Fans Are Obsessed With 'Missing: Dead or Alive' — Are the Cases Real?


May 26 2023, Updated 10:38 a.m. ET

Two female sheriffs deputies on 'Missing: Dead or Alive'
Source: Netflix

Viewers are buzzing about the Netflix true crime series Missing: Dead or Alive. The docuseries follows a series of missing persons investigations in South Carolina, and the stories are so compelling that many folks are wondering whether the series is real or staged.

The series, which is just four episodes long, follows investigators as they dive into the cases of Lorraine Garcia, Amirah Watson, David Taylor, and Sierra Stevens in recent years.

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Is 'Missing: Dead or Alive' on Netflix real?

All of the cases depicted in Missing: Dead or Alive are real cases that occurred in South Carolina between 2019 and 2021. Each of the cases was investigated by the Missing Persons Unit in the Richland County Sheriff's Department. The filmmakers behind the series were embedded with the officers for three full years, with a brief break following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tony Garcia in 'Missing: Dead or Alive.'
Source: Netflix
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The show follows Vicki Rains, JP Smith, and Heidi Jackson, three investigators who meticulously look at the evidence involved in every investigation. The show even delves into some of these investigators' home lives. Most crucially, though, the investigations in the series are real and showcase the work that police do every day. It's a little bit like Cops, but with a much more coherent narrative focus.

There's plenty of real footage throughout the series.

Given how embedded the creative team behind Missing: Dead or Alive was with this particular sheriff's department, it seems likely that they have a lot of footage that was ultimately discarded in favor of the four cases we actually watched from start to finish.

That curation likely helped the filmmakers narrow in on the cases that were the most interesting, at least to them, and it also means that every case we watch comes to a different conclusion.

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SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers for Missing: Dead or Alive below.

Lorraine Garcia, the missing person at the center of the first investigation, went into hiding in order to escape the behavior of her volatile son. She is alive and well, but asked the show to maintain the secrecy of her location so that her son doesn't find her.

Amirah Watson, the 10-year-old girl at the heart of the second investigation, was abducted by her mother. Her mother was ultimately arrested and Amirah was returned safely to her father.

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The third episode follows the disappearance of David Taylor, whose truck was found on the side of the highway just after he won $10,000 in the lottery. He was found in a wooded area near the highway with no wounds, having died of hypothermia. It's suspected that he was high and experienced a state of psychosis as a result.

In the final episode, Sierra Stevens is reported missing, but never actually was. She stayed over at a friend's house without telling her foster family, which led to the police involvement. Thankfully, this case comes to a more happy resolution than some of the others in the series.

Is there a 'Missing: Dead or Alive' Season 2?

Netflix has yet to announce if it will renew ​​Missing: Dead or Alive for a second season. While there is hope it could happen, it seems unlikely considering Rotten Tomato’s audience score for Season 1 was a mere 46 percent. Of course, that score is based on fewer than 50 ratings, so take it with a grain of salt.

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