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Jun 22nd, 2011


Case details

Case type: Non-family abduction
Date of birth: May 12, 1979
Missing date: Sept. 30, 1982
Age now [2011]: 32
Missing city: Sugarbush Township, Beltrami County, Minn.
Missing state: Minnesota
Missing country: United States
Case number: NCMC600172

Physical description

Sex: Male
Race: White
Height: 4’0″ (122 cm)
Weight: 50 lbs (23 kg)
Hair color: Blond
Eye color: Blue
Distinctive marks: Scar on right side of chin

Circumstances of disappearance

Kevin was last seen playing upstairs with his older brother in their summer home, described by a family member as “an old family hunting cabin.” Their mother went outside briefly to hang up some laundry and when she returned, Kevin was gone. His brother was still in the residence. At the time of his disappearance, Kevin’s speech was limited and he was hearing impaired.

The image below (circa 1999) shows Kevin age-progressed to 20 years.

The image below (circa 2006) shows Kevin age-progressed to 27 years.

Update: The image below (circa 2011) shows Kevin age-progressed to 32 years.

Update: The image below (circa 2015) shows Kevin age-progressed to 36 years.

Case handled by
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children


  1. An unknown person entered the home and abducted Kevin while his mother was outside.
  2. Kevin wandered away from his home, became lost, and died of exposure in the woodsy, boggy area around the house. (He had ventured outside before, but always returned after a short time.)

Linkage analysis (Minnesota component)

On September 30, 1982, three-year-old Kevin Jay Ayotte disappeared from his family’s summer home in Sugarbush Township northwest of Cass Lake in Beltrami County, the first in a string of unsolved abductions, disappearances, and sexual assaults of young males in Minnesota spanning three decades.

Kevin was playing with an older brother in an upstairs area of the house, about 10 miles north of U.S. Route 2. (Another older brother had biked up the road to a friend’s house to play.) The boys’ mom went outside briefly and when she returned, Kevin was gone. The brother with whom he had been playing was still inside the house.

About six years after the disappearance of Kevin Ayotte, on the evening of Friday, January 13, 1989, a 12-year-old Cold Spring boy named Jared was walking home from a hockey game when a man pulled up alongside him on the road and asked for directions. As the boy was giving directions, the middle-aged man stepped out of his vehicle, grabbed Jared by the shoulders, and dragged him into the car. The man then drove Jared to a remote location near Richmond and verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted him.

Less than three months after the sexual assault of Jared, at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 1989, two-year-old Aaron Mitchell Anderson disappeared from the backyard of his home in Pine City, off I-35.

Investigators initially suspected Aaron had wandered into a nearby river and drowned. However, search-and-rescue dogs failed to track the boy’s scent to the river. The case is classified as a non-family abduction.

Just six months after Aaron Mitchell Anderson disappeared from his home in Pine City, a more highly publicized kidnapping occurred about 90 minutes to the west along Minnesota Highway 23. On the evening of Sunday, October 22, 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was taken at gunpoint in front of two witnesses — his brother Trevor and friend Aaron Larson — near his home in St. Joseph.

Just six months after the Wetterling abduction, 17-year-old Christopher Matthew Kerze disappeared from his Eagan home in Dakota County, on Friday, April 20, 1990.

The family van was found abandoned two days later near Grand Rapids, which is situated at the intersection of U.S. Routes 2 and 169.

The location where the vehicle was found is about 50 miles east of where Kevin Ayotte had disappeared seven years earlier in Sugarbush Township.


Nathan Andrew Edberg, 21, was last seen on the night of April 14, 1999 at a bar in White Bear Lake.

No one saw him leave, but his vehicle was found abandoned the next day in a ditch at I-94 and I-35E. Nathan has not been found or heard from since.

As in the case of Chris Kerze, Edberg’s vehicle was found abandoned shortly after his disappearance; however, of the disappearances in the Minnesota component of the series, the Edberg case is the least likely to be linked to the Ayotte case.

As an interesting sidebar, a close friend of Joshua Guimond was acquainted with Edberg’s brother.

Three and a half years after the disappearance of Andrew Edberg, on November 9/10, 2002, St. John’s University student Joshua Guimond disappeared while walking alone on campus shortly after midnight.

Josh did not vanish of his own accord. He was without his car, glasses, or a coat warm enough for the freezing mid-November weather. None of his credit cards have been used and there has been no contact with any friends or family members in the years since his disappearance.


Latest development

Cold Kidnapping Case Gets Second Look After Beltrami County Child’s Identity Stolen by Michigan Man

The Bemidji Pioneer
June 22, 2011

On September 30, 1982, a 3-year-old child, Kevin Jay Ayotte, went missing from his family’s residence in Sugar Bush Township, located in eastern Beltrami County.

At that time, 29 years ago, an exhaustive search and investigation was undertaken by then Sheriff Tom Tolman and members of the Sheriff’s Office with assistance from other state and federal agencies. That investigation did not succeed in finding Kevin or even determining the exact nature of his disappearance. This case has continued to haunt the Ayotte family, retired law enforcement officials involved in the investigation and active members who have come on the Sheriff’s Office since.

A few weeks ago, Beltrami County Sheriff’s Investigator Scott Hinners reexamined the Kevin Jay Ayotte Missing Person case from 1982 and began running names from the case file through investigative databases. During this search, the investigator located an individual in Michigan using the same name, date of birth and Social Security number assigned to the missing Kevin Jay Ayotte from Beltrami County. Additional assistance was sought by Hinners from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va. As Hinners continued his investigation he learned that Kevin’s mother and father also were living in Michigan in a town in the same region as the person using Kevin Jay Ayotte’s name.

Last week, Hinners, accompanied by a special agent from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, travelled to Michigan and began searching for the subject. With the help of local Michigan authorities, Beltrami County investigators located an individual who had stolen and assumed the identity of Kevin Jay Ayotte and used this new identity for financial purposes.

As it turned out, this suspect was known to local authorities in Michigan. The suspect was interviewed by law enforcement authorities and admitted to the identity theft. The identity theft investigation was left in the hands of Michigan authorities and remains under investigation. Beltrami investigators returned to Bemidji after they made contact with Kevin Ayotte’s parents in Michigan to discuss these developments in the case. Investigators determined it was a coincidence that Kevin’s parents were living in such close proximity to the suspect in the case.

This Missing Person Case remains open and under investigation with ongoing assistance from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


Note: Article adapted from a press release issued by Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp


2/23/2013 Update

Psychic Tarot reading for Kevin Jay Ayotte (Feb. 20, 2013)

Note: Not endorsed; provided for informational purposes only.

Related interest

Randy Doyle Parscale Jr

Jacob Erwin Wetterling

James Hendrickson

Unrelated cases

Ray Frank Gricar

Jon-Benet Ramsey

Brianna Maitland

Natalee Holloway

Caylee Anthony


Related reports on this site

Johnny Gosch, Eugene Martin, and Kevin Jay Ayotte on milk cartons

Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)

Josh Guimond: New Developments (May 24, 2010)

Refer Joshua Guimond Case to FBI (Nov. 10, 2010)

Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 22, 2010

Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties

One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Army Staff Sgt. James P. Hunter, 25, of South Amherst, Ohio, died June 18, 2010 in Zhari district, Kandahar, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

The Associated Press reported that Staff Sgt. Hunter was the first Army journalist killed in combat since 9/11, though his death was not the first among all military journalists.

Maj. Megan McClung, a Marine public affairs officer, was killed in 2006 in Iraq.

In Iraq and increasingly in Afghanistan, military and civilian casualties are often caused by planted explosives, which means there is no traditional front line in these wars. According to count kept by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a total of 18 journalists have been killed working in Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001.

Those who worked with him said Hunter was impassioned reporter and photographer who always was trying to provide a glimpse into the lives of today’s combat soldiers.

In his nearly seven years with the Army, Hunter had twice deployed to Iraq and had only been in Afghanistan a short time before he was killed along with Pfc. Benjamin Park, an infantryman from Company B, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment.

He is survived by his father and stepmother, Tom and Mary Ellen Hunter of Winchester; his mother and stepfather, Patricia and Rick Phillips of Birmingham, Ohio; a fiancée, Candice Clark; four brothers, Thomas Hunter, Cpl. Billy Hunter, Daniel Hunter and Timothy Hunter; a sister, Kathy Hunter; a half-sister, Navy Chief Petty Officer Charity Morgan; and two stepbrothers, Matthew and Michael Dobbs.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — June 22, 2009

Iraq/Afghanistan Weekly Update


Two years ago today, on June 22, 2009, I provided a weekly summary of security incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

13 Responses to “Missing Person Kevin Jay Ayotte”
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