Key Sources

By Amelia Carpenter

Smith has spoken with Marcia Tammen regarding her brother’s cold case.

“She believes her brother is alive,” Smith said. “He did not meet with any kind of foul play. And she honestly believes it probably was an issue of either he didn’t want to enter the military during the Korean war, or that he actually did enter the military.”

The height of the Korean War was 1953, a time when the CIA was actively involved in recruiting individuals at universities, according to Smith.

“(They are) a very patriotic family,” Smith said. “Almost all his brothers served in the military and his father (was) a veteran.”

Smith said he went back and spoke with all the living people that resided in Fisher Hall when Tammen disappeared.

“That was one of the most important things that we actually did do,” Smith said.

Smith interviewed the man who lived one door down from Tammen ­— the last person to see him before he vanished. The two boys were studying for an exam when Tammen went to his own room to start studying for a history exam, according to the man, who now lives in Georgia. The man said he used the restroom, and when he came out, Tammen was gone. The man told Smith that nothing seemed wrong and Tammen didn’t display that he was leaving or was being forced to leave.

Mrs. Carl Spivey, a Seven Mile resident who told law enforcement she had an individual come to her door the night Tammen disappeared who looked disheveled and asked where the closest bus stop was located. Smith tracked down Spivey’s son, who recalled the night very vividly.

“From an investigative standpoint, we do not believe that was Ronald Tammen,” Smith said.

Smith suggested the individual was having car trouble and knocked on the Spiveys’ door.

Fisher Hall residents at the time of Tammen’s disappearance all said the same thing; Tammen was well liked, and dating a girl at the University of Indiana.

“He had everything, came from a good family, there were no money issues, part of a very popular jazz band in the 50s, wrestling, his GPA was good, (he had) everything going for him,” Smith said. “(Tammen had) no enemies whatsoever in all the people we’ve talked to.”

Smith has formed an opinion based on his extensive investigation.

“My personal opinion is that this is not an act of violence,” Smith said. “I personally believe that he did leave that night on his own free will and accord.”

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