Kenneth Lee Gautier

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Above Images: Gautier, circa 1975

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: June 26, 1975 from Ruskin, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: April 8, 1955
  • Age: 20 years old
  • Height and Weight: 6'0, 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Gautier's family calls him by his middle name, Lee, and his friends call him by his nickname, Kenny. His three of his right fingers are missing and his right hand has multiple scars; he lost his fingers when a firecracker went off in his hand when he was seventeen. Gautier also previously broke his back in a car accident. His hair was long at the time of his disappearance.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Gautier was last seen in Bradenton, Florida on June 26, 1975. He had left his family's Commack, New York home and traveled to Ruskin, Florida to visit an uncle. At the time of his disappearance, he was living with a couple of young male roommates in Bradenton. He was visiting his uncle in Ruskin, Florida at the time of his disappearance. He has never been heard from again. He was driving a green Karmann Ghia when he disappeared.

    Gautier's family can't think of any reason why he would have wanted to walk out of his life. He spoke to his mother on the phone shortly before he disappeared and their conversation was normal. He had talked about going on a tour through the western U.S. and at first his family thought he might have simply left to take the trip, but they reconsidered this theory after months and years passed without their having heard from him. His roommates said they had no idea what happened to him.

    In mid-April 1981, someone calling himself "Lee Gautier" called Gautier's parents collect at their New York home at 4:30 p.m. "Lee Gautier" was the name Gautier's family called him. His mother answered the phone and agreed to accept the charges, but the caller hung up before they could be connected. The call was traced to a pay phone in Daytona Beach, Florida. Almost a month later, Gautier's parents got another call from a person claiming to be "Lee Gautier", and again the caller hung up before they could be connected. This call was traced to the cellblock in the Orange County Jail in Orlando, Florida. There was no inmate in the jail listed under the name of Lee Gautier or Kenneth Lee Gautier, and the jail staff were unable to determine who placed the call.

    In response to the calls, Gautier's brother flew to Florida, searched for Gautier among Daytona Beach's transient population, and put up posters asking him to call home. One witness thought she recognized Gautier from photographs; she said she'd seen a man who looked like him shooting pool in a local bar. The man she'd seen was missing fingers from his right hand, like Gautier. However, Gautier's brother's search was ultimately fruitless, and the person or persons who called his parents in 1981 has never been identified.

    Gautier's case remains unsolved; there's been no confirmed sign of his whereabouts since 1975.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    813-247-0557

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    Source Information
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    NamUs
    The Orlando Sentinel

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated June 24, 2017; casefile added.

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