Fifty-Eight Years Ago, Today

By Amelia Carpenter

OXFORD, Ohio — Almost exactly 58 years and 12 hours ago today, Ronald Henry Tammen, Jr. went missing from his room in Fisher Hall at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio – almost without a trace.

Then, Tammen was a 19-year-old sophomore from Maple Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He was a varsity wrestler, a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the ROTC, a bassist in The Campus Owls jazz band and a resident adviser in his hall. His brother, Richard Tammen, was a first-year student at the time of his disappearance, and was killed in an apartment fire some years ago. Tammen’s sister, Marcia, is his only surviving family member today.

Tammen was studying the evening of April 19, 1953 in Fisher Hall, and was last seen around 8:30 p.m. by the dorm mother, who exchanged his dirty sheets for clean linens. (His sheets were supposedly dirty from a dead fish – a prank that a fellow resident pulled on Tammen).

Tammen’s roommate, Charles Findlay, returned to their room that evening to the radio playing on Tammen’s desk with the light on, psychology book open and his belongings (wallet and car keys included) left behind. Findlay did not know at the time that his roommate would not return that night.

It is speculated that Tammen ran from the draft, his ‘pregnant girlfriend’ or more likely so was assisted in leaving Miami University April 19, 1953. Following his disappearance, a local woman claimed Tammen showed up at her door later that evening looking confused and disoriented. Butler County Cold Case Detective Frank Smith believes her report is unlikely. Some suggested Tammen had amnesia, but experts say it is also unlikely.

The cold case of Ronald Henry Tammen, Jr.’s disappearance was reopened in 2008 after a decomposed body was found along US-27 in Georgia that was thought to be Tammen. DNA testing proved otherwise.

This story will be updated. Photos courtesy of Lane Public Library in Oxford, Ohio.

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