What causes some people to just step off the face of the earth? The year 1939 was not a good one for the Hungarian immigrant Andrew Toth. In 1930 he had moved to New York with his new wife, Julia Voda, where they had enjoyed a content life and had raised their daughter, Margaret. Indeed, things had been going very well for the couple until 1939, when Julia tragically died of blood poisoning, leaving Toth and Margaret in a state of deep bereavement. Toth would go on to fall in love with another woman by the name of Elizabeth Fabian, and for the first time since Julia had died both Toth and Margaret were happy once more. Margaret saw Elizabeth as a second mother, and the couple even made plans to have their own child. However, dark clouds were on the horizon, and they would soon go down the path of a strange vanishing and mystery that has never been solved.
On August 17 of 1943, a friend of Elizabeth by the name of Elizabeth Yulling went to the subway station to meet up with her to go to their workplace. They always met at the same time every day, and Elizabeth Toth was never late, yet on this day she didn’t arrive. Yulling waited, then waited some more, but Toth never showed up. She went to her friend’s apartment to find no one at home, and when she tried again later that evening her knocks at the door remained unanswered. She contacted Andrew Toth’s place of work and it would turn out he had never come in that day, and this is when Yulling began to suspect something was very wrong. The Toths were not known to just skip work without telling anyone, and they were mostly very punctual, responsible people, so this certainly all seemed very unusual.
It was even stranger when a full week passed with no further word from the Toths. Yulling assumed that they must have gone out of town, but they had not mentioned such a plan to anyone. Luckily, they found that Margaret was still at the summer camp she had been staying at, blissfully unaware that her parents had seemingly vanished in nothing, and having not heard from them either. It was then that Yulling decided to contact the police, sensing something was seriously wrong, but the authorities did not seem to take it very seriously. To them it was just two love birds who had gone away on a spur-of-the-moment getaway, but Yulling did not buy this at all. The Toths were not the type to do that, especially not without telling their beloved daughter, and additionally Andrew had been scheduled to take a test for American citizenship that week. Why would they have just skipped town without saying anything?
Just to be sure, police decided to make a stop at the Toth home to check things out. There was still no one at home, and they ended up letting themselves in. The apartment seemed normal, no signs of anything particularly amiss, and nothing was missing. Even the luggage was still there. It certainly didn’t seem that they had taken a week-long trip, and there was even food in the icebox, and then Yulling’s attention was captured by an odd sight. In the sink she saw a dirty, used frying pan, and on the table there were three glasses with whiskey in them, which might have seemed fairly mundane to the police, but to Yulling it was strange in that Elizabeth Toth was known as a neat-nik unlikely to leave unwashed dishes just lying around. They also rarely had visitors over and rarely drank alcohol, so why were there three whiskey glasses out on the table? who had been over there? Another clue was turned up with a name jotted down on a piece of paper, which read “Emma Fekete,” who Yulling had never heard of. With some prodding the police went to talk to Fekete, as it was the only possible lead they had, and soon learned that she was a cousin to one of the Toths, but she also did not know where they had gone, and so the next chapter of the mystery would begin.
Yulling would end up being referred to a detective John McCoy, and they would uncover some interesting details. Andrew’s boss claimed that he had left town to go visit his sick sister-in-law, but when his sister-in-laws were contacted it turned out that no one had been sick and they knew nothing of any plan for Toth to visit them. So why had he lied to his boss? McCoy also spoke to a neighbor who claimed to have seen the Toths the night before they had vanished, and claimed that they told him they were going shopping, after which several people had seen them around town before they simply disappeared into thin air. It would also turn out that in the days leading up to their disappearance, Elizabeth Toth had seemed very nervous and uneasy, acting in a very paranoid fashion as if she was scared, but of what she had been afraid of no one had a clue.
A little digging into Andrew Toth’s background also turned up some intriguing details. The most alarming thing was that Toth had not exactly been in his ex-in-laws’ good graces, apparently having had his dying wife sign over her savings to him and then refusing to pay her hospital bill. By all accounts the Vodas loathed him and seemed more pleased than anything that he had gone missing, with no love lost at all. Some more digging uncovered the fact that, although relatively well-off, Andrew Toth had been an unrepentant cheapskate and was not without a fair share of angry people who claimed to have been ripped off by him. It also turned out that Toth had known he had enemies, apparently sleeping with a hatchet under his pillow, according to a friend who had stayed with him to keep him company while Julia had been in the hospital. Indeed, he allegedly was never far from that hatchet, and had constantly been looking over his shoulder. On top of all of this, he had been very vocally against the Nazis, which seemed like a fairly dangerous thing to do considering the large German population where he lived.
Although none of this was concrete evidence that Toth had met with foul play, it was certainly suspicious, and also suspicious was the fact that Toth had been known to carry around large amounts of cash in a money belt, not trusting it to banks and too paranoid to keep it all in his house. He would just carry it around, apparently made no secret of all the cash he was packing, calling it his nest egg and claiming that he planned to use it to go back to Hungary. This raised the possibilities that he had either been a victim of robbery or he had actually gone through with his plan to go to Hungary, but then why would he lie to his boss, and why would he leave his daughter behind? If it was robbery, then that still didn’t explain where he had gone or why his wife was also missing. An even grimmer scenario was that he had murdered his wife in order to escape back to his homeland, but there was absolutely nothing to suggest that he would have ever done this. More clues would roll in, such as the fact that it was claimed by a friend that Elizabeth Toth had been pregnant but that Andrew had not wanted the child, in fact it turned out that they had had one abortion already, so did this have any connection? What was going on here? Where did Andrew and Elizabeth Toth go? What is the meaning of all of the strange clues? No one knows, and just about the only thing that is for sure is that they have never been seen again.