Rose Lena Cole

Rose, circa 1972; Age-progression to age 55 (circa 2011)

  • Missing Since 09/01/1972
  • Missing From Oakland, California
  • Classification Endangered Runaway
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 12/23/1956 (67)
  • Age 15 - 16 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'3 - 5'6, 120 - 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Some agencies spell Rose's middle name "Leanna."

Details of Disappearance

Rose was enrolled in the Synanon Foundation, a drug and alcohol treatment center in Oakland, California, at the time of her disappearance. She had been court-ordered there after running away repeatedly and telling a judge she used and sold drugs.

Accounts of exactly when she went missing vary considerably; it may have been anytime between the fall of 1972 and the summer of 1973.

Rose apparently ran away from the Synanon and sent two letters to her family after leaving, assuring them that she was fine. In one of the letters she said she was living on the streets in the Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco and added that she was sick with a kidney infection.

Rose wrote she would not write to her family again until she was 18, because she was worried the Synanon officials would find her and bring her back to the treatment center against her will.

She promised to contact her loved ones after she became a legal adult. However, Rose's family never heard from her again.

It is worth noting that the Synanon Foundation has often been labeled as a cult. It was founded as a drug rehabilitation program in 1958 and became an alternative community by the 1960s and a church by the 1970s.

Participants were expected to turn all of their assets over to the group and join the community for life. Those who left the group were often persecuted and even beaten as a result. The IRS shut the Synanon Foundation down in 1989.

There is no evidence that a crime was committed in Rose's disappearance; her case is classified as a simple runaway. However, it is highly unusual for a runaway to be out of touch with her loved ones for this long, and her relatives would like to get in contact with her and verify her well-being. Her case remains unsolved.

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 28, 2012; age-progression updated.