The Story Behind Miami’s Biggest Mystery

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The Story Behind Miami’s Biggest Mystery

Ron Tammen disappeared from his room in Old Fisher Hall, a dorm that was once the site of Oxford College for Women, on the evening of April 19, 1953. 

On the surface, Ronald Henry Tammen, Jr. appeared to be a typical college student of his day. A sophomore RA, he played string bass in the Campus Owls, the University dance band; belonged to Delta Tau Delta fraternity; and was a member of the wrestling team. At approximately 8:00 Sunday evening, April 19, 1953, Tammen left his Fisher Hall room to get new bed sheets from the Hall manager because someone had put a fish in his bed. Tammen took the sheets and returned to his dorm room to study psychology. It was the last time he was definitely seen alive. Sometime around 8:30 p.m., Tammen apparently heard something outside his room that disturbed him, and went out into the hallway to investigate. He never returned.

At 10:30 p.m., Tammen's roommate returned to find Tammen's clothes, car keys, wallet, identification, watch, high school class ring and other personal items were left behind in his dormitory room, and he also found the lights on, the radio playing and a psychology book laying open on Tammen's desk. The roommate didn't think anything of it; he assumed that Tammen had decided to spend the night in the Delta Tau Delta house. It was only when Tammen failed to return the following day that the roommate became worried and a search for the missing student was begun.

His gold 1938 Chevrolet sedan was not taken from its place in the school parking lot, he left his bass fiddle in the back seat of the car, and he left behind $200 in his bank account. Tammen is believed to have had no more than $10 to $15 on his person the night he disappeared, and was not wearing a coat. However, authorities have not found any indication of foul play in Tammen's disappearance either. They do not believe he could have been forcibly abducted, as he was large enough and strong enough to defend himself against most attackers. They theorize that he could have developed amnesia and wandered away, but if that was the case he should have been found relatively quickly.

To this day, Ronald Tammen's fate is unknown. Some believe he was murdered; others feel he might still be alive. One witness claimed that Tammen, dazed and unable even to remember his name, came to her Seven Mile home early on the morning of April 20, seeking directions to the nearest bus stop. Other sightings, both of Ron Tammen and of his ghost, have been reported on a number of occasions. In 1973, the Butler County Coroner revealed that Tammen had visited his office, seeking a blood test, five months to the day before his disappearance. The Coroner claimed that, in his 35 years of practice, Ronald Tammen was the only person to visit his office with such a request. When Fisher Hall was demolished in 1978, an extensive search of the rubble was conducted, but no signs of Tammen's remains were found. As time passes, it becomes less and less likely that we will ever know what really happened to Fisher Hall's most famous resident.