Robert Albert Ahtonen

1 AP 1 AP 2
Left: Ahtonen at age 17
(circa 1967, about 13 years before his disappearance; more recent photos are unavailable);
Center: Sketch of Ahtonen as he appeared at the time of his 1980 disappearance;
Right: Age-progression to age 53 (circa 2002)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 21, 1980 from Newberry, Michigan
  • Classification: Lost/Injured Missing
  • Date of Birth: December 14, 1949
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'8 - 5'11, 135 - 150 pounds
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    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.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Marquette County Sheriff's Office
    906-225-8435

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    Source Information
    The Doe Network
    Michigan Does
    NamUs
    The Green Bay Press-Gazette

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated March 9, 2017; medical conditions and details of disappearance updated.

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