The Boone Police Department (BPD) continues its search for missing Kernersville teenager, James “Martin” Roberts, 19, who was last seen near Appalachian State University on April 21.
According to the most recent update on Roberts’ case provided by the BPD, a letter that was found in Roberts’ apartment indicated that he was leaving everyone behind, but made no specific mention that Roberts intended to harm himself. Both police and Martin’s family said they know from the content of the letter that Roberts was experiencing some challenges in life and may have wanted to escape from his circumstances.
BPD Chief Dana Crawford said that since the beginning of the department’s investigation into Roberts’ disappearance, the BPD has poured all its available resources in finding the Kernersville teen.
“We have looked for signs of life such as financial transactions, social media use and an extensive list of other investigative steps. We have also focused attention on the fact that he could be deceased,” Crawford said. “We have searched area lakes and many acres of wooded areas around where Martin lived and in areas that he was known to have visited. After two months, we still do not have any positive indicators as to his whereabouts.”
Roberts is the son of John and Abbie Roberts, of Kernersville. His father said Friday that the family is at a loss as to what happened to their son, but he wants to expand the search to include coastal areas.
“We decided to try to put some attention on the coastal areas because Martin loves the beach. For the last 55 years, our family has had a tradition of vacationing in Ocean Isle Beach,” John Roberts said.
It’s where the family is now. They have been active in providing updates on the case through the “Help Find Martin Roberts” page on Facebook and John Roberts posted there on Wednesday.
“Fast approaching 70 days since this all began. And we’re ½ way through our annual summer family gathering. Still no word from our boy. We are still hopeful that today will be the day we hear from or, even better yet, see our boy. There are 32 of us here waiting and hoping for that moment!” he wrote.
Earlier this month, the BPD employed the assistance of search dogs from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to cover wooded areas surrounding specific locations in downtown Boone, near where Roberts lived. According to the BPD, the area had been searched on foot, but had not been covered with the help of trained search dogs.
At the time, detectives with the BPD said no concrete information led them to that area, but they wanted to rule out the location as a possibility as they continued looking for Martin.
Previously, SBI cadaver dogs were used to search Trout Lake in Blowing Rock and the Boone town reservoir after investigators received unconfirmed sightings of Roberts not long after his disappearance.
Additionally, the BPD issued an alert to property owners on June 15, asking any who have vacant homes or buildings to check their property or allow their local law enforcement agency to check for signs of inhabitation.
“In the interests of being thorough, we would like to know that we have covered areas that an individual could have taken up residence in the absence of the property owner and remain otherwise unnoticed,” said a red alert issued by the BPD. They asked that anyone who noticed any signs of unauthorized entry or occupation to contact the BPD or CrimeStoppers.
Roberts graduated from East Forsyth High School and was enrolled in classes at Catawba Community College. He was last seen at an intersection near the ASU Convocation Center at approximately 12:30 p.m. on April 21 and was wearing a black, short sleeve ASU windbreaker, khaki shorts, gray New Balance shoes and a white golf visor hat. Roberts is 5’10” and weighs approximately 145 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.
The BPD is asking anyone with information concerning Roberts’ favorite hangouts, recent whereabouts leading up to his disappearance or people he might have been with to contact authorities. They also asked that anyone who might come in contact with Martin to ask him to contact his family.
“If you come in contact with Martin, please tell him to contact his family; they love him and want him back. Investigators and the Roberts family are appealing for anyone with information about Martin’s whereabouts to contact us immediately,” police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the BPD at (828) 268-6900 or High Country CrimeStoppers at (828) 268-6959 / 828-737-0125. You may also submit a CrimeStoppers tip via its website at www.tipsubmit.com/webtips.aspx?AgencyID=1251 or Text “NCTIP plus your tip” to 274637 (CRIMES). A CrimeStoppers reward up to $1,000 has been offered for information that leads to Roberts’ whereabouts and safe return.