True Crime Network Investigation Discovery’s Hit Series Disappeared Returns For An Eighth Season, Premiering With Milestone 100th Episode
— To Commemorate “National Missing Children’s Day” in May, ID Partners with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to Bring Attention to the Case of Zachary Bernhardt —
(Silver Spring, Md.)— In an age when just about everyone has a digital footprint and technology seems to track our every move, it should be impossible for anyone to completely disappear without a trace. Yet new missing-persons cases continue to leave authorities searching for clues and families desperate for help. Investigation Discovery’s (ID) hit series DISAPPEARED is back, following the evidence trail of 13 new cases and featuring heartfelt interviews with law enforcement and loved ones, along with dramatic reenactments of the missing person’s last known actions. Produced by NBC News’ Emmy Award-winning production arm Peacock Productions, the new season of DISAPPEARED premieres with the series’ 100th episode on Sunday, March 26 at 10/9c.
The 100th episode and season premiere calls attention to the missing-persons case of Lynn Messer, a mother and teacher who disappeared from her family’s cattle farm in Missouri in 2014. Then on November 1, 2016, just four days after Peacock Productions interviewed Lynn’s son Aarron for DISAPPEARED, Aarron was walking through the woods on the edge of the farm when he came across human remains. Dental records have since positively identified the bones as belonging to Lynn, ending one mystery but raising new questions about how she died and who may be to blame.
To help commemorate National Missing Children’s Day (May 25), ID is teaming up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) for the Sunday, May 21 premiere episode to bring awareness to the chilling story of 8-year-old Zachary Bernhardt, who vanished from his Florida home in September of 2000. While lack of evidence has slowed the investigation to a halt, Zachary’s relatives and local police are still hoping for answers sixteen years later. In recent years, NCMEC’s new age-progression technology has allowed them to generate more accurate photographs of what Zachary would look like today. These photos remain their best tool in locating missing children like Zachary. If you have information on Zachary, or any missing child, contact NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visit missingkids.org to view photos for other missing children.
“It’s so important to continue to bring cold cases much-needed attention through national platforms like DISAPPEARED,” said Kevin Bennett, general manager of Investigation Discovery. “The opportunity to develop new leads and aid the important work of organizations like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – who are the real heroes for supporting families and law enforcement 24 hours a day – is what has made this series so unique and relevant for 100 episodes.”
In addition to Zachary’s case, other cases featured this season include:
SEASON PREMIERE / SERIES 100TH EPISODE: “American Gothic” airs Sunday, March 26 at 10/9c
Story of LYNN MESSER: Missing Since 2014 from St. Genevieve, Mo.
After a midnight thunderstorm passes over the family cattle farm, mother and teacher Lynn Messer is gone. Her husband and two sons search pastures and barns, and a cryptic handwritten note is found that sparks a widespread hunt throughout this tight-knit Missouri farming community. Detectives zero in on Lynn’s troubled state of mind and pry open secret family conflicts. Polygraphs, blood tests, and canine scent trails offer clues to an investigation that gets redirected by revelations of a clandestine romance. Authorities wonder if love is a player in Lynn’s disappearance. A mysterious skull puts family loyalties to the test.
“The Silent Son” airs Sunday, April 2 at 10/9c
Story of MACIN SMITH: Missing Since 2016 from St. George, Utah
Macin Smith’s parents say the last time they saw their dependable 17-year-old son was when he left for school one morning. When he doesn’t come home later that day, is it simply an act of teenage rebellion or is Macin in mortal danger? A note hidden in Macin’s wallet leaves his family deeply troubled about what may have been going through his mind that day. But with scant clues, possible sightings in multiple cities and numerous unsuccessful searches, they’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster trying to discover what happened to their beloved son.
NEW TIMESLOT: “Spirited Away” airs Sunday, April 9 at 9/8c
Story of KORTNE STOUFFER: Missing Since 2012 from Palmyra, Pa.
On a hot summer night in 2012, furious over her boyfriend’s sudden arrest, 21-year-old Kortne Stouffer gets embroiled in a shouting match with her neighbors and a barroom scuffle with an acquaintance. Hours later, after things have seemingly simmered down, Kortne vanishes from her bed while a friend sleeps beside her. News of Kortne’s disappearance rocks her small Pennsylvania town and investigators relentlessly pursue tips and question Kortne’s friends and neighbors. But nothing leads them to the young beauty, leaving Kortne’s family and their close-knit community desperate for answers they may never find.
“On A Mission” airs Sunday, April 16 at 9/8c
Story of ELIZABETH SALGADO: Missing Since 2015 from Provo, Utah
America’s best known abduction survivor, Elizabeth Smart, steps into the spotlight to help find a beautiful young woman who has gone missing in Provo, Utah. Twenty-six-year-old Elizabeth Salgado moved to the United States from Mexico just three weeks before she disappeared in broad daylight on one of Provo’s busiest roads while walking the two-mile journey home from school. Smart and her father Ed, alongside the Salgado family, rally the community to help find the missing young woman. But soon, a news story breaks that could change the course of the investigation from a missing person case to murder.
“Every Mother’s Son” airs Sunday, April 23 at 9/8c
Story of ELIJAH DIAZ and SKYLAR TOSIC: Missing Since 2015 from El Cajon, Calif.
Twenty-year old Elijah “Bear” Diaz belongs to the Barona Tribe of Native Americans in southern California. He has diabetes and, in recent weeks, has been suffering from acute side effects of the illness, leaving him weak, immobile and vulnerable. When Bear vanishes from his home in the middle of the night along with his TV, backpack and some cash, investigators are concerned that he might be the victim of foul play. Then 20-year old Skylar Tosic disappears the very next day, leaving family and friends of both young men hunting for answers while questioning: could the two cases be linked?
“Into the Night” airs Sunday, April 30 at 9/8c
Story of ZOE CAMPOS: Missing Since 2013 from Lubbock, Texas
Eighteen-year-old Zoe Campos watches a movie at home with her family in Lubbock, Texas, as she often does on quiet Sunday evenings, but by morning she is nowhere to be found. While searching desperately for her, Zoe’s aunt spots her niece’s vehicle in town but Zoe isn’t the one driving it. Investigators believe that someone may be holding Zoe against her will. When they pore through the missing teen’s Facebook account, they learn that the night she vanished she did not turn in early as her loved ones originally thought.
“Flight Risk” airs Sunday, May 7 at 9/8c
Story of KATELIN AKENS: Missing Since 2015 from Spotsylvania, Va.
In December 2015, the future couldn’t look brighter for nineteen-year-old Katelin Akens. She has a devoted fiancée in Arizona, a loving family in Central Virginia, and is excited to start beauty school in the coming days. But then, during a quick trip back east to meet her brand new nephew, everything changes. On route to the airport, Katelin makes an unexpected stop at a local shopping mall…and vanishes. News of Katelin’s disappearance devastates her family and rocks their peaceful community. Determined to solve the mystery, police investigate Katelin’s loved ones at length and start to suspect that someone close to Katelin may know more than they’re saying.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NCMEC: “About A Boy” airs Sunday, May 21 at 9/8c
Story of ZACHARY BERNBARDT: Missing Since 2000 from Clearwater, Fla.
Eight-year-old Zachary Bernhardt disappears from his Clearwater, Florida home in the middle of the night. His mother says she stepped out of their apartment for five minutes to take a late night swim, and when she came back he was gone from his bed. There is no sign of a break in or struggle, and suspicions swirl around the single mother, who denies any involvement in her son’s disappearance and moves away. And when another boy goes missing from the area, new theories emerge as the quiet beach town is gripped by fear. Sixteen years later, Zachary’s family and local law enforcement still search for answers.
“The One That Got Away” airs Sunday, May 28 at 9/8c
Story of ERIC FRANKS: Missing Since 2011 from Saginaw, Mich.
His mother says the last time she spoke to her son, 38-year-old Eric Franks, he was preparing to move into a new house with his long lost high school girlfriend and the daughter they had together. As months go by without a call to his mother she wonders, is he simply too busy with his new life? Or has something happened to Eric? As the family begins to hear contradictory statements from those who saw Eric last, they become deeply worried. With so much time having passed and scant clues the investigation has little to go on, leaving the family and police struggling to find answers.
NEW TIMESLOT: “The Last Summer” airs Sunday, June 4 at 8/7c
Story of KAYLA BERG: Missing Since 2009 from Antigo, Wis.
When free-spirited, fifteen year-old Kayla Berg doesn’t return home after a night out during the last days of summer, her loved ones aren’t overly alarmed. Since Kayla and her mother just moved back to their small Wisconsin town from Texas, Kayla has been staying with different friends around town. But when six days pass and the aspiring gymnast still hasn’t turned up, the details of her last known whereabouts raise suspicion in a close-knit community where details are murky and relationships are questioned. Then, seven years after Kayla mysteriously disappears without a trace, an old video surfaces that rattles a town to its core.
“A Bridge Too Far” airs Sunday, June 11 at 8/7c
Story of DANIELLE IMBO and RICHARD PETRONE, JR.: Missing Since 2005 from Philadelphia, Pa.
Thirty-four-year-old Danielle Imbo and 35-year-old Richard Petrone vanish after leaving a night club on Philadelphia’s South Street. Their families are joined in the urgent search to find the missing couple as well as Richard’s missing truck. But soon, dead-ends and desperation lead to finger pointing and blame. Investigators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania – including the F.B.I. – work together to solve the perplexing mystery with sparse clues and increased speculation. Then, just when all hope seems lost, a call comes in promising potential resolution for a family that has been haunted for years by the painful case.
“Lost Angel” airs Sunday, June 18 at 8/7c
Story of ANGEL GARCIA: Missing Since 2011 from Hartford, Conn.
Nineteen-year-old Angel Garcia spends the day riding his dirt bike around Hartford, Conn., but when he never makes it home, his close knit family is thrown into a panic. Angel’s friends tell police that he was chased by a mysterious SUV the night before he disappeared. When detectives learn that Angel had stolen the dirt bike he was riding, they wonder if he was taken out in revenge, or could he have fallen from a railroad bridge into the deep and dark Connecticut River? Finally, four months after he vanished, a clerk says she thinks she’s spotted Angel in a convenience store just 15 miles from his home. Could it really be the missing teen?
“The Long Way Home” airs Sunday, June 25 at 8/7c
Story of DEANNE HASTINGS: Missing since 2015 from Spokane, Wash.
Thirty-five-year-old Spokane mother of three, Deanne Hastings never returns home after a late night trip to the grocery store. Though she has a history of mental illness and has gone off the grid for days at a time in the past, her family says she’s always let them know she was leaving. When her fiancé tracks down her abandoned car and finds her purse and phone locked inside, he knows something is very wrong. And as Spokane detectives uncover more information about Deanne’s actions leading up to her disappearance, a slew of theories emerge.
DISAPPEARED is produced for Investigation Discovery by NBC News’ Peacock Productions with executive producers Elizabeth Fischer and Knute Walker and president and general manager of Peacock Productions, Sharon Scott. For Investigation Discovery, Liz Massie is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Jane Latman is executive vice president of development, Kevin Bennett is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President. (ID)