Robert Leon Desmond

Robert, circa 1964

  • Missing Since 08/01/1964
  • Missing From Kennebunk, Maine
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 08/21/1953 (69)
  • Age 10 years
  • Height and Weight 4'3, 70 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Black hair, brown eyes. Robert's nickname is Bobby.

Details of Disappearance

Robert was last seen in Kennebunk, Maine on August 1, 1964. He lived with his mother, Alice, and stepfather, Chet, on Hovey Street at the time of his disappearance. He has never been heard from again.

His mother and stepfather never reported him missing. It wasn't until about a month later, when he failed to return to class after the summer break, that anyone realized he had disappeared. When asked, Robert's parents stated they believed their son had run away. They told the same thing to his siblings.

According to Robert's younger sister, Dawn, their family life was "chaotic". Chet drank and would become violent, breaking furniture and assaulting people when he was intoxicated. The police had been to the home on numerous occasions.

Dawn stated that on the night of Robert's disappearance, Chet got upset because the children's beds hadn't been made correctly. That night, Dawn's older sister hid her in a bedroom closet and told her not to come out until the screaming had stopped. She was in the closet so long that eventually she fell asleep. When she woke up, everything was quiet and Dawn's sister had fled the house via the window, using a rope made out of a sheet.

Dawn said she then went to another bedroom and saw Robert lying on the floor, dressed only in underwear and not moving. She tried to drag him into the closet, but he was too heavy for her, and their mother saw and got angry. Dawn dropped Robert and hid under a bed, but Alice pulled her out by her foot and dragged her by the foot down the stairs, through the kitchen and into the basement, where she locked Dawn in a wooden crate. Dawn screamed, cried and tried to break out of the crate, but wasn't able to.

When she woke up in the morning she was in bed and wondered if the whole thing had been a bad dream. However, when Dawn went downstairs, Alice showed her her purse and said money was missing from it, the front door was open, and Robert was gone. Alice told Dawn that Robert had stolen money from the purse and run away. She then told her to eat her breakfast.

Dawn said no one spoke about Robert for years after his disappearance, and photos of him began to disappear from the family's home. At one point Dawn asked Alice what had happened to him, and Alice replied, "I don't know what you think you know, but you're wrong." Chet refused to speak about him at all. Dawn said she was so traumatized by her childhood that she didn't remember the night of Robert's diasppearance until she was seventeen years old.

Shortly after his disappearance, Robert's family moved out of the Hovey Street house. The house's basement floor was cemented over in 1968. In 1976, authorities dug up the cement floor, looking for his body, but the search turned up only a pair of eyeglasses and some animal bones.

There wasn't any further investigative activity after the search, and eventually Robert's missing persons casefile was closed, archived and destroyed. It has since been re-opened and a new detective has been assigned to investigate the case.

Alice and Chet are both deceased, but Robert's three siblings are still alive and would like to learn his fate. His case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Kennebunk Police Department 207-604-1319
  • Maine State Police 207-657-3030

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 4, 2022; details of disappearance updated.