There is a small group of people in this country -- connected by a single interest -- who are missing, unidentified or deceased. They are brothers, sisters and loved ones without closure, and in some cases, without a face. There are nine of them in all.
One died in a car accident. One was murdered and dumped in a ditch. Seven are missing, with their current whereabouts unknown.
One commonality links them -- the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead.
The mutual interest in the band is a connection that was made by Todd Matthews, national director of the National Missing & Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).
Matthews has compiled a listing of the cases at the "Unsolved Grateful Dead Fans" website.
"The Grateful Dead is just one commonality that brings this group of people together," Matthews told The Huffington Post. "While the cases may not be personally linked, their affinity for the band brings them together."
That affinity, Matthews said, is what he uses to keep the cases in the spotlight -- something that can be difficult to do with new cases, let alone those that have gone cold.
"The popularity of the band, the Grateful Dead definitely brings attention to this particular group of cases, and when you are working with cold cases, you look for anything you can use to keep them in the public eye," said Matthews.
Look at the cases listed here, share them with your friends and, in the event you recognize someone or have information about one of them, contact the authorities.
On July 27, 1973, Mitchel Weiser, 16, and Bonita Bickwit, 15, left Narrowsburg, N.Y., to attend a music festival featuring the Grateful Dead. The couple were two of some 800,000 people to make the pilgrimage to Watkins Glen that weekend, but whether they actually arrived remains a mystery. When the couple failed to return home the following week, they were reported missing to police. As news of their disappearance spread, a long-haul truck driver reported seeing the pair hitchhiking along State Route 97, with a cardboard sign that read "Watkins Glen." No one who attended the concert has ever reported having any contact with the couple. In 2000, a man claimed that a man in a VW bus had picked him up while he was hitchhiking from Watkins Glen, and that the driver had also given Weiser and Bickwit a ride. The man, 24 at the time, said he and the driver were stoned when they stopped at a large river -- the Susquehanna or Chemung -- to cool off. During the stop, the driver reportedly said that Bickwit fell into the river and Weiser jumped in after her. He said the couple was swept downstream, so the hitchhiker and the driver left without reporting the incident to police. Authorities have yet to confirm the VW driver's statements. To date, no further sightings of the couple have been reported. At the time of his disappearance, Mitchel Weiser was 5 feet 7 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He wore eyeglasses and had a scar on his lower lip. Bonita "Bonnie" Bickwit was 4 feet 11 inches tall, 95 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department at (914) 794-7100.
On the afternoon of Monday, June 26, 1995, authorities were called to the scene of a fatal car accident in Emporia, Va. The vehicle had gone off the side of the road and crashed head-on into two trees. The occupants were not restrained and died of massive head injuries at the scene, presumably upon impact. Police were able to identify the driver as Michael Hager, a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student. Hager had been visiting his girlfriend in Fairfax County, Va., and had left her home the morning of the crash. The passenger had no identification and none of Hager's friends or family members knew the man. The unidentified man's fingerprints were not in any law enforcement database and he did not match any missing person reports. The coroner estimates the young man was between 15 and 21 years of age. In the passenger's pockets, police found four quarters, a BIC lighter and two ticket stubs. The stubs were for a Grateful Dead concert at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C., on June 24 and 25, 1995. In addition to the items found on "Grateful Doe," authorities found a note near the site of the crash that was addressed to someone named "Jason." "To Jason, sorry we had to go. See you around. Caroline O. and Caroline T." The note also had a small doodle and a phone number with a 914 prefix. Authorities do not know if the note belonged to Hager, Grateful Doe or someone with no connection to either. The phone number proved to be a dead end and the forensics lab was unable to lift any fingerprints from it. Grateful Doe is described as a white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall and approximately 169 pounds. He had curly light brown to dark blond shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. His left earlobe was pierced, but had no earring at the time of his death. He was wearing light blue jeans, a Grateful Dead tie-dyed T-shirt from the 1995 summer tour, size 11-and-a-half Fila sneakers, and a macramé and bead necklace. He had a homemade tattoo of a star on his upper left arm and a faint pattern, possibly a faded homemade tattoo of an unknown design, on his upper right arm. He also had a scar on the middle of his back. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at (804) 786-3174.
Bridget Lee Pendell, a 1992 graduate of Plattsburgh High School District, in Plattsburgh, N.Y., was a registered nurse and married mother of one in 1995, when she walked away from her life. According to family members, Pendell got involved in drugs, began to hang out with a bad crowd, and followed the band the Grateful Dead from state to state. In 1996, Pendell went to San Francisco, Calif., and moved into a hotel at 376 Ellis Street, with a Grateful Dead drifter known only as "Cosmic Charlie" Aldo. The last positive sighting of Pendell was on April 7, 1997, when the then-23-year-old was arrested for prostitution in the Mission District. Pendell did not show up for her court date and her family has not heard from her. At the time of her disappearance, Pendell, who also went by her married name, Bridget Williamson, was described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, between 100 and 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She had a yellow rose tattoo on one of her upper thighs, a tattoo of a light blue cat, a tattoo of a pearl necklace in her lower abdominal region, and a tribal tattoo on her right biceps. Anyone with information on Pendell is asked to contact the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department at (831) 454-2520.
Douglas Stephen Simmons, 20, disappeared at a Grateful Dead concert in Raleigh, N.C., on July 10, 1990. According to police, Simmons, a student at the University of Western Florida, was last seen by friends in Carter-Finley Arena. Simmons told them he was going to get something out of his car and never returned. Simmons was reported missing four days later. His whereabouts remain a mystery. At the time of his disappearance, Simmons was 5 feet 10 inches tall, 155 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a red and white baseball cap, a white tank top, gray shorts, and white high-top Reeboks. He was also wearing a small gold rectangle key chain with the initials "DSS." Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Escambia County Sheriff's Office at (904) 436-9655.
Cengiz Han Nuray, of Santa Barbara, Calif., was 17 years old in the spring of 1995, when he was following the Grateful Dead around with a group of friends. UPDATE: In January 2015, the remains of a John Doe that had been in possession of the coroners office since 1995 were positively identified as Nuray. The teen was last seen at Greyhound Rock Beach in Santa Cruz on April 27, 1995. He told his friends he was going for a walk and never returned to collect his belongings. No further details on his disappearance are available. At the time he went missing, Nuray was 6 feet 1 inch tall, 165 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information in this case is asked to call the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office at (805) 683-2724.
Twenty-one-year-old Jennifer Marie Wilmer has been missing since Sept. 13, 1993. Wilmer was last seen leaving her residence in Willow Creek, Calif. According to The Doe Network, Wilmer led a counterculture hippie lifestyle and hung out with "Deadheads," the name given to fans of the Grateful Dead. At the time of her disappearance, Wilmer was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed about 100 pounds. She had brown hair, styled in dreadlocks, and blue eyes. She went by the nickname "Jade." Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Trinity County Sheriff's Office at (916) 623-2611.
On March 29, 2008, a man fishing near Isleton, Calif., discovered bones sticking out from under a box spring mattress that had been thrown along a ditch on Tyler Island Road. Authorities believe the victim had been dumped in the location four years earlier. Forensic examination revealed the victim was female, white or Hispanic, 30 to 50 years old, and between 5 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 8 inches tall. The victim was wearing a light-colored Grateful Dead zipper jacket, size XL with Grateful Dead logo trim running along the collar and waist area. She was also dressed in a dark blue, hooded sweatshirt with a "Delta 5 Fire Crew" emblem and was wearing a beaded necklace with a frog charm and possibly other miscellaneous jewelry found at the scene. Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office at (916) 874-5115.
Jacob "Jake" Lipp, 27, was last seen in Pittsburgh, Pa., in the early morning hours of Dec. 16, 2012. According to police, Lipp and his girlfriend had spent the previous evening at a bar in the Strip District. After leaving the bar, they went to a McDonald's restaurant at 1630 Penn Ave. The couple got into an argument and Lipp's girlfriend drove off, leaving him in the restaurant parking lot. Lipp was last seen by video surveillance, at about 3 a.m., walking in the direction of the bar. What happened to him after that remains a mystery. Lipp stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds. He has brown eyes and long, straight brown hair that he sometimes wears in dreadlocks. He has a chickenpox scar in the middle of his forehead and was last seen wearing jeans, a handmade hemp necklace, a black Grateful Dead T-shirt and a brown hoodie with cream-colored designs of squares and stripes. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Missing Persons Division at (412) 323-7141.