most haunting missing person's cases. Last seen leaving school in Bolton, Lancashire during the summer of 1944, she was expected to return home around 4 PM. But she never arrived.
Only one sighting took place of the young girl outside a local bakery. She was spotted with a well-dressed man aged between 25-30. Notably, the usually shy girl was comfortable speaking with the man, leading locals to suspect she knew him well enough to let her guard down.
Having been seen by her one of her school friends, she was asked what she was doing, to which she replied, “I am going with this man.”
That night, the entire area was scoured by local police and volunteers who searched local fields, abandoned houses and farms calling her name. The urgency to find her intensified when it was claimed a man was seen riding a bicycle in the area with a small child sitting across the handlebars. All local male cyclists were tracked down, except one, who has remained a mystery to this day.
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As can be expected, her disappearance was eclipsed by the events surrounding World War II, and her case was not given the appropriate attention it deserved.
In 2001, a man in his seventies came forward to say when he was a schoolboy, he witnessed a local man digging in his garden at the time of Sheila's disappearance. It was a sight that had preyed on his mind ever since. It transpired the garden belonged to Richard Ryan, a convicted rapist who had died in 1989. However, although the garden was searched, no trace of her was found.
So was she kidnapped by Richard Ryan, or was she abducted by a mystery cyclist? Other theories include her running away to London where some of her friends were relocated, or that she was taken by a young couple who were seen by her sister shortly before her disappearance. It was claimed the couple spoke of how lovely Sheila was and how they wished to take her with them. However, her parents always insisted she had gone of her own volition to London, a highly unlikely theory considering her age.
Genette Tate: A Devonshire Disappearance
It has been over forty years since the 13-year-old schoolgirl vanished from a country lane in Devon while delivering newspapers. Known to her friends and family as Ginny, she loved animals and poetry, enjoyed attending school and was naturally gifted at mathematics. It was the last day of her paper round at 3.15 PM when, after delivering 14 papers, she bumped into two of her friends about two-thirds of the way down Withen Lane.
From here, the three girls walked along the lane happily chatting until they reached the top of the path. It was here that Genette decided to climb back on her bike and cycle down the slope. She remained within her friends' sight for an estimated 50 metres until the lane bent to the left and out of view.
Around 10 minutes later, the two girls stumbled across Genette's bicycle which lay on the side of the road abandoned and surrounded by scattered newspapers. For a long while, the girls tried to find their friend, shouting her name and searching the local countryside. When there was no sight of her, it was decided they should alert the police.
It is generally assumed that she must have been abducted and one possible suspect is convicted murderer Robert Black. Born in 1947, the Scottish serial killer was seen acting suspiciously at nearby Exeter airport.
In 2016, the police were in the process of producing a file in which to seek his prosecution for Genette's disappearance. However, five weeks before they were able to do so, Black died in prison. To this day, no trace of Genette has been found and she remains one of England's biggest mysteries.
Update: Genette's father passed away in April 2020. "In the last years of his life, Mr. Tate believed that serial child-killer Robert Black was likely to be behind his daughter's disappearance."
If you are worried about the whereabouts of someone you know and fear they have gone missing, the first step is to contact people they know. If you are still concerned, contact your local police station.
It is commonly assumed you must wait 24 hours before doing so, but this is largely a myth. You can contact the police whenever you feel it is necessary.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2019 Astrid McClymont