Real Name: Robert Curtis Borton Jr.
Location: Da Nang, Vietnam
Date: August 28, 1966
Occupation: United States Marines
Date Of Birth: May 24, 1946
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian male
Details: Robert "Curt" Borton, Jr., was nineteen years old when he enlisted in the Marines in 1965. On August 28, 1966, just nineteen days after he arrived in Vietnam, he was on night patrol near Danan when he and three other soldiers vanished. A few days later, two military personnel met with his father, Robert Sr., and told him that he was reported missing in action. Two years passed without any word on his fate; then, in September 1968, his stepmother, Wanda, was looking at a military magazine when she saw a man that she believed was him in one of the pictures. Robert Sr. also believed that it was of him. It (shown above left) was taken in Quang Tri Province in 1967, a full year after he was reported missing. They sent it to the Marine Casualty Office, but they claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity. A few years later, the Bortons found a film that was shot in a Viet Cong prison camp in 1968; a still from the video (shown above right) has a man that they believe is Curt. Marine Corps spokesman Dave Greco, however, claims that they're mistaken; according to him, all of the people in both the picture and the video have been identified and none of them are Curt.
In summer 1976, Robert Sr. claims that he was approached by two strangers who claimed to work for the Department of Defense. They told him that they had a letter that changed Curt's status from "missing in action" to "killed in action"; however, he refused to sign it. Greco claims that the military would not confront and force family members to sign papers in a parking lot and that Robert Sr. must have been mistaken about the incident. He, however, claimed that they approached him several times in public places, and that he eventually signed the papers. They claimed that it was for his own safety. He later received a check for doing so.
On several occasions, the Bortons were allowed to examine Curt's official files; according to his sister, Diane, the entries regarding his death were changing. Some reports claimed that he was killed in March or April 1966, and others said that he died in 1967. During the time that they were examining the files, Diane claimed that her phone was being tapped. A cousin of her believes that the entire Borton family was being watched. He claimed that he was followed to work several times and that two men would follow him from his home to his company and then back. After this went on for a month, he decided to confront them, but they denied following him. After that, for about a month, he was not followed.
The cousin worked for a security company and ran credit checks. One day, he entered Curt's Social Security Number into the computer, and it came back with "invalid entry". When he asked his supervisor about it, the supervisor told him that it was never issued. That same day, he claimed that as he left work, a man approached him wielding a pistol. The man told him that it was in his best interest to not do what he did earlier (enter Curt's SSN) again. He believes that he was threatened because he had discovered evidence that Curt was still alive.
In 1990, Diane moved to a suburb of Washington, D.C. A few weeks later, she went to a gas station to fill up her van. At the same time, a red car pulled in nearby; in it was a man and a blonde woman. She went inside to pay for the gas and when she came back out, the man was standing next to the car. He said "it looks like it's going to snow" even though it was a sunny autumn day. After he got back in the car, she realized that he was Curt; however, before she could react, he drove away.
In April 1991, Diane was in a car with a friend driving down I-395 when a red car pulled up next to her. She looked over and saw that the driver was Curt. She believed that it was the same car that she had seen at the gas station; also, there was a blonde woman in it. It pulled in front of her and she was able to write down its license plate number. It then went to an exit that went to Quantico Marine Base. She placed the license plate number to a man living in Virginia; however, he claimed to know nothing about Curt.
Diane later spoke to one of Curt's war buddies, who claimed that he was alive and had returned to the United States. However, the friend claimed that he had come home a disturbed and dangerous man. In July 1991, Diane and her two daughters went to the Vietnam Veteran's memorial; as they were leaving the restroom, she saw Curt nearby. However, since she was with her daughters, she feared for their safety and did not want to approach him. Despite her daughters' pleas, they left without talking to him.
In 1992, Robert Sr. received a bizarre phone call; the caller asked him for the name of a blonde-haired babysitter that Curt once had. When he told the caller her name, a man in the background reacted, saying "Yeah!" Robert Sr. believed that Curt was there; the caller claimed that he would see him soon.
In August 1993, the Bortons were notified that a new set of documents regarding MIAs and POWs had been declassified by the government. When they met with officials at Marine headquarters, they were told that they had found some remains that they believed were Curt's. One declassified report told of four American soldiers that had been killed by the Viet Cong in 1966. Vietnamese eyewitnesses claimed that the bodies were buried and then later moved to a different grave site. Curt's teeth and dog tags found there led military officials to believe that he was killed in Vietnam. However, his teeth were compared with x-rays provided by the military, not by his family. According to spokesperson Dave Greco, there was remains trade in Vietnam around that time. Apparently, robbers had taken Curt's and transported them to multiple locations. In the process, some of his teeth fell out. According to Greco, forensics have determined that they belong to him; the Bortons did not believe this.
The Bortons are convinced that Curt was part of a secret government operation that brought him from Vietnam into the United States. Diane believes that he has tried to contact her and other family members on multiple occasions. She claims that she has talked to a man who is a "secret returnee" and that they are allowed to come back to the United States, as long as they do not contact their families. She believes that this was done because the U.S. government had already claimed that all of the living POWs had been brought home; since they were still left behind, they could not become known to the public. Greco, however, claims that this program does not exist. He says that Curt would not fit the criteria of someone who would be involved in covert operations due to his age and lack of experience.
Despite what the military claims, the Bortons are convinced that Curt is still alive and that he will come home one day.
Suspects: The Bortons believe that the military brought Curt back to the United States and have forced him to live there with a new identity. The military denies any involvement in his disappearance.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 9, 1994 episode. Fearing his safety, Curt's cousin did not use his name or a pseudonym for its taping.
Results: Unresolved. In February of 1993, a partial set of remains was sent from Vietnam to the United States. They were transported to the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii for examination. On April 21, 1995, military personnel announced that they had been positively identified as belonging to Curt's. However, his family has refused to accept them and believes that he is still alive. The military believes that Curt was killed with the other soldiers on the night of his disappearance. One of the other soldier's personal effects were found close to where Curt's remains were found.
- Robert Borton on Unsolved.com
- Robert Borton on MIA Website
- Robert Borton on POW Network
- Robert Borton on Vietnam Virtual Wall
- Robert Borton on Find a Grave.com