The Disappearance of Sara Bushland

If you take some time and Google missing persons cases in your area or state, you might be blown away by the amount of unsolved missing person cases there actually is. We’re not talking about recent cases either. There are many cases years and decades old that are still unsolved to this day. And if you’re thinking there really can’t be many in our area of the 715 because the area is full of smaller towns, you would be wrong.

For example, lets go to Spooner, Wisconsin. A town of about 2,500 people. And one person who still is missing since 1996. That person is Sara Bushland.

Sara Bushland was 15 years old on April 3, 1996. That morning, she was dropped off at a friends house by one of her step brothers before school started. Sara and her friend would then walk to their school, Spooner High School, from the friends house.

Sara also had a boyfriend who was a few years older than her, Travis Lane. He picked her up at lunchtime, but Sara returned to school after her lunch break.

Then the story kind of takes an interesting turn. She apparently was supposed to walk with her friend back to her friends house, but Sara apparently said she needed to run home first. She couldn’t find a ride and took the bus home. Other students on the bus stated they saw Sara get off the bus at her stop and start to walk up the driveaway to her house. But she apparently never made it.

One of Sara’s stepbrothers phoned his dad (Sara’s stepdad) shortly after 4:30 to indicate Sara didn’t return home from school. Sara’s stepdad was in Minnesota at the time and Sara’s mom was in Chippewa Falls, but returned home upon finding out that Sara didn’t make it home. Sara’s mom made phone calls to friends to try to find Sara, but when she couldn’t, she reported her missing and she hasn’t been found since.

Now, there are other stories to go a long with this.

Some witnesses indicated a black truck had been following the bus and one witness thought it belonged to someone Sara used to date. Another one thought it looked like the truck of her boyfriends father. Another person thought it was the truck of someone named Steve that Sara referred to. Other witnesses stated they saw the truck pull into the driveway after Sara was dropped off and Sara approached the truck and was speaking with the driver. Some witnesses claimed to have seen Sara get into the truck, while others couldn’t confirm if she did. The truck was apparently seen backing out of the driveway as the bus pulled away.

It wasn’t until July of 1999 that investigators did a physical search of her stepdads property. Later in the same year, they searched a trash dump that was on the property and dragged Spring Lake in August of 2000. Nothing was found.

The property was searched again in 2013 and 2017, but nothing was found.

It’s been over 25 years since Sara Bushland disappeared without a trace in the small area of Spooner and Spring Lake, Wisconsin.

If you have any information on the Sara Bushland case, contact the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office 715-468-4700

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