When Barbara Cotton vanished without a trace on April 11, 1981 some thought she had simply run away. They guessed. They speculated.

Sometimes that’s all we are left with when someone just disappears, speculations and theories. Our most common theories are those which make some sort of sense to us, things we’ve heard about or are familiar with: runaway, accident, abduction, assault. Murder! But what are some of the more obscure ways that people have gone missing in the past?

In episode 15 of "A Better Search for Barbara" host James Wolner explores some lesser-known explanations.

North Korea Kidnappings

Beginning in 1977, the North Korean government came up with a creative solution for fulfilling some of their needs for language teachers and other professions; they started kidnapping people from other countries. Most of these people were from Japan but there are accounts from around the world, including Italy, The Netherlands, France, Romania, Thailand and others.

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From Son of Sam to Barbara Cotton?

Perhaps it's just a case of six degrees of separation. Perhaps it a coincidence. Whatever the explanation, there is now an alleged connection between convicted "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz and missing Barbara Cotton of Williston, N.D. In this episode host James Wolner discusses the recent Netflix documentary "Sons of Sam" with private investigator Carrie Abbey. The documentary explores theories of occult activity and its alleged role in the Son of Sam murders in 1976. The discussion takes us from New York to Minot, N.D. to Williston.

Listen to Episode 15

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True Crime podcasts BY JAMES WOLNER

RELATED Podcast homepage | Newsletter | Season 3 videos | Season 2: 1976 Zick murders | jwolner@forumcomm.com