Disappeared for a Reason

When I was a kid, I watched an assload of Unsolved Mysteries, and one of my wife’s preferred background-noise shows now is Disappeared (and a myriad of other Dateline-type true crime shows). While the late Robert Stack was just as likely to talk about alien abductions or ghost sightings, the series did often talk of unsolved murders, abductions, and disappearances, the latter of which is Disappeared‘s raison d’être.

So a question occurred to me this morning, while the latter show was on: what if some of these “disappeared” people are in the Witness Protection Program?

I imagine the chances of that are pretty slim, but with all the hundreds or thousands of people who get profiled on these shows, it seems like eventually that number is going to come up. Then, suddenly, you’ve got the original names and faces and circumstances of disappearance and other vital information of two people in hiding broadcast on national television, almost certainly with some number or organization to contact if you have information about their disappearance. Seems like that would be an absolute nightmare for anyone in Witness Protection.

And I don’t see a way around it, either. It’s not like the US Marshals can provide a list of names to Investigation Discovery and say “don’t do episodes about these people,” can they? Wouldn’t that be like making a hit list, saying “these people are still alive and in hiding, contrary to what the people who want them dead believe”?

It’d be interesting to know if this has ever happened, or how they prevent it, but I suspect a lot of that information might be kept secret.

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