OH OH - Ronald Tammen, 19, Oxford, 19 April 1953

Discussion in 'Pre-1960's Missing' started by Richard, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. JerseyGirl

    JerseyGirl Staff Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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    still missing:

    Ronald Tammen is Butler County’s oldest missing person case. The Miami University student walked away from campus on April 19, 1953, leaving behind his possessions. In 2008, sheriff’s detectives in Butler County believed they had found the remains of Tammen, who has become an urban legend in Oxford known as the ghost of Fisher Hall.

    DNA from Tammen’s sister in Cleveland was tested with the remains of a badly decomposed body found in June 1953 in Walnut Grove, Ga., near Lafayette. The DNA was not a match and Tammen continues to be a missing person.

    http://www.journal-news.com/news/ne...y-missing-persons-cases-continue-to-ha/nq6LY/
     


  2. jpo74

    jpo74 Well-Known Member

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    hope and pray one day he will be found. :please:
     
  3. Becki

    Becki New Member

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    I have read on this thread that the Coroner that Ronald visited came forward 20 years later. Why would the Coroner wait so long, and did the Coroner have proof (A Mecical Record or Form) that it was actually Ronald?
     
  4. Magnum P.E.

    Magnum P.E. Active Member

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    This sounds to me like a pledge class kidnapping of a fraternity brother gone tragically wrong when the temperature dropped to life threatening levels. It is the kind of thing they would take an oath of silence for, and keep it unto death. I was once president of a fraternity at a large university.

    Would be interesting to see how many of the spring pledge class of Tammen's fraternity are still alive. They would be very old now.
     
  5. spikeelvis

    spikeelvis Member

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    Magnum P.E. that really make sense. My fraternity did the same thing. I was dumped in the middle of nowhere more then once. The frat members would do it to the pledges and the pledges would try to catch the members and do it to them too. Up in Marquette, Michigan we called that "bagging" someone. I could see a situation like this turning bad quickly.
     
  6. Grainne Dhu

    Grainne Dhu Active Member

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    That is what I've thought all along.

    His fraternity brothers would be over 80 years old now. Back in 2008, when there was an unidentified body that was DNA tested and found not to be a match with Ron Tammen's sister Marcia, she was his only immediate family member still alive. She told a reporter that she still thought about Ron and wished she knew what had happened to him. I've often wondered if someone tracked down all the men who were in fraternities at Miami University in 1953 (not just Ron Tammen's fraternity) and interviewed them, showed them the old photos of Ron and some current photos of Marcia, perhaps someone would finally give some indication out of empathy for his sister's lifelong pain. What would be even better is if the current governor of Ohio would issue a general pardon for anyone implicated in Ron's disappearance, so potential witnesses would have nothing to lose by telling the truth; as anyone implicated would be over 80 years old, how great a danger to society could they be? Even (or maybe especially) if that person were not directly involved but heard rumours about what really happened to Ron Tammen, the case might be finally closed.

    I've also thought the blood typing incident was related to Ron's fraternity membership. Back then, there was no DNA paternity testing, all they had was blood types. If an unmarried woman claimed her boyfriend was the father in a paternity case, one ploy that was too often successful was for the father to produce one or more other men of the same blood type who swore they'd had sex with the mother around the time of conception. It worked because back then, most judges placed more weight on the effect of paternity on a young man's future than they weighted the future of an infant, as well as a strong element of slut shaming. The woman could claim that the other men were liars but it was often assumed that since no "good girl" would have extramarital sex, her veracity was already in question. Of course, if that was the plan, it wouldn't do for a bunch of young men to go to the same local doctor all asking for their blood type. They'd go out of town for it, each one to a different doctor.
     
  7. DD Byrd

    DD Byrd Active Member

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    Hazing gone wrong makes the most sense, but there may be more to the story if the coroner waited that long to come forward. That doesn't follow in a missing person's case...the coroner would have at least gone to LE with the information, even if he (and LE) then chose not to go public.

    Also, most of these accounts state variously that Tammen "heard something and went to investigate," or was "disturbed by something outside." Says who? It's never mentioned why this is considered fact; from all accounts he didn't leave a note saying "hey roomie, stepping out to check on a noise, be right back..." so why is it felt he heard something?
     
  8. dogperson

    dogperson Active Member

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    I too wonder why they thought he heard a noise unless he told someone he was going outside to investigate. Or if he was with someone when he heard a noise. Sounds like maybe that's some information from someone who might have been involved in a prank on him. Could they maybe have been throwing things at his window to get him to go outside, where they then grabbed him and took him out someplace and left him? There's always the possibility that this was more than a prank, that someone had it in for him for some reason, but a hazing gone wrong is a good theory.

    If this was a case of them taking him out in the cold and abandoning him to find his way back, they likely don't know where his body is. He could have wandered into an area where he will never be found. They could provide LE with the general location of where they set him out in the cold, but after that he could have gone anywhere.
     
  9. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

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    Yes when I started hs in 1960, the main "initiation" for Freshmen was what was called dumping. It involved taking a Freshman boy usually 7 or 8 miles out of town then forcing him out of the car in some desolate area to walk back to town, sometimes after dark. I wonder if the upper classmen knew what they were doing was actually kidnapping which was a crime that carried a potential death penalty. Luckily, everyone made it back. I kept a low profile so I was never dumped although I was threatened with it once. When I became an upper classman I was never involved with any initiation and in fact the practice had become almost nonexistant by then.
     
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  10. Grainne Dhu

    Grainne Dhu Active Member

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    I wonder if the "he heard a sound" story started out as some investigator's theory as to why he left his room and then it evolved to "well, he must have heard a sound" and finally to "he heard a sound."
     
  11. Ozoner

    Ozoner Well-Known Member

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    According to an earlier post in the thread, the story of his having heard a noise came from a psychic.

    I consider #3 & #4 extreme long shots absent additional evidence, but #1 & #2 are real possibilities, with death in a remote location from either exposure or head trauma being the ultimate result.
    -
    It is also possible that he was abducted and roughed up as a warning rather than as a prank. I believe the old woman's i.d. of Tammen to be credible, so if Tammen was abducted, he may have gotten away, and the dirt on his cheek may have been from a scuffle. Whatever led to the abduction might have made him hesitant to make a police report.
     
  12. Austin023

    Austin023 New Member

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    This case is so bizarre! I have long been fascinated by it, too.

    The glaring problem is of course Ronald Tammen did not fit the usual "profile" of a runaway or one that would be at higher risk for being abducted/murdered. He had an apparently stable home life, wasnt known to be involved in any of the usual high risk activities often associated with those who are killed/go missing non-voluntarily--he didn't see to have any major strains in his life, either--that we know of.

    I really do not see Ron running away of his own accord and there just is no evidence to suggest that, either. The fact all of his personal belongings were found in his dorm room, with the lights on and radio playing suggests he intended to be back momentarily---perhaps a trip to the restroom or a friends room down the hall?

    While some have made light of the missing pillowcase, I think it was a result of him not putting it on after he changed the sheets (due to the dead fish in his bed, he got a change of sheets about an hour before he was discovered missing). I do wonder if the old sheets were found? (or did he perhaps make another trip downstairs to return the soiled sheets for washing?).....if say someone came in and used a pillowcase to put over Ron's head, as some here theorized---wouldn't they bring their own? That would seem like a much more logical action--I think the missing case is simply due to his action of charging the sheet set. The dead fish is curious though---a prank, or it could had been a sign of a threat or message.

    As for Ron visiting the local coroner to get his blood typed---the coroner later stated, in the 1976 interview, that was the only time in his 35 years of being coroner he ever had a request like that from a student. (Normally, a student could have this done on campus, so going out of his way is odd). I wonder if perhaps Ron wanted an official record on file of his blood type in case anything happened to him--perhaps he knew even months ahead of time, in late 1952 that he might be in danger.

    The early 1950s were an odd time in our country, the start of the Cold War---this case is reminiscent of the Richard Colvin Cox disappearance from West Point in early 1950, though I do think the reasons for each of the disappearances is different. (In the case of Cox, there is good evidence of government involvement due to his war-time work in intelligence).
    Also, the very bizarre 1946 murder (or suicide, as officially recorded) of Harold "Buddy" Vest in Gainsville, Texas also comes to mind--good evidence of government involvement in his death because of his war-time intelligence work done overseas. There was a lot of fallout in the years immediately following the second World War, especially where it came to foreign intelligence.

    However---Ron Tammen possessed no military experience or knowledge, and he was only nineteen years old in April, 1953 (born July 23, 1933) and thus far too young to had served in the war--his father Ron, Sr. was born Sept 26, 1907 (died Jan. 17, 1995) and would likewise, did not serve during WWII or Korea. I do think Ron was killed either that night or very soon after, either a case of mistaken identity or due to some reason we are unaware of. I don't really see a prank gone wrong as that surly would had been uncovered eventually. Whoever did this knew what they were doing in making him disappear.
     
  13. dogperson

    dogperson Active Member

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    The dead fish could have been a prank or hazing or something more sinister like a death threat. If I were one of his schoolmates and had taken part in hazing him and setting him out someplace, and he never came back, I think I'd take it to my grave. Anyone involved could still be charged with murder because there's no statute of limitations, unless of course there was at the time, in which case the laws on the books at the time would apply. I can see 2-3 fraternity guys keeping their mouths shut all this time out of fear of prosecution, plus they could even be deceased by now themselves.
     
  14. Austin023

    Austin023 New Member

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    Here are links to the 1976 interviews, part of a TV program on the case. It shows the old Fisher Hall, where Tammen lived. Fisher Hall was torn down in 1978, the site now occupied by the university's conference center. A number of now long-deceased people who were part of the original investigation or tied to the case, including the father Ron Tammen, Sr. (1907-1995), are interviewed.

    [video=youtube;tyJuLtshonI]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyJuLtshonI[/video] (part1/2)



    As for the dead fish in the bed, I have wondered if it was actually some sort of threat. It appears as though nobody ever came forward or admitted putting it there or had any knowledge of it. I can't really see a bunch of frat guys being able to not just make Ron disappear with no trace and not be found after 60 years, but to never reveal any clues or make any admissions.

    The original police investigation was sorely lacking and that wasted crucial time early on.
     
  15. dogperson

    dogperson Active Member

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    I like the idea someone put forth earlier in the thread that maybe he went for the blood typing so another guy could use his test results to deny paternity. He could have done it as a favor or under the duress of it being part of the requirement to join a fraternity.

    I think the only way the guys could have pulled off his disappearance is probably if it were accidental. As cold as it was, if he was out wandering in the dark without proper clothing, he could have developed hypothermia. And if he did that, it's hard to say where he ended up, because it can cause a person to behave illogically. He may have burrowed under leaves in the woods or who knows where.
     
  16. Grainne Dhu

    Grainne Dhu Active Member

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    I believe I am the person who hypothesises that Ron Tammen got his blood typed so that someone else could use his results to cast doubt in a paternity case. It was, according to my late mama, a fairly common ploy for a young man who got an unmarried woman pregnant to eel his way out of paternity by producing other men who were willing to swear they'd had sex with the woman. Many judges assumed that an unmarried woman who demonstrably had sex before marriage was more likely to have had sex with multiple men and then to lie about it out of embarrassment. All the real father had to do was find one or more men of his own blood type willing to testify. As a fraternity pledge, Ron Tammen would be expected to support his frat brothers, some of whom may have been willing to indulge in shady conduct.

    I agree with you on the accident theory. If a small group of students, perhaps or probably fellow Greeks, dumped him out in the boonies as a joke, they may have all kept silent when Ron never showed up again. There was a cold case solved several years back that was somewhat similar to this hypothesis, where a group of 4 teens were drinking, one of them went into a drunken rage and beat another teen, Walter Ackerson Jr to death or very close to it, and then the 3 teens threw his body off a bridge. Walter's body was never found. The three teens kept the secret for 20 years.

    The cold case was solved when a police officer happened to look at the cold case file and saw some huge deficits in the police investigation. He re-interviewed the witnesses and got nowhere. But then one of the three went into treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse, confessed to his parole officer and the parole officer called police.

    Walter Ackerson Jr

    If Ron's death were an accident with no single person clearly responsible as in Walter's case, I think it would be easier for the group to just stay silent.

    As to where Ron's remains are, well... I live out in the country and there is a wooded erosion control strip along the creek at the back of my property. There could be a dozen bodies out there for all I know because I've never gone in there. For one thing, it is infested with poison ivy and for another, I really don't have any reason to go back there. There are trees in that strip that undoubtedly pre-date my house, which was built in 1921, judging from their size and trunks.
     
  17. Austin023

    Austin023 New Member

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    Another tidbit I should add to this is the fact the body of an unknown man was exhumed from a grave in Georgia back around 2008, which had been found back in the summer of 1953. When initially found, it was already decomposing to the point the face was no longer recognizable and fingerprints could not be taken.

    Otherwise, the general height and approximate (surmised) age of the unknown man was promising to be that of Tammen, so it was exhumed. Unfortunately, little was left to work with, largely due to the high-acid red-clay soil the body had been interred in some fifty-five years earlier: remains of the body-bag and only portions of the long bones and some teeth were all that remaind.

    Here are links to a couple of articles on this:
    http://www.cleveland.com/whateverhappened/index.ssf/2008/02/body_in_georgia_is_exhumed_in.html

    http://www.chattanoogan.com/2008/6/20/130149/Exhumed-Body-Is-Not-Missing-Ohio-Student.aspx


    However, enough viable DNA was extracted from the remains and this was compared with DNA from the Tammen family, with no match. I wanted to put that part to rest.
     
  18. liz b.

    liz b. Well-Known Member

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    Possibly was a threat or some type of message. Didn't Ronald play in a band. ? In clubs around Cleveland ? He may have seen something go down that he shouldn't have seen. jmo
     
  19. Mom24

    Mom24 Well-Known Member

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    Was the pillowcase ever found? and they assumed amnesia because there had been other cases of it, why? Why were people suddenly contracting amnesia? What did the fish in the bed mean? And what was he doing in the months before his disappearance? also, there is a tunnel that runs from that dorm to another, was it ever checked?
     
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  20. Grainne Dhu

    Grainne Dhu Active Member

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    From what I can gather, amnesia is a fairly rare condition and always has been. But it is often put forth as a theory when a person goes missing if there is no obvious evidence found of foul play. I think it is emotionally easier for someone to think that their loved one has suffered from amnesia than it is to think that their loved one deliberately walked out of their life or that their loved one has died.

    For at least some people, it is so hard to accept that their loved one might be dead that they come up with very unrealistic theories about the disappearance.

    For example, there is a river that runs through my home town that has a dam across it and a double bridge that is located just barely on the upstream side of the dam. It's not a huge dam but the force of the water going over it is incredible. There is certainly no way that a human being can survive being washed over the dam, the force of the water holds the body down to the riverbed until the body gains enough buoyancy from decomposition to start to rise, at which time the current pushes the body downstream (someone goes over the dam once or twice every decade, so it is well known what happens).

    In the case I am thinking of, a young man who had been drinking (probably a lot) was walking on the bridge that carries westbound traffic when he saw some friends on the other bridge that carries eastbound traffic. They stopped to greet one another and he decided he wanted to join their party, Rather than walk to the end of the bridge to join them, he decided to climb up onto the rail and just jump to the other bridge. Unfortunately, there is an optical effect with the two bridges that makes it appear the railings on each bridge are only two or three feet apart when the reality is that the railings are close to 12 feet apart. His friends tried to stop him but he climbed up on the rail and attempted the jump. He fell between the two railings into the river and was immediately washed over the dam. His body wasn't recovered for close to three weeks, about six miles downstream of the dam.

    During the three weeks before his body was found, his family could not accept that their son had drowned, despite the eyewitness testimony of his friends. They thought he hadn't really fallen in the river or that somehow he had caught himself on one of the bridge pilings and somehow made his way to shore without any human assistance and was wandering in an amnesiac state due to head trauma. And then they accused the friends of making up the whole story or being mistaken about who they saw that night. Their theory was that he hadn't been there at all but had sustained some sort of head injury and was wandering around somewhere outside of town (to explain why he had not been sighted in town at all).

    To an outsider, the family's theories were just not realistic or even possible in any way. But for them, it was much less traumatic to think their son was wandering around with a head injury than to think he had drowned and all they could do was wait for his body to eventually be washed downstream where it could be found.
     
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