It’s an emptiness – a hole you never can fill.  

That’s how Stephanie Huggins describes the 32 years of wondering where her brother is.   

Robbie Kellar vanished Feb. 4, 1990, from Muscatine. He was 20. Now, for all these years, Stephanie and the rest of her family continue to wonder: Where is he?  

Our crime reporter Linda Cook spoke with Stephanie, who describes her brother as a free spirit.  

“As soon as he got out of high school he had started traveling back and forth from California, Colorado, Florida.”  

Robert Kellar (contributed photo)

He dreamed of being in a band, Stephanie said. “He had friends he would hang out with, and they would sing in the basement. But that’s all the further they got. 

“He hitchhiked everywhere he went. Didn’t have a wallet, didn’t have identification. He would randomly show up at home every couple of months.”  

Then he began having some mental issues when he came home and didn’t recognize family members.  

“He got picked up and got put in jail overnight. The net day he got out and just disappeared,” Stephanie said. 

His family thought he would come back in a couple of months. But more months went by. 

“He just kind of disappeared. It’s been 32 years. He’s been gone longer than we had him,” Stephanie said. “He would be 52.”

“At first I honestly thought he was doing his traveling,” Stephanie said. Now, “We kind of assume something bad happened and he’s no longer alive. We can’t prove it. It’s just a feeling.”  

His mother has wondered whether she should have him declared dead. “It’s kind of like this emptiness, this hole that you never get filled,” Stephanie said.  

“Birthdays or milestones are the hardest,” she said.  

Robert Kellar and his family (contributed photo.)

“He’s never met any of my kids or my sister’s kids. It’s hard,” Stephanie said. “It’s hard to try to describe him. The longer it goes, the less memories you have. They just kind of start to fade.”  

Robbie is listed with the Doe Network, and with cold case files. Many years ago, someone from California reached out and said they had run into him at one point.  

“He was a free spirit. He was a wild one. He had longer hair than I have. He was always playing with his hair,” she said. “Wild… would try anything. Very friendly. Great smile. All the girls wanted to hang out with him and date him. He was a good guy.”  

Stephanie has tried to many measures, event submitting Robbie’s dental records to officials. 

“I have a whole folder of everything I’ve tried to do. But you run out of resources … I keep thinking at some point, even if they find a body, or anything like that, maybe they’ll match DNA and maybe we’ll get an answer. And then maybe do something to kind of close that chapter and have peace,” she said.  

Robert Kellar (contributed photo.)

She remembers a couple of unusual things about her brother. a 

“He does have a scar on his face. When he was little he got bit by a dog. Scar on his wrist. No real standout identifying marks that I remember from him being 20.”  

“I wonder if he doesn’t have a memory of us … if something happened,” she said.  

“I don’t mind talking about him. It’s a grieving process, even though he may still be alive, but he’s gone. It’s different, learning how to enjoy the memories and try to hold on to a little bit of hope that maybe someday you’ll get an answer, but probably not.”  

If you can provide any information of any kind to help this family, please call Muscatine Police at 563-263-9922 or visit the Doe Network website here.  

What is the Doe Network? 

The Doe Network began as a website in 1999, then evolved into an informal volunteer organization in 2001, and finally became an official 501c on July 29, 2011. It is a non-profit organization of volunteers who work with law enforcement to connect missing persons cases with John/Jane Doe cases. They maintain a website about cold cases and unidentified persons, and work to match these with missing persons.