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10 Things That Went Missing Without a Trace


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Helen Brach
Two photographs of candy heiress Helen Brach who disappeared in 1977 and was declared dead in 1984. © Bettmann/CORBIS
Two photographs of candy heiress Helen Brach who disappeared in 1977 and was declared dead in 1984. © Bettmann/CORBIS

Helen Vorhees Brach, the widow of candy company executive Frank Brach, disappeared after supposedly being dropped off at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in February 1977. For years, rumors swirled around the fate of the eccentric heiress, who had already built a $500,000 marble monument in an Ohio cemetery, where she had planned to be buried alongside her husband, parents and two dogs.

It didn't help that the servant who'd dropped her off at the airport, Jack Matlick, took two weeks to report the disappearance and later was found to have cashed $13,000 in checks with Brach's signature forged on them. Or that Matlick and her brother Charles Vorhees burned Brach's diaries and writings after her death [sources: Enstad, Mills].

But in 1994, federal authorities instead arrested Richard Bailey, a former vacuum-sweeper salesman turned swindler whose game was to court older women (such as Brach) and convince them to invest in racehorses of dubious value. Bailey pled guilty to charges that included fraud and racketeering, and the judge who sentenced him to 30 years in prison decided that Bailey had probably played a role in Brach's disappearance, though Bailey denied that. Matlick died in 2011 [sources: The New York Times, Goudie].


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