Joseph Louis Santi

Santi, circa 1977

  • Missing Since 01/22/1977
  • Missing From Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 04/20/1922 (98)
  • Age 54 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5 - 6'1, 160 - 190 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Graying brown hair, brown eyes. Santi's nickname is Joe. He had a mustache at the time of his disappearance.

Details of Disappearance

Santi was last seen in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 22, 1977. The day before his disappearance he had gone to a tavern with a friend, because he wanted to buy $100,000 in coins at a discount from a stranger, and wanted his friend to appraise the coins. Santi had the bartender call the coin dealer, but the person never showed up, and Santi's friend told him, "I think you're being set up." Later that night, Santi called his friend and said the coin sale was back on. His friend told him to be careful. He has never been heard from again.

Several of his relatives, including his estranged wife, came to his apartment in the 80 block of 300 North looking for him after he missed an appointment with a friend, but he was nowhere to be found. At the apartment, Santi's shoes were sitting in front of the couch, and on the coffee table was an ashtray with a cigarette butt in it. He didn't smoke. $10,000 in cash and a case of jewelry were missing, but he left behind his watch, and his three vehicles were still parked outside.

He was known as a wealthy, prominent businessman in the area: he was a managing partner in the Royal Inn in the 200 block of south West Temple in Salt Lake City and owned the theater in Price, and made money in uranium mining, property developments, and jewelry. However, he was deep in debt and living beyond his means, his creditors were demanding payment and he was being investigated by the IRS. He had allegedly embezzled about $300,000 from the Royal Inn, and he was supposed to testify against his brother and others in a multimillion dollar stock scam in California. There was speculation that he left the country, but evidence to support this theory.

Foul play is suspected in his case. His wife, from whom he had been separated for about six months by January 1977, suggested he had been kidnapped and murdered. Seventeen months after he was last seen, he was declared legally dead.

Since Santi's disappearance his wife and daughter have both died. One of his childhood friends is still alive, however, and hopes for answers in his case. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Salt Lake City Police Department 801-799-3000

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated November 16, 2020; picture added, details of disappearance updated.