Sunday, July 26, 2020

List Series: Car Crash Mysteries

A list of seven disappearances and murders that occurred during or immediately following a car accident. All seven of these cases remain unsolved today.

7. The Disappearance of Brittany Shank
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Brittany Shank (23) was driving her boyfriend's car in Sturgis, Michigan on the evening of November 30th, 2018 when thick fog caused her to run the vehicle off the road. She exited the car and then went from house to house on Fawn River Road to ask for help. According to Brittany's mother, one resident attempted to call 911 for her, but the call did not go through due to weak cell phone signals. Before the resident got a chance to call again, Brittany vanished. She never returned to the car, nor did she return home to her four children. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Various reports state that Brittany appeared confused as she walked down the road asking for help. She was apparently not wearing shoes or a jacket, despite the cold weather that night. It's possible that Brittany was disoriented from the car accident, but police have also not ruled out the possibility of foul play as well. Brittany's case remains unsolved. [read more]

6. The Disappearance of Brandi Brown

Brandi Brown (23) vanished after she was in the hospital following a car accident in September 2016. Brandi had spent a few days at Sinai Grace Hospital located in Detroit, Michigan, and the exact date of her hospital release is unclear. She was last seen the day she was discharged and she has never been seen or heard from again.

According to family members, Brandi was having personal problems prior to her disappearance, and they felt she was hanging out with the wrong crowd. Despite this, Brandi’s family does not believe that Brandi would abandon her young daughter, nor do they believe that she is out of touch by her own free will.

It is unclear how Brandi actually left the hospital. There are unfortunately very few details available in her case. She remains missing today. [read more]

5. The Disappearance & Death of Danniella Vian
Young mother Danniella Vian still missing after vanishing from ...

Danniella Vian (25) vanished after purchasing a new car in Mobile, Alabama on July 17th, 2018. The young mother went out to a local bar that evening to celebrate the purchase of her new car. Danniella and some new friends went to two different bars before eventually settling on going to a third one. However, on her way to the third bar, Danniella pulled into a gas station along her new friend Denson White and told him that she had left her phone at the previous bar. Denson agreed to lead Danniella back to the bar so she could retrieve her phone. According to Denson, she followed him for most of the trip, however once he pulled up to the bar, Danniella was no longer behind him. Denson then went into the bar himself and found her phone. He waited for her for about 20 minutes before leaving and meeting the others at the third bar. Danniella never showed up. She was never seen or heard from again.

Danniella's car and all her personal belongings vanished with her. Her loved ones did not believe she was missing on her own accord, as it would be uncharacteristic for her to leave behind her daughter. Over the following months, many searches were executed, but no sign of Danniella was found. Then, in May 2019, a team of divers were training in the Bayou Sara when they spotted a vehicle submerged under the water. Human remains were inside the vehicle, but investigators were not immediately able to identify the body as Danniella. However, after the body was found, police began to investigate the case as a homicide. 

Eventually, the body was identified as that of Danniella Vian. At that point, the investigation began to shift. While police originally said they were investigating the case as a homicide, once the remains were identified, they stated they believed Danniella's death was an accident. Still, many believe that there is a possibility that foul play as involved in her death. The case is still not closed, and how Danniella and her vehicle ended up in the water still remains a mystery to this day. [read more]

4. The Murder of Kelsey Quayle

On the morning of October 8th, 2018, Kelsey Quayle (28) was on the way to work in Riverdale, Georgia when she began driving on the wrong side of the road. As Kelsey's vehicle drove into oncoming traffic, she crashed into three cars before her car eventually stopped. Police were called and she was quickly transported to a nearby hospital. Paramedics initially thought that Kelsey was suffering from injuries from the car accident, however when she finally made it to the hospital, it was discovered that she had a bullet wound in the back of her neck as well. 

It is believed that Kelsey ended up driving on the wrong side of the road as a result of becoming disoriented after getting shot. She unfortunately passed away shortly after arriving at the hospital, and both Kelsey’s loved ones and investigators are absolutely baffled by her death. Investigators were initially unsure if Kelsey was targeted, a victim of road rage, or if she was simply just caught in a crossfire. Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station revealed that Kelsey did make a stop there before she was shot. Investigators are asking anybody who saw Kelsey at the gas station that day to come forward.

Surveillance footage of other potential persons of interest have been released as well, but so far nobody has been formally declared a suspect and no arrests have been made. Kelsey's murder remains unsolved. [read more]

3. The Disappearance & Murder of Adrienne Salinas

Adrienne Salinas (19) vanished during the early morning hours of June 15th 2013. while she and her roommates were hosting a party at their apartment in Phoenix, Arizona. Adrienne is believed to have left her apartment to drive to her boyfriend’s house at approximately 3:40am. About one block from her apartment, she crashed her car into median and blew out two of her tires. A witness to the wreck called 911 to report it at around 3:45am. Adrienne herself did not report the crash—instead she abandoned her car and returned to her apartment on foot.

It's unclear what Adrienne's state-of-mind was like following the accident. It's possible that alcohol played a role, but that has never been confirmed. Reports state that Adrienne did make it back to her apartment following the crash. Her roommates and friends were still partying at this point, and none of them reported seeing anything unusual regarding Adrienne during said time frame. However, none of them reported actually interacting with her during this time either. At 4:32am, she called a cab to drive her to her boyfriend’s house and asked the driver to meet her at a nearby convenience store. At 4:53am, her cab driver called her to tell her that he was at the store. She answered and told him she was on her way. However, Adrienne never showed up at the convenience store and the cab driver left after calling her phone one final time at 5:07am. That call went straight to voicemail.

Adrienne was reported missing the following evening. Many searches for her ended unsuccessfully. Then, on August 6th, 2013, Adrienne’s partial remains were found in a creek bed 30 miles from where she disappeared. An autopsy was unable to confirm a cause of death and police have not publicly named any suspects or persons of interest in her case. Both Adrienne’s boyfriend and the cab driver who was supposed to pick her up that morning have been cleared of any involvement in her disappearance. The FBI is continuing to investigate the case. [read more]

2. The Disappearance of Brandon Swanson

Brandon Swanson (19) vanished during the early morning hours of May 14th, 2008. He disappeared while on the phone with his father, after he accidentally drove his car into a ditch while on his way to his family's Marshall, Minnesota home. Brandon had spent the previous evening celebrating the end of his college semester with friends. He headed home around midnight, and at some point shortly thereafter, he drove into the ditch. Brandon called his parents and told them that he was not injured in the crash, but his car was stuck. He told them that he had crashed near the town of Lynd. Brandon's parents then left their house to go pick up their son.

Brandon's parents headed towards Lynd, but they were unable to locate him. Brandon called his father back and told him that he could see the lights from the town, and he was going to walk towards it and meet them there. He remained on the phone with his father for the next 45 minutes as he walked towards his destination. Brandon and his parents continued to look for each other to no avail. Then, shortly after 2am, Brandon’s father heard Brandon abruptly shout “oh shit!” before their phone call was disconnected. Brandon’s parents continued to look for him for a few hours before finally calling the police at 6:30am. Police looked into Brandon’s cell phone records later that day, which revealed that Brandon had actually called his parents from the city of Porter, located 25 miles way from Lynd. Police then went to that area, where they found Brandon’s car stuck a ditch in nearby Taunton County. It is unclear if Brandon was aware that he was not actually in Lynd.

There have been many theories about what might have happened to Brandon. One theory is that Brandon could have drowned after falling into the Yellow Medicine River, which is located near the area his car was found. However, extensive searches of the river have not found a body. There have also been numerous land searches of the surrounding areas that have also not produced any clues. Brandon’s parents do not believe he fell into the river; they stated that he was not clumsy nor did he sound disoriented while he was on the phone with them. Despite the fact that Brandon crashed his car and might’ve been unaware of his location, it is not believed that he was drunk, either. Brandon’s friends said that he did have a “drink or two” at the celebration, but he was not noticeably intoxicated. Foul play has not been ruled out in the case either. Brandon remains missing today. [read more]

1. The Disappearance of Maura Murray

The disappearance of Maura Murray has captured headlines nationwide ever since it occurred on February 9th, 2004. The 21 year-old woman was a nursing student at University of Massachusetts Amherst at the time of her disappearance. Hours before she vanished, Maura sent emails to her professors and her boss, stating that there was a death in her family and she would not be in class or at work for a week. However, Maura's family would later confirm that there was no death. 

A few hours after those emails were sent, a local woman in Haverhill, New Hampshire called police after witnessing a car accident on the corner of Route 112. It was later confirmed that the driver of that car was Maura. A passing motorist who witnessed that crash asked Maura if she needed assistance, but she declined--as she stated she had already called for help. However, by time the roadside assistance and police showed up, Maura was gone. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Over the years, many theories have surfaced about what might have happened to Maura. One of the most prominent theories is that she was either intoxicated or had become disoriented from the car accident, and as a result, she ran into the nearby woods and succumbed to the elements. However, a widespread search of the wooded area did not turn up any clues. Another theory is that Maura was picked up by an unspecified individual following the accident. Neither theories have been confirmed and Maura's case still  remains unsolved today. [read more]

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