My roommate and I sublet our extra room one summer to a guy who we found on Craigslist and had pretty thoroughly vetted (we thought). He was in town to do a culinary program and was nice enough but we were happy to have our place back when he left to finish up his program in Italy. He was going to return in a few months and take his final exams, but a few weeks into his Italy stay we received word that he had gone missing, leaving everything he owned behind. We were contacted by his frantic mother and gave all the information we could as the local police dredged the river, his family gave interviews to the Italian press and they poured over his phone records. We checked a website daily that listed progress in the case and took donations to aid in the costs of his family living in Italy and funding the search. We were all convinced that he was dead.
One day I checked the website only to find that his parents had received word that he had run off and joined the French foreign legion (yes it exists)!! The only reason his parents even found out is that he smuggled a note through his friend who had left. He was then soon discharged for fighting with another legionnaire and getting pretty badly beat up in the process (the explanatory email had a line like “but you should have seen the OTHER guy!”). To this day, I still can’t believe the story. We met his parents a few months later when they came to pick up the stuff he had left in our apartment and they turned out to be really nice, which made the whole thing so much sadder…and ridiculous.