The Mysterious 2007 Disappearance Of Lee Cutler

On the evening of October 19, 2007, 18-year-old Lee Cutler planned to go to friend's house for a birthday party. Before he left home, Cutler told his mother, Beth, he would be spending the night and would call her the next day to check in. He then gave his mother a hug, which she later described as lasting longer than she expected.

As reported by Stories of the Unsolved, Cutler and his friends had dinner together, then went outside to play hacky sack. Everyone who attended the party said Cutler appeared to be having a good time and did not seem to be troubled in any way. Later that evening, Cutler and his friends played some video games together before going to bed. In the early morning hours of October 20, 2007, Cutler sent a text message to another friend, who did not attend the party. Stories of the Unsolved reports Cutler told the friend he was upset because he was having trouble fitting in with his peers. The friend later said the conversation with Cutler did not concern them, as it was not unusual for Cutler to worry unnecessarily.

The following morning, at approximately 9:50 a.m, Cutler took a friend home from the party and indicated he was heading to a clothing store called Rock America, where he was scheduled to begin working at noon. However, as reported by the Charley Project, Cutler never arrived for his shift and seemingly disappeared without a trace.

Lee Cutler seemingly vanished on his way to work

Lee Cutler's mother, Beth, became concerned when her son did not respond to her text messages or answer her calls, as it was unusual for him. That afternoon, she drove to the Rock America store and learned her son never showed up to work his shift. As reported by Stories of the Unsolved, Beth was not terribly worried, as she thought Lee may have been confused about when his shift was scheduled to begin. However, when she called the store at 5 that evening, and learned he never showed up, she started worrying that something had happened to her son. Later that same evening, Cutler was expected to attend an outing with the BBYO, which is a Jewish organization for teens. As he was an active member of the organization, and never missed planned events, his mother became worried enough to contact authorities.

According to Stories of the Unsolved, Cutler was officially reported missing at around 11 p.m. on October 20, 2007. None of Lee's friends had seen or talked to him since he said he was on his way to work. During a subsequent search of Cutler's bedroom, authorities did not find anything out of place, and suggested he may have left voluntarily and would return in the following days.

During an interview with Cutler's mother, authorities learned the teen had a history of mental health issues. They also learned his grandmother had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Lee Cutler's vehicle was found abandoned 200 miles from his home

During a further search of Lee Cutler's room and possessions, his parents determined approximately $500 was missing, which suggested the teen may have planned to leave without telling anyone. As reported by Stories of the Unsolved, authorities gained access to Cutler's cell phone records. However, as the phone appeared to be turned off, they were unable to use the device to determine his location. According to the phone records, Cutler last used the phone on October 20.

In the early morning hours of October 22, 2007, authorities found an abandoned vehicle in Baraboo, Wisconsin, which was later determined to be Cutler's car. The car was approximately 200 miles away from Cutler's home. Authorities noted the vehicle was locked and there were no signs of a struggle.

Law enforcement officials launched an extensive search of the wooded area where Cutler's vehicle was found. Amid the search, authorities found an abandoned campsite, which was determined to be Cutler's. According to Stories of the Unsolved, authorities found Cutler's backpack at the campsite. Along a river, which was near the campsite, they found Cutler's clothing, yarmulke, wallet, keys, and some cash. One of the most controversial items found near the campsite was a letter, which was addressed to Cutler's mother. In the letter, the teen wrote, "My head is too big for my body. Finally, I will get to sleep. I'm sorry for being a coward. I love you, mom. Please, be happy."

Lee Cutler was never found

Although authorities thought the letter sounded like a suicide note, Lee Cutler's family and friends disagreed. According to Stories of the Unsolved, Cutler enjoyed writing, and often used it as an outlet to express his feelings. Authorities also noted Cutler's vehicle was very low on gas, despite passing several gas stations along the route from his hometown to the location where the vehicle was found. This led law enforcement officials to believe he did not intend to drive any further than the woods where he vanished.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune in 2010, authorities conducted an extensive search of the region around the campground and no trace of Cutler was ever found. They ultimately concluded he was no longer in the area where his vehicle was found. Authorities also noted they did not find any evidence of foul play. Sauk County police Captain Kevin Fults said if Cutler was still in the region, he, or his remains, would have been found.

Through the years, authorities received numerous tips from people who believed they saw Cutler. However, none of the sightings were able to be confirmed.

There are several theories about what happened to Lee Cutler

There are several theories as to what may have happened to Lee Cutler. As reported by Stories of the Unsolved, some suggest he willingly left and planned to start a new life elsewhere.

As many of the reported sightings came from California, some people believe he may have made his way to California and has remained living there since his disappearance. Another theory suggests he moved to Israel. As he previously expressed interest in joining the Israeli Defense Forces, some people have speculated he made his dream a reality. However, there were no records proving he boarded a flight or left the country.

The most prominent theory is that Cutler died by suicide. Although Stories of the Unsolved reports authorities did find an empty bottle of Advil PM among his belongings, and the letter he wrote his mother was quite somber, nothing else was found in the region of the campsite to suggest he died in the area. His remains have yet to be found.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.