When a Tennessee outdoorsman disappears in a remote area on the outskirts of a national park, he leaves behind a loving family and a thriving business. Extensive search efforts fail to solve a mystery that unfolds in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Michael “Mike” Hearon was 51 years old when he disappeared in August 2008. Despite extensive search efforts, no sign of Mike–beyond his abandoned ATV–has been found.
A screen shot from a WBIR news segment on Mike’s disappearance (link below) shows the Happy Valley, TN area where Mike disappeared from.
A Google Maps satellite image shows the Happy Valley, TN area. Bell Branch Road (where Mike’s farm property was located) is marked with a red indicator.
Blount County Sheriff’s Department personnel embark upon a horseback search for Mike days after his disappearance. Photo by Knoxville News Sentinel (source article linked below).
When an entire family is murdered in the dead of night, the investigation is complicated by a law enforcement agency teeming with secrets. Small town Virginia meets major crime in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Gerald Short of Martinsville, VA, has been convicted of the murder of a 14 year old girl, and the attempted rape of a 12 year old girl. Hooper has not been named a suspect in the Short family triple homicide.
Jennifer Short smiles in an undated photo.. She was 9 years old whenever she was abducted from her bed and murdered. Her parents were also murdered that night, and the case remains unsolved.
Henry County Sheriff’s Deputies serve as pallbearers at Jennifer’s funeral. Her remains were discovered more than a month after her abduction. Photo by Natalee Waters / Landmark News Service.
The Short family home was burnt in a possible act of arson in 2019. It remains unknown how or why the fire started. Photo by WDBJ7 News.
First responders are pictured at the site of the fire that destroyed the Short Family home in 2019. It remains unknown whether or not the fire was an act of arson.
In 2009, seven years after the Short family triple-homicide, the FBI released this sketch of a man reportedly seen in the area of the Short family home around the time of their murders.
This article from the 3-30-1979 edition of The News Leader discusses a double shooting perpetrated by Gerald Hooper. The shooting left one 14 year old girl dead, and one 18 year old man seriously wounded.
An article from the 12-28-1979 newspaper references Gerald Hooper’s charge for the attempted rape of a 12 year old girl, and the murder of a 14 year old girl.
Mary, Jennifer and Michael Short smile in an undated photo. The Shorts were a happy family of 3 who were looking forward to moving to coastal South Carolina at the time of their murders. On August 14th, 2002, they were murdered.
When a young New York woman trades her small town for the glittering lights of Las Vegas, her short life is torn away by a predator. The mystery surrounding her death spans the country, crossing paths with a possible serial killer in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Lindsay Harris, a native of Skineatles, NY was 21 whenever she disappeared from the Las Vegas strip. Her partial remains were later discovered in Illinois.
This undated Oregon driver identification photo released Monday, July 27, 2015, by the Charleston, W. Va., Police Department shows Neal Falls, of Springfield, Ore., killed by a women he attacked on July 18 in Charleston. Police are investigating whether Falls had any connection to cases of suspicious deaths and missing women in other states. (Oregon DMV/Charleston Police Department via AP)
This police evidence photo shows the inside of Neal Falls’ trunk. It’s suspected that Falls planned to use this “murder kit” to dispose of the body of Heather, a Charleston woman who he violently attacked. Heather gained control of Falls’ gun and shot him in self-defense, ending the life of a suspected serial killer.
This police evidence photo shows the contents of Falls’ “murder kit” displayed on a tarp.
When a young girl vanishes into a dark and stormy night, investigators are baffled by her disappearance. One of the most mysterious unsolved cases in North Carolina history is explored in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Asha Degree was 9 years old when she disappeared from her hometown of Shelby, NC, on 02/14/2000.
Asha was a skilled athlete, and went missing just days after her school’s first basketball game of the season.
A billboard highlighting Asha’s disappearance has long been maintained in Shelby.
Asha’s parents, Harold (left) and Iquilla (right) hold a portrait of their missing daughter.
A billboard provides contact information for anyone who has any information about Asha’s disappearance.
An age-progressed image shows what Asha may look like in present day, as an adult. Have you seen this woman?
A copy of this book was found in Asha’s backpack, which was discovered buried in a county adjacent to which Asha disappeared.
This 1990 ‘New Kids on the Block’ t-shirt was found in a backpack belonging to Asha in August, 2001 (>1 year after her disappearance).
Asha may have been seen getting into a car like this one on the night other dissappearance.
Asha may have been seen getting into a car like this one on the night of her disappearance.
Asha Degree was 9 years old when she disappeared from her home during a stormy night in 2000.
When a Maryland teen is abducted and murdered on her way home from school, the tragedy leaves a lasting impression on her community. Cold case investigators persevere decades later, striving to identify a killer they believe is still in the area in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Lori Zimmerman was 15 years old at the time of her murder in 1984.
Lori disappeared from downtown Hagerstown, Maryland on her way home from school. Her remains were discovered in a rural area 10 days later.
Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr has admitted to murdering two Hagerstown area women. The murder of his 17 year old victim bears several similarities to Lori’s murder. It’s unknown whether he was involved in Lori’s death. Photo from the Herald Mail.
Lori’s mother, Sandra, holds a portrait of her only child. Sandra died in 2020, without ever learning who murdered her daughter. The case remains open.
When a North Carolina nurse is found dead after being threatened by a stalker, investigators quickly write her death off as an accident. Questions abound in this episode of Last Seen Alive, such as: how does a body “accidentally” wind up in a barrel underwater?
Debbie Wolfe was 28 years old whenever she was found dead at the bottom of the pond in her backyard. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning despite extensive suspicious circumstances.
Debbie worked as a nurse at a veterans’ hospital, where she was in charge of coordinating hospital volunteers. A volunteer who’d unsuccessfully pursued her romantically left a suspicious voicemail on the day of her disappearance.
When an Arkansas honors student and class valedictorian disappears just weeks shy of high school graduation, an explanation eludes investigators. Years later, hidden evidence is uncovered inside the walls at her after-school job, giving the case new life in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
When an Ohio medical student disappears into thin air during a night out, a massive investigation fails to uncover any trace of him. One of the Midwest’s most baffling mysteries is explored in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Brian Shaffer, 27, was in his second year of medical school whenever he disappeared on April 1, 2006.
Brian, pictured here holding a guitar, also had a passion for music.
Brian disappeared just days before he was supposed to embark on a tropical vacation with his girlfriend. The trip was a final gift from his late mother, with whom he’d been close.
These stills from the last known security footage of Brian were taken just minutes before he disappeared. In them, he talks with two women by the escalator that leads to the Ugly Tuna Saloona, a second story bar.
A street view of the Ugly Tuna Saloona shows its second story position, and the other bars that surround it. It’s unknown how Brian disappeared from the bar without being caught on security footage from any of the businesses pictured.
The Ugly Tuna Saloona was a bar popular with students of Ohio State University, where Brian attended school. Although he was caught on security footage entering the bar, there’s no footage of him leaving.
A photo from the interior of the Ugly Tuna Saloona helps illustrate how small the business was.
The Ugly Tuna Saloona was surrounded by other bars, such as Mad Mex. One of the enduring questions in Brian’s case is how he managed to leave the Ugly Tuna without being captured on its security cameras, or the cameras of any surrounding businesses. Photo by D Rust.
The Ugly Tuna Saloona was located in South Campus Gateway, a commercial area on High St just outside of Ohio State University Campus.
When a group of paratroopers hits the beach for a laid-back holiday weekend, one of their own goes missing. Tragic evidence washes ashore and ignites one of 2020’s most devastating missing / murdered American soldier investigations in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
An aerial view of South Core Banks shows how flat and undeveloped the 26-mile long island is. The companions of Enrique Roman-Martinez–Army paratroopers–claimed to have searched the island for an entire day for Enrique before alerting authorities that he was missing. (Photo: National Park Service)
Searchers gathered on South Core Banks after Enrique’s disappearance in an attempt to locate the missing paratrooper. (Photo: National Park Service)
Enrique is pictured in an undated photo. In addition to his military service goals–which he successfully fulfilled–he aspired to study pharmacology and psychology after concluding his service with the US Army.
Enrique’s family traveled to South Core Banks after his disappearance to see the island he’d disappeared from. Here, they shared a prayer and moment of silence with Army personnel. Enrique was missing for a week before his partial remains were located.
Enrique is pictured in uniform in this undated photo. He’d joined the US Army at just 17 years old in an effort to better himself through service to others and, ultimately, higher education. Although he fulfilled his military service goals, his murderer(s) denied him the chance to obtain a college education and enjoy a civilian career.
In this photo of a South Core Banks seashore like the one Enrique disappeared from, a sand dune is partially visible (left). Enrique’s camping companions (fellow soldiers) told 911 dispatch that they had searched for a park ranger to report his absence to for an entire day. However, it was later discovered that a park ranger had approached them midday on that same day to ask them to move their vehicles farther from some sand dunes. According to that ranger, they did not mention a missing person. (Photo: National Park Service)
When a medical student and military reserve officer disappears during a run through a Philadelphia park, foul play is immediately suspected. The discovery of her body incriminates a deadly serial offender who remains nameless and at large in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Rebecca Park is remembered by her friends, family and co-workers for her sunny attitude and boundless energy. She was always moving forward, and excelled in her medical studies. She loved animals, science and medicine, and valued family and friends.
Fairmount Park is Philadelphia’s largest park, spanning over 2000 acres. In 2003, a serial offender attacked 3 female runners, assaulting 2 and murdering 1: 30 year old Rebecca Park. Photo by Frederikto.
These police sketches show the “Fairmount Park Rapist”, a Hispanic male approx. 5’8″ in height with dark hair and eyes. Notable features include scars on his chest and shoulder and broken English / a thick Central or South American accent.
Rebecca Park was 30 years old at the time of her death. Her murderer ended the life of a vibrant, intelligent and driven medical student and military reserve officer.
This wanted poster from the Philadelphia Police Dept includes sketches that portray the Fairmount Park Rapist’s scars.
This map illustrates the distance between Fairmount Park (the location of the Fairmount Park Rapist’s first 3 known attacks) and Pennypack Park (the location of his 4th and last known attack). The distance between the two parks (approx. 12 miles) is significant, considering that the F.P.R. traveled by foot or bicycle and likely preferred to target victims close to his home. Courtesy of Google Maps.
This map shows the location of Rebecca’s apartment (red marker), which she left on foot for a fatal Sunday afternoon run. A couple driving down nearby Conshohocken Avenue (circled in blue) heard what were likely Rebecca’s screams. Rebecca’s body was found inside the park (designated by green color on map) 4 days later.