Pa. Restaurant Owner Mysteriously Missing for Nearly One Week

Courtesy Old Forge Police Dept.(OLD FORGE, Pa.) -- Officials in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, are investigating the mysterious disappearance of Robert Baron, 58, a local restaurant owner who hasn't been seen by his family in nearly one week.

Police described Baron's disappearance as an "apparent assault" after what appeared to be blood was found in Baron's restaurant, Ghigiarelli Pizza in Old Forge, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Baron's car was also initially missing, but then was found days after he disappeared, and blood was found in the car, according to police.

The restaurant owner was reported missing on Jan. 26 by his son, Bobby Baron, 30. Robert Baron's wife, Maria Baron, told investigators that her husband was last seen on Jan. 25 around 11 p.m. dropping their son off at his home.

The younger Baron, a partner in the family business, told police his father was supposed to pick him up for work the morning of Jan. 26, according to the search warrant. Bobby Baron told police he texted his father around 7:40 a.m. to tell him he was ready to go, and after he didn't get a response, Bobby Baron walked to the restaurant and found the dough delivery was left on the sidewalk, which he called "extremely unusual." Bobby Baron went inside and found his father not there and items out of place, so he called the police, according to the search warrant.

Officers responded to the restaurant, where blood was recovered, Old Forge Police Department Chief Jason Dubernas told ABC News.

The search warrant said authorities used luminol, a chemical that detects blood stains, "which uncovered evidence that a possible attack occurred and was attempted to be cleaned by the perpetrators ... with household cleaners left at the scene."

Maria Baron told investigators she went to the restaurant around 9 a.m. on Jan. 26 looking for her husband -- but he wasn't there and his car was missing. She told police they have an apartment above the restaurant, where her husband stays occasionally. Maria Baron told investigators she checked the apartment and saw a comforter from the bed was missing, "and she found an afghan in the bar area of the restaurant which she indicated was very odd," the search warrant said.

Bobby Baron told police his father's cellphone was left in the kitchen, which he called unusual.

A restaurant employee told investigators that Robert Baron had received multiple calls on the business landline, after which Robert Baron told the employee, "don't answer the phone anymore," according to the search warrant.

On Jan. 29, days after Robert Baron went missing, his car was recovered in Old Forge. According to the search warrant, the car appeared to have a blood stain on one of the doors and there was a "larger amount of blood" inside the car.

First Assistant District Attorney Gene Riccardo told ABC News Wednesday that officials are working diligently and investigating every lead they have.

Chief Dubernas said he could not discuss any leads, citing the ongoing criminal investigation. He said missing persons cases are very rare for the department and that the Pennsylvania State Police are assisting with the investigation.

Family friend Jason Thomas told ABC affiliate WNEP-TV, "Bobby's a fighter."

"I know it's been days. We have cold weather. With the negative things we've been hearing, it doesn't look good," he told WNEP. "But we have to have high hopes."

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