As police struggle to make sense of the unsolved Sherri Papini abduction case, at least three other women have vanished in mysterious circumstances from the same region.
Amy Snow, 25, Jessica Roggenkamp, 44 and Stacey Smart, 52, have all disappeared in the past two months from small northern Californian communities less than a three-hour drive from Redding, where Mrs Papini was kidnapped.
While authorities have stopped short of linking the cases, all of which involve women with blonde hair and blue eyes, they have become the subject of intense speculation in local papers and on social media.
Ms Papini made international headlines when she disappeared on November 2 while jogging in the town of Mountain Gate in Shasta County.
Her husband Keith reported the 34-year-old missing after he came home from work to find she hadn't picked up their children from daycare. Her mobile phone and headphones were found near Sunrise Drive where she was last seen, less than 2km from the family residence.
The story took a bizarre turn when Mrs Papini was found bound and badly injured on the side of the Interstate 5 in Yolo County - more than 200km from her home - on Thanksgiving morning.
She had been starved, beaten and branded during her 22 days in captivity but could tell police little about her abductors, whom she described as two Hispanic-speaking women armed with a handgun.
Mrs Papini's release came less than 48 hours after controversial Redding kidnap consultant Cameron Gamble released a video offering an undisclosed ransom from an anonymous benefactor in exchange for Mrs Papini's safe return.
Mr Gamble believes his "reverse ransom" (when money is offered in the absence of a ransom demand) address, which went viral on social media, directly resulted in Mrs Papini's release.
"I told the captors the whole world was watching," he told The Guardian at the weekend. "I wanted them to feel they were being hunted, that the money we were offering was so enticing they couldn't trust their own mother not to betray them."
Mr Gamble has said he believes Mrs Papini was targeted by sex traffickers, a growing trade authorities linked to more than 800 cases in California in 2016 alone.
He expanded on the subject in a recent Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) and also addressed allegations circulating online that he was using the case to spruik his business.
While many remain sceptical of Mrs Papini's story and Mr Gamble's role in it, the ex-soldier has since found himself in high demand, contacted by desperate families of other missing women in the area.
The daughter of Stacey Smart, who went missing on the same day as Mrs Papini from the nearby town of Lewiston but received a fraction of the publicity, is one of those to have enlisted Mr Gamble's help.
"(He) is helping us," Nicole Santos-Hamann told the Record Searchlight.
"He's giving us advice and kind of helping us with coming up with backers, to help us with a bounty or a reward leading up to her whereabouts."
Ms Smart, 51, also known as Stacey Hamilton, is blonde with blue eyes.
The next to vanish was Amy Snow, 25. Ms Snow was reported missing by her mother on December 1 after leaving her home in Salyer - a small town in Trinity County located less than three hours from Redding, where Mrs Papini was kidnapped, and around two hours from Lewiston, where Ms Smart disappeared.
Numerous searches conducted by police and volunteers in the area and in neighbouring counties have failed to uncover any trace of the young woman, who is described as 165cm with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Sightings of Ms Snow in the town of Arcata, which is located further north towards Humboldt County - which has its own dark reputation thanks to the unsolved cases of five missing women - have so far come to nothing.
Days later, Jessica Roggenkamp disappeared from Anderson, a town set in the Redding municipality.
The 44-year-old was last seen on December 10 by two motorists who told police they had stopped to help her change a tyre.
They said Ms Roggenkamp had told them she was on her way to a party in Harrison Gulch, a popular camping and hiking area in the south east corner of Shasta County.
Whether she made it or not remains a mystery; just before midnight on December 11, her 2010 black Ford Mustang was found abandoned in a remote area of Trinity County, south of Highway 36.
There was no petrol in the tank and the car was unlocked, with the keys still in the ignition.
A sleeping bag, a duffel bag stuffed with clothes and a pillow were found inside but investigators say Ms Roggenkamp's purse and mobile phone were missing.
Anderson Police Department Sergeant Steve Blunk has said that while there was no sign of foul play at the scene, there was also no indication of what might have happened to Ms Roggenkamp.