Missing Three Times — How Did Hannah Do It?

Missing Three Times — How Did Hannah Do It?

How does a young woman disappear three times? True Crime Psychology and Personality host Dr. Todd Grande digs deep into the behavior, identifying the variables, symptoms and outcomes.

What are the chances a person will go missing—three times?

Hannah Upp is that person. The 32-year-old teacher living on St. Thomas Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands has a rare condition called dissociative fugue, a temporary form of amnesia marked by travel or wandering. It’s a divisive diagnosis among psychologists. But is this the real reason for her trifecta of disappearances?

She refused to wear tracking devices.

She did not want to be defined by a condition.

She was described as bubbly, vibrant and friendly by her friends. Was she struggling with something deeper than anyone could access and solve?

Evergreen Podcasts’ True Crime Psychology and Personality with Dr. Todd Grande dives deep into the pathology of horrendous crimes and discusses topics like narcissism, psychopathy, sociopathy and personality disorders from a scientifically informed perspective. He discusses her headline-making Houdini moves and four hypotheses in “Hannah Upp: Did Dissociative Fugue Cause Three Disappearances?”

On the Run?

“Many clinicians are not convinced [dissociative fugue] exists,” says Dr. Todd Grande, a licensed professional counselor of mental health. The episode explores how a personality disorder could trigger bewildered wandering and purposeful travel.

Was Hannah “herself” when she disappeared?

When she went missing on St. Thomas when Hurricane Irma hit the island on September 15, 2017, she had been out of touch via phone or text for three days. She missed a staff meeting at the school where she was a teacher. Her ex-boyfriend had remarked that she looked sleep deprived.

In 2008 she disappeared in New York City as a fresh-out-of-college Spanish teacher. She was going for a run and did not report to work on the first day of class. She left her cell phone behind, along with her wallet and identification. A New York Daily News headline read, “Teacher, 23, Disappears Into Thin Air.” Someone spotted her at the Apple Store two weeks later wearing running clothes. Twenty days after her disappearance, she was found floating facedown, alive, near Robins Reef after being spotted by a captain of the Staten Island Ferry.

Then in 2012, she vanished before starting a new job as a teaching assistant for underserved children in Kensington, Md. A co-worker saw her walking vigorously into the woods—the wrong direction. Her wallet, cell phone and purse were found on a trail. No one had spoken to her for 24 hours before her “hike.”

4 'Whys'

Dr. Grande digs deep into the behavior, identifying the variables, symptoms and outcomes. What really happened to Hannah?

Did she suffer from dissociative fugue, or does another mental disorder explain the multiple disappearances? Maybe Hannah simply chose to escape. Or were her vanishing acts an attempt to end her own life?

Dr. Grande teases through the evidence and gets to the bottom of the case with a strong conclusion to an ending for Hannah that was tragic. Tune in to the episode on True Crime Psychology and Personality to understand Hannah’s story—and more profiles by Dr. Grande as he examines real-life events through a mental health lens.

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