Most of us use gas stations to refuel, grab a refreshment or to refill our snack supplies. However, there are a few who like to hang out at gas stations with their friends, since they are open 24/7. Unlike the olden days, gas stations today are equipped with high tech surveillance cameras that monitor the premises day and night. Nevertheless, bad things always happen and not all of them are solved. For years, there have been many cases where people have disappeared at a public place like a gas station. Here, we are listing some of those cases, that are shrouded in mystery.
1. The disappearance of Kelly Dove.
On June 18, 1982, Kelly Dove was working the late night shift by herself. Being a strong and independent woman, Kelly was not afraid of pulling an overnight shift alone. However, on the early morning of June 18th, things took a turn when Kelly made a call to the Harrisonburg Police Department at 2:27 a.m. and informed them of a man who was improperly dressed and lurking around the gas station. Two minutes after the first call, she dialed the police department again and asked if an officer could make a visit to the gas station, since the man was calling her from outside and making threats.
At 2:31 a.m., Kelly made a third and final call to the police and pleaded for them to come and help her since she was afraid for her life. On the final call, police arrived at the gas station, only to discover that it had been abandoned with no signs of Kelly anywhere. There were no signs of a struggle or things missing and authorities couldn’t find any evidence of foul play. Since the final call was placed, no one has ever heard from Kelly. Almost four decades later, the case is still unsolved and many believe that it could have all been avoided if police officers had responded to her first call. (source)
2. The disappearance of Susan Swedell.
On January 19, 1988, Swedell, an employee at the K-Mart in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, was going home after a long day’s work. A 4:00 p.m., Swedell had made a call to her family members and informed them that she was planning on going home and watching a movie. However, when she left from work, she changed into a short mini skirt, which was odd since it was a snowy day. Swedell then left work and just 1 mile short of reaching home, her car overheated, forcing her to pull over at a gas station.
According to the employee who was working that night, Swedell was seen getting into another car with an unidentified man. That was the last time anyone has ever heard from or seen Swedell. When authorities arrived to check her car, they discovered that the radiator cap was loosened, prompting them to believe that the same man could have jeopardized her vehicle and followed her to offer a ride. Swedell’s mother visited the apartment that she lived in and discovered that she had changed clothes, there were dirty dishes in the sink, the spare key was moved and there was a sweet-smelling smoke in the air. Although it’s not clear whether it was Swedell herself or someone else came into the apartment, she has never been heard from since. (source)
3. The disappearance of Andy ‘Joe’ Lepley.
On May 30, 1976, 18-year-old Andy “Joe” Lepley arrived for work as usual at a Texaco station in Colorado City. His routine was to arrive half an hour early to get things ready so that the store could be opened exactly at 7:00 a.m. After arriving at the gas station at 6:30 a.m., Lepley disappeared. When the owner of the store arrived, Lepley was nowhere to be found but his truck was parked on the side with the keys still in the ignition. Apart from that, the owner also noted that approximately $100 was missing, as well as microphone that was attached to the station’s citizens band radio.
When authorities arrived, many witnesses claimed that an unidentified man was seen lurking around and asking when the store opened. The man also informed them that he had plans to drive to Wyoming and was in need of gas. Authorities believe that Lepley had walked into the store while the unidentified man was stealing money from the register and could have been taken by the same man. Although it’s unclear whether this unidentified man had any part in Lepley’s disappearance, the case has never been solved and Lepley has never been found. (source)
4. The disappearance of Amy Sue Pagnac.
On August 5, 1989, Amy and her father Marshall Midden decided to go on a one day trip to their family property in Isanti County. After spending a whole day at the farm, the duo headed back to their home. On the way back, at approximately 5:00 p.m., they stopped at the Holiday Gas Station in Osseo. Marshall then went to use the restroom while Amy waited in the car. The duo were only about 3 miles away from their home but Marshall decided to make the pit stop anyway. A few minutes later, Marshall arrived to find an empty car with Amy nowhere to be found. Amy was 13 years old at the time and has never been seen again.
Amy had a history of running away from home so authorities believed that she would eventually return. She also had a history of seizures, so many speculated that she could have had an episode and may have wandered off after becoming confused. Whatever the reason is, no further details of her whereabouts was ever known. In 2014, authorities performed extensive searches of both the Pagnac family’s residence and farm but nothing of interest was ever discovered. She remains missing to this day. (source)
5. The disappearance of Jessica Heeringa.
On April 26, 2013, 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa was working at the ExxonMobil gas station in Norton Shores, Michigan. Although she worked the evening shifts alone, she enjoyed the privacy and alone time. Around 10:55 p.m. that evening, a customer walked inside and purchased a lighter. Approximately 15 minutes later, another customer walked inside to find the store completely abandoned. When authorities arrived, they discovered that Jessica’s personal belongings were left behind and there were no signs of foul play.
The store manager and her husband were driving down the road the same night when they spotted a mini van parked outside of the store. The manager observed a man opening and closing the side door before taking off. Since nothing unusual was seen, the manager decided to not check on Jessica. Authorities obtained surveillance footage from nearby businesses and found that the mini van in question was lurking around during the time of her disappearance. Investigators finally caught a break when they discovered that a man named Brad Mason, who was associated with similar crimes, was living only a few miles away.
When authorities arrived at his residence to question him about another case that was quite similar, he decided to end it all. Whatever information Bad knew about Jessica was lost forever. Her whereabouts still remain unknown, almost six years later. (source)
6. The disappearance of Cheryl Scherer
On April 17, 1979, Cheryl Scherer, who was working at Rhodes Pump-Ur-Own-Service station in Scott City, Missouri, went missing. The 19-year-old had called her mother around 2:00 p.m. the day before and informed her of her plans for the next day. That phone conversation was the last one Olevia Scherer had with her daughter. Around 11:30 a.m. on April 17, an off-duty attendant saw Cheryl for a brief moment. He left for a few minutes and returned to find the store empty, while her car was still parked outside. Also left behind was her purse and $480 was taken from the cash register. Since then, authorities have never received any solid leads to what had happened to the young woman. Her mother still remains hopeful that Cheryl would return one day. (source)
7. The disappearance of Kelli Cox
On the morning of July 15, 1997, 20-year-old Kelli Cox went to Denton Jail. The visit was a field trip, which was part of her criminology class at the University of North Texas. Since personal belongings aren’t allowed inside the jail, Kelli was forced to leave all her belongings, as well as the key to her car inside her parked car. After hiding a spare key under the fender, she went along with the field trip.
When she returned, she discovered that the spare key wasn’t working. A stranded Kelli went inside the jail again, asking to make a phone call to her boyfriend but they didn’t allow her to make a long-distance call. Kelli then walked to a nearby Conoco gas station where she called her boyfriend and asked him to bring a spare key. Her boyfriend Lawrence Harris III arrived at around 12:30 p.m. but Kelli was nowhere to be found. When authorities arrived, they focused their attention on Lawrence, accusing him of being involved in her disappearance.
Although Lawrence passed a polygraph test, authorities made him take multiple ones before finally admitting that he was innocent. By this time, sufficient time had passed and important clues were missed. Kelli’s family blamed the police for their lack of response as well as not collecting evidence such as fingerprints from the car. More than two decades later, Kelli is still missing and no clues to her whereabouts have been discovered. (source)