Robert Leon Desmond was last seen in Kennebunk, Maine, on August 1, 1964. He was the last person seen at the house on Hovey Street that he shared with his mother, Alice, and stepfather, Chet. Everybody lost track of him after that.
They never told anyone that he was missing, no matter what. He was never seen again, but no one knew until he didn’t show up for the first day of school after the summer break, about a month later. When asked about it, Robert’s parents said they thought he ran away. The same thing was said to his siblings.
Dawn, Robert’s younger sister, says that their home was always “chaotic.” Chet drank too much and was violent when he was drunk, breaking things and hurting other people. There had been more than one visit from police to the house.
Dawn says that Chet was mad that the kids’ beds weren’t made right the night Robert disappeared. The next night, Dawn’s older sister heard a lot of noise outside their house. She hid Dawn in a closet and told her not to come out until the noise stopped. She fell asleep after being there for so long. When Dawn woke up, the house was empty, and her sister had used a sheet rope to get out of a window.
Soon, Dawn found herself in another bedroom, where she says she saw Robert lying on the floor in his pants, not moving. 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. To get out of the crate, Dawn screamed in fear and struggled, but she was stuck.
She lay in bed the next morning wondering if everything she had been through had been a dream. The front door was open when Dawn went downstairs, but Robert was not there. Alice showed Dawn her bag, which did not have any money in it. It looks like Alice told Dawn that Robert had taken the money from the bag and left. 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