A search continued in New York Tuesday for a missing MIT professor who authorities say may be in danger.
Officials said Heikki Rantakari also teaches at the University of Rochester in New York and never showed up for class on Saturday. Rantakari was subsequently reported missing.
“He’s got family back in Boston and, obviously, they’re concerned about him as well,” said Rochester Police Captain Greg Bello. “[T]hat’s what we’re trying to resolve here and try to figure out what happened.”
New York investigators spent part of Tuesday searching an Airbnb where Rantakari had been staying.
“We did find evidence that he was there,” Bello said.
Bello said Rantakari checked into the Airbnb on Friday.
“Now, it’s a matter of what happened from there and that’s what we’re trying to track down,” Bello continued.
Rantakari is a visiting professor at MIT who also teaches economics at the University of Rochester.
“Obviously, it’s concerning that he flew here for a specific meeting, spesifically to teach a specific class or multiple classes and has not shown up for them,” Bello said.
Missing classes, Bello said, “is far outside of his norm.”
Police said Rantakari did not have a car. His Airbnb, though, was within walking distance of the University of Rochester. Now, authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward.
“We need that public assistance,” Bello said. “We need that help getting the message out that we can confirm he’s okay because, at this point, we do believe he may be in danger.”
Rantakari’s family has said Rantakari speaks with a Finnish accent and is roughly 5’11”.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or contact the Rochester Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit at (585) 428-7157.
An MIT spokesperson previously addressed the situation saying MIT officials were aware of the missing persons alert issued by the Rochester Police Department.
The spokesperson confirmed Rantakari is a visiting associate professor of applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management and said campus police had reached out to offer their support to local investigators in New York.
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