According to authorities, a University of Rochester economics professor may be in danger after failing to show up to his planned session.
According to the university’s website, Heikki Rantakari, 44, is an associate professor at the Simon Business School and a visiting associate professor in applied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, where he got his Ph.D. in economics.
According to Rochester police Capt. Gregory Bello, Rantakari arrived at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport around 7 p.m. Friday from his home in the Boston area and was last seen around 9 p.m. at his Airbnb on Exchange Street between Flint Street and Mount Pleasant Park.
“The last person who saw him at the Airbnb, he’d stayed there before, [and] he recognized [Rantakari’s Finnish] accent and confirmed he was there… This is not the first time [Rantakari has stayed at that Airbnb],” Bello told Fox News on Wednesday.
According to a statement from his family provided with News 8 WROC, Rantakari talks with a Finnish accent, weighs around 180 pounds, measures 5 feet 11 inches tall with an average frame, and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
“Heikki Rantakari is a hard-working professor and a nice, quiet man personally,” the family wrote. “If anyone may have seen or spoken to him, any information from the public regarding his whereabouts is greatly needed to help find him ASAP… many are praying for his safe return.”
Rantakari was reported missing to the nearby Brighton Police Department on Saturday, according to Bello, before Rochester Police launched their investigation. On Monday, 13Wham photographed a Rochester police cruiser outside the Airbnb on Exchange Street.
While some of the professor’s belongings were discovered, there was no indication of Rantakari, according to Bello. Rantakari had presumably driven an Uber from the airport to his lodgings and expected to ride the neighbouring footbridge to his lesson minutes away, according to Bello.
However, the captain did not elaborate on what particularly caused police to fear the professor was in danger.
“Beyond the obvious circumstances that just poof, this guy has disappeared, there’s been some other information that indicates this guy may be in danger as well,” Bello said. “The odd part is this guy disappeared – my understanding that I have on it is that’s very out of character.”
Bello refused to reveal the status of the professor’s Airbnb.
“He’s got a family back in Boston, and obviously they’re concerned about him as well, and that’s what were trying to resolve here and figure out what happened,” Bello told 13Wham.