Overview of Robert Rasmussen
For only being 13 years old, Robert Rasmussen was extremely independent and self-reliant.
Sadly, very little information is available about who Robert was as a person or what he was like. What we do know, we learn from his younger sister, Joyce. Joyce remembers her brother as being very independent and wise for his age.
"Both boys were very, very street wise." - Raquel Razbeau, Gerald’s sister.
Robert, like his best friend, Gerald Montrio, had a difficult home life. Robert’s relationship with his father, specifically, was troubled and physically abusive. According to Joyce and Gerald’s sister, Raquel, the two boys had frequently spoken about running away from their homes because their relationships with their parents were driving them away.
“My brother was so independent, so able to take care of himself. The thought that the two of them came out here and drowned just doesn’t make sense.” - Joyce Balint, Robert’s sister.
Robert goes swimming with his best friend after school.
Robert and his best friend, Gerald Montrio, left their homes on September 9, 1957 around 3:00 pm to go swimming at the Massachusetts Bay near their homes in Plymouth, MA. Witnesses in the area later reported that they saw two boys, likely Robert and Gerald, holding bundles of clothing getting in and out of a boat on the bay.
Around an hour after Robert and Gerald left their homes to go to the bay, another witness reported that she heard calls for help coming from the direction of the beach. According to this witness, she visited the beach several times to see what was wrong and offer assistance, but she was never able to find anyone in distress. Yet another witness later reported that around 4:30 pm, he had seen two young boys matching Robert and Gerald’s descriptions hitchhiking in the area.
The boys are reported missing and the search begins.
When the boys fail to return home that evening, Robert’s mother, Charlotte, calls local police and reports both children missing. Almost immediately after, a widespread search begins. Shortly after the search began, two police officers found Robert and Gerald’s clothing, neatly stacked on what is known as ‘Flat Rock’ near the water’s edge. The search continues through the night, with involvement from several organizations, including the U.S. Coast Guard.
“It’s not the type of place (where) you go to swim because it’s all big stones. The water was always very, very cold. If you’re a good swimmer, it’s still very, very cold.” - Lenny Sullivan, retired Plymouth firefighter who participated in searches.
The following day, September 10, 1957, searchers find a boat believed to have been used by one or both of the boys prior to their disappearance. This is believed to be the boat that two boys were seen entering and exiting by witnesses the day prior. After two full days of searching, on the evening of September 11, 1957, authorities officially concluded their search for Robert and Gerald. They end their search with the belief that the boys drowned in the water and pulled out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The boys’ sisters reunite and bring awareness to the disappearances.
"In my heart, I've always known my brother was alive.” - Joyce Balint, Robert’s sister.
Robert’s sister, Joyce, and Gerald’s sister, Raquel, reconnected in 2003, forty-six years after the disappearances and visited the spot where their brothers’ clothes were found at the Massachusetts Bay. During their time together, they met with several news outlets and gave interviews providing their thoughts on what actually happened to their brothers. In the interviews, both sisters expressed their opinions that both boys are still alive, and that they believe that they had run away to escape their “tough-as-nails” fathers.
“If they knew the fathers are gone, if they know we do understand why they went, if they knew that we can forgive them, maybe they would come forward.” - Joyce Balint, Robert’s sister.
Where the case stands today.
Today, it has been more than 65 years since Robert and Gerald’s disappearances. Their sisters made an attempt in 2003 to revive interest in their brothers’ case and were able to capture the attention of a few local media outlets. At the time of his disappearance in 1957, Robert was only 13 years old. Unfortunately, there is no further physical description for Robert. Today, Robert would be 78 years old. If you have any information regarding Gerald’s whereabouts or his disappearance, please contact the Plymouth Police Department at (508) 830-4218 ext. 364.
“The ultimate hope is that somewhere out there, we will have two brothers that we’ll get to see and touch.” - Joyce Balint, Robert’s sister.