Robert Albert Ahtonen

Ahtonen at age 17 (circa 1967, about 13 years before his disappearance; more recent photos are unavailable); Sketch of Ahtonen as he appeared at the time of his 1980 disappearance; Age-progression to age 53 (circa 2002)

  • Missing Since 01/21/1980
  • Missing From Newberry, Michigan
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 12/14/1949 (74)
  • Age 30 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'8 - 5'11, 135 - 150 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A gold-tone watch.
  • Medical Conditions Ahtonen has been diagnosed with epilepsy, an organic brain disease, and mild chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia, and needs medication to control his seizures. He is also mentally disabled, with an IQ of 67. He functions at the level of a seven- to eight-year-old and cannot care for himself. He talks to imaginary persons and has difficulty following directions.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Sandy brown hair, blue eyes. Ahtonen's teeth are severely crooked and overcrowded, and he has a double set of eyeteeth which protrude outwards. His left hand has previously been fractured and he has scars on both pinky fingers.

Details of Disappearance

Ahtonen was a patient at Newberry Regional Mental Facility in 1980. His aunt was going to pick him up for a home visit on January 21, but was delayed by a snowstorm. When the storm subsided and she arrived at the facility, she discovered that Ahtonen had walked off the grounds during the blizzard and not returned.

The staff at the facility realized he was missing at 4:00 p.m. when they were supposed to give him his medication, but they didn't notify police until 7:30 p.m. He has never been heard from again. Temperatures in the area dropped to 11 degrees that night.

Ahtonen was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended public school through the eighth grade. He exhibited behavior problems from a young age, which worsened after his mother's death in 1966. When he was seventeen, his father was killed in a car accident, and for three months he lived alone in a cabin adjacent to his aunt's home, but he was unable to function on his own, and his extended family couldn't care for him. In the years following his father's death he stayed in various state mental health facilities and group homes.

His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Marquette County Sheriff's Office 906-225-8435

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 9, 2017; medical conditions and details of disappearance updated.