“Runaway Train” is a popular song by American rock band Soul Asylum. Besides its indisputable success among charts worldwide, there’s a rather gloomy story behind its music video. During the chorus, pictures of missing teenagers and children are displayed, along with their names and the date they went missing. Different versions of the video were made, each with different missing persons being featured, depending on the country. All in all, a total of 36 persons where featured in the videos.
The Australian version showed several young backpackers. It was later found out that a good few of them had been murdered by Ivan Milat, an Australian serial killer who was active from 1989-1992. He became known as “the Backpacker Murderer”. Vicky Hamilton and Dinah McNicol, who were featured in the U.K. version, went missing in 1991. In 2007, their buried remains were found in the back garden of Scottish serial killer Peter Tobin. There were theories that Tobin could have been “Bible John”, a serial killer whose identity is unknown to this day, as Tobin’s known movements and his M.O. suggested his involvement in the case. What also made him a suspect was the fact that Tobin was already in his 60s when he killed his first victim, which is unusual, as well as the way he hid the body and evaded capture, which suggested he was experienced.
The body of 14-year old Curtis Huntzinger was found in 2008. He was found to be murdered by Stephen Hash, a family acquaintance. Curtis had disappeared in May 1990, shortly after he reportedly told his parents that Hash had molested him. Thomas Dean Gibson, age 2, disappeared from Glendale, Oregon, in 1991. His picture was featured in at the end of all three U.S. versions of the music video. His father, former Douglas County deputy sheriff Larry Gibson, was convicted of second degree manslaughter in 1995. He was released in 1996 and insists on his innocence. Thomas’ body was never found.
More than twenty years after the release of “Runaway Train”, 26 teenagers and children have been reported to be reunited with their families in the years after being featured in the video. The rest of them are still missing or reportedly dead. You can watch it here.