The Disappearance of Robert
On August 1, 1964, Robert Leon Desmond was last seen in Kennebunk, Maine. At the time of his disappearance, he was staying at the home he shared with his mother, Alice, and stepfather, Chet, on Hovey Street. No one knows what happened to him after that.
Never did his mom and stepdad report him missing. He vanished without a trace, but no one noticed until about a month later, when he failed to show up for the first day of school after the summer holiday. Robert’s parents said they thought he ran away when asked about it. His sisters and brothers heard the same thing.
Robert’s younger sister, Dawn, claims that their household was always “chaotic.” Chet was an alcoholic who, when drunk, acted violently, damaging property and physically abusing others. There had been multiple visits from the police to the residence.
According to Dawn, on the night Robert vanished, Chet was angry because the kids’ beds weren’t made properly. When Dawn’s older sister heard the commotion outside their house that night, she hid her in a closet and urged her not to come out until the yelling ceased. After spending so much time in there, she nodded off. When Dawn awoke, the home was quiet and her sister had escaped via a window using a sheet rope.
The next thing Dawn knew, she was in another bedroom, where she claims to have found a motionless Robert laying on the floor in his underwear. Their mother witnessed what happened and became angry, so she tried to drag him into the closet, but he was too heavy for her. Alice grabbed Dawn by the foot, dragged her down the stairs, past the kitchen, and into the basement, where she put Dawn in a wooden crate. Dawn had dropped Robert and tried to hide under the bed. Dawn shouted out in terror and struggled to free herself from the crate, but she was trapped.
The next morning, she lay in bed, wondering whether her ordeal had all been a nightmare. When Dawn walked downstairs, however, Robert was gone, the front door was open, and Alice exhibited her bag with no money in it. Apparently, Alice informed Dawn that Robert had taken cash from the bag and disappeared. The next thing she did was tell her to start her day off right by eating.
For years after Robert vanished, according to Dawn, no one in the family brought up his name, and pictures of him gradually disappeared from the house. Upon Dawn’s inquiry as to what had transpired, Alice responded, “I don’t know what you believe you know, but you’re mistaken.” Chet flat-out declined to discuss him with anyone. Dawn claimed that the night Robert disappeared was wiped from her memory until she was seventeen years old because the traumatic events of her childhood prevented her from recalling them.
They left the house on Hovey Street where Robert had lived shortly after he vanished. The basement floor of the house was poured with cement in 1968. Authorities began excavating the cement floor in 1976 in an attempt to locate his remains, but all they found were a pair of eyeglasses and some animal bones.
After the search, the missing person’s case file for Robert was closed, archived, and later destroyed because there was no additional evidence to pursue. After some time passed, it was reopened, and a new investigator was put in charge of looking into it.
Although Alice and Chet have passed away, Robert’s three surviving siblings would like to know how he is doing. His case has not been resolved.
- Kennebunk Police Department 207-604-1319
- Maine State Police 207-657-3030