Ronald Henry Tammen Jr.

Tammen, circa 1953

  • Missing Since 04/19/1953
  • Missing From Oxford, Ohio
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 07/23/1933 (85)
  • Age 19 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'9 - 5'10, 175 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Dark brown hair, brown eyes. Tammen had a muscular build in 1953. His blood type is O-positive. One of his front teeth slightly overlaps the other tooth, and he has an acquired deformity of the ear called "cauliflower ear."

Details of Disappearance

Tammen was last seen in old Fisher Hall, a former Victorian mental asylum converted to a dormitory at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio on April 19, 1953. He was a resident hall advisor at Fisher Hall, and lived in room 225. At 8:00 p.m., he requested new bedsheets because someone had put a dead fish in his bed.

Sometime around 8:30 p.m., Tammen apparently heard something outside his room that disturbed him, and went out into the hallway to investigate. He never returned.

His roommate came in at 10:00 p.m. and found him gone. The roommate originally assumed Tammen was spending the night at his Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, and did not report his disappearance until the next day.

There is no indication that Tammen left of his own accord. His clothes, car keys, wallet, identification, watch, high school class ring and other personal items were left behind in his dormitory room, and he also left the lights on, the radio playing, and a psychology textbook lying open on his desk. Curiously, he had actually dropped his psychology course three weeks earlier.

His gold 1938 Chevrolet sedan was not taken from its place in the school parking lot, he left his bass fiddle in the back seat of the car, and he left behind $200 in his bank account. He is believed to have had no more than $10 to $15 on his person the night he disappeared, and was not wearing a coat.

However, authorities have not found any indication of foul play in Tammen's disappearance either. They do not believe he could have been forcibly abducted, as he was large enough and strong enough to defend himself against most attackers.

They theorized that he could have developed amnesia and wandered away, but if that was the case he should have been found relatively quickly.

A woman living outside of Oxford, twelve miles east of the Miami University campus, claims that a young man came to her door at 11:00 p.m. the evening Tammen disappeared and asked what town he was in. Then he asked directions to the bus stop, which she gave him, and he left.

However, the bus line had suspended its midnight run, so he could not have gotten on a bus. The witness says the man she spoke to was disheveled and dirty and appeared upset and confused. He was not wearing a coat or hat, although it was a cold night and there was snow on the ground. He was apparently on foot, since the woman did not see or hear a car.

The man matched the physical description of Tammen and was wearing similar clothes, but it has not been confirmed that they were the same person, and Tammen's brother stated he did not believe the man the witness saw was Tammen.

Five months to the day before Tammen vanished, he went to the Butler County Coroner's office in Hamilton, Ohio and asked for a test to have his blood typed. The coroner claims that this was the only such request he ever got in 35 years of practice.

It's unknown why Tammen wanted the test done and why he did not have it conducted in Oxford, where local physicians or the university hospital could have typed his blood for him. He was scheduled for a physical examination by the Selective Service for induction into the army, but inductees did not need to know their blood type in advance of the physical.

Tammen's parents, who lived in the 21000 block of Hillgrove Avenue in Maple Heights, Ohio in 1953, last saw him a week before he disappeared and say he did not appear to be troubled by anything at the time. He was on the varsity wrestling team in college, played in the school dance band, and was a business major and a good student. He dated at the time that he vanished but did not have a steady girlfriend.

Jennifer Wenger, a Miami University alumnus, began researching the Tammen case in 2010 and spent nine years trying to solve his case. She doesn't think Tammen died around the time of his disappearance and thinks he lived for an extended period, perhaps as long as 42 years, which would place his death sometime in 1995.

She bases this conclusion on the fact that the FBI discarded Tammen's fingerprint records in 2002; regulations allow them to destroy fingerprint records seven years after a person's death. Wenger believes Tammen's psychology professor was involved with the CIA and that Tammen may have been recruited into the agency.

In the decades after Tammen's disappearance, students at Miami University claimed his ghost haunted Fisher Hall. His parents are now deceased. Fisher Hall was torn down in 1978 and an extensive search was conducted in the rubble for Tammen's remains, but no evidence was located.

His youngest two siblings are still alive and hope for answers in his case. His disappearance remains unsolved.

Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 23, 2019; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.