Atsumi Yoshikubo, whose story is featured in CBC Firsthand doc, The Missing Tourist, was last seen walking along the road toward the wild wilderness of Yellowknife.
The idea that a tourist would go missing from one of Canada’s most northern regions was inconceivable to those who live there. While Yoshikubo’s story was exceptional for the small community, many tourists go missing every year. Here's a few that caught the media's attention:
Takako Konishi in Fargo, North Dakota
When Takako Konishi's body was found in a field outside Fargo, her story sparked a media spectacle.
As the original story went, Konishi, a 28-year-old Japanese woman, disappeared while looking for the fictional buried suitcase full of money featured in the film, Fargo. But the real story was quite different.
When Konishi was found rummaging through a garbage dump in North Dakota, she was brought to the police. While she was at the station, she pulled out a disheveled, handwritten map that included a road and a tree.
That’s where the misunderstanding started: Konishi spoke very little English and the police spoke no Japanese, but one of the few words they both understood was ‘Fargo’.
And that’s how police made a connection that wasn’t there: They thought she was looking for the $1M treasure featured in the Coen brothers 1996 dark comedy, in which a character buries a suitcase of ransom money in a barren area of Minnesota and marks it with a stick.
But since she wasn’t under arrest, they couldn’t do anything else for her, one of the officers said in a documentary about Konishi’s story called, This Is A True Story. So, the officer drove her to catch the bus to Fargo.
The actual true story about Konishi’s death involves heartbreak, a suicide note and an ex-lover from Fargo.
The original story about Konishi’s death, about a lost Japanese girl in the middle of nowhere America looking for buried money, was later used as the inspiration for a feature film called Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter.
Dutch tourists in Panama
Two Dutch tourists — Kris Lemers, 21, and Lisanne Froon, 22 — disappeared while out on a hike in Panama in April 2004.
Despite search teams, which included dogs and helicopters, there were no signs of the women for weeks.
Months later, some of their remains were found in the Panama countryside, which was confirmed by DNA tests.
Local authorities said their death was the result of a hiking accident, but not everyone is convinced, according to a report from The Daily Beast.
Nine weeks after their disappearance, one of their backpacks was brought to location authorities. It contained two bras, two smartphones, two pairs of sunglasses, a water bottle, Froon's passport, some cash and, most importantly, Froon's camera - which had photos on it from after their estimated time of death.
The backpack was also found alongside bones fragments, some of which belonged to the two women, and others that possibly belonged to three other people, the article reports.
Fauna Jackson in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Fauna Jackson, 16, disappeared while volunteering in a Wyoming national park. She went for a bathroom break and never returned.
More than 100 people, including the FBI, naturalists, and paramedics, spent two days looking for the teen.
When rescuers found her uninjured, she tried to flee. Once they caught her, she had to be restrained by three rangers and the sheriff’s deputy.
She also looked completely different — her hair had been cut, was a different colour, and she was wearing different clothes, according to an article from The Guardian.
Learn more about Atsumi Yoshikubo's story in the documentary, The Missing Tourist, on Firsthand.