What happened to missing teacher Robert Heikka? Port Orange man's car found in canal with body inside 

Robert Heikka (Image via Missing Person
Robert Heikka (Image via Missing Person's Planet/Twitter)

Robert Heikka, a teacher at Creekside Middle School in Port Orange, was reported missing on October 26, 2020, after he failed to show up to work.

Nearly three years after his disappearance, on Saturday, April 8, 2023, Florida authorities announced that the missing man’s submerged car was found in a canal along the Pioneer Trail near New Smyrna Beach alongside a body inside the vehicle.


While authorities are yet to officially identify the body found inside the vehicle, they did confirm that a white 2012 Chevrolet Impala recovered from the canal belonged to missing person Robert Heikka.

Robert Heikka's car was found six miles from his neighborhood

On Saturday, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said that a car that belonged to missing middle school teacher Robert Heikka was discovered six miles from the teacher’s neighborhood.

The car was reportedly found by the nonprofit Sunshine State Sonar Search Team and Recon Dive Recovery members after a recent and significant drop in the canal’s water level.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Robert Heikka, a 70-year-old teacher who has worked for Volusia County schools since 1989, was last seen on October 25, 2020, by his neighbors. They told investigators that they last saw the teacher leaving his home located in the Waters Edge subdivision.

Authorities said that shortly before the disappearance, Heikka made an ordinary transaction at an ATM in nearby Brevard County on October 25.

The Sunshine State Sonar Search Team said that a day after he was last seen, Heikka was reported missing on October 26. This was after a concerned staff member at Creekside Middle School in Port Orange went to his home to check on the teacher who didn’t show up for work that day.

Heikka, who has been teaching at Creekside Middle School since 2002, reportedly lived alone at his residence.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have since searched for the missing teacher's whereabouts for years until his vehicle was found submerged in a canal by the nonprofit search and rescue team. They had combed the area before, to no avail due to high water levels.

However, after a significant drop in the water level, the team's decision to search the area again paid off as it finally led them to Heikka's car. In a statement, the authorities thanked the rescue team for their assistance in the search for the missing man.

“Through hard work and dedication by the many involved, his vehicle was located. The Volusia Sheriff’s Office responded with resources and assisted greatly in the recovery after the vehicle was discovered. We thank all involved for bringing some much-needed closure to Mr Heikka’s family. Thank you all. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.”

The Port Orange Police Department expressed their condolences to Robert Heikka's family and said:

“We would like to express our sincere condolences to Robert’s friends and family. This is an extremely sad case with such a tragic ending.”

While authorities have yet to disclose additional details on the case, the non-profit search team said that Heikka most likely lost control of his car on the night of October 25, 2020, and crashed into the canal.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande