Martin Roberts: What Happened to Him? Has He Been Found?

Image Credit: WFMY-TV

On April 21, 2016, James “Martin” Roberts was reported missing by his friend. He was last seen near the Appalachian State University’s Convention Center. Neither his family nor the police could make any sense of the disappearance. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Disappeared: Breaking Away’ portrays this mysterious case and takes the audience through the police investigation, which had very few leads to follow in the first place.

What Happened to Martin Roberts?

Originally from Kernersville, North Carolina, Martin Roberts was residing in Boone and was a sophomore student at the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute during the time of his disappearance. Just 19 years of age, Martin was close to his family and quite popular in his friend circle, who were left grasping for answers after the horrifying incident. Little did people know about the terrible fate that would befall this friendly personality who was always full of life.

Image Credit: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/Martin Roberts’ Family

As per the show, Martin’s friends noticed he was behaving strangely in the days leading up to his disappearance. Being a top student in his class, his friends were surprised when he stopped attending regular classes from the middle of the spring semester. Furthermore, he reportedly distanced himself from many of his friends. Reports also say that he stopped turning in assignments and dropped out of the numerous internet groups where he regularly participated.

The last time Martin talked to his father, it was a normal conversation. His father, John, would later state that he and his son were discussing the coming semester and even talked about their summer plans. Martin Roberts was last spotted walking near the Appalachian State University’s Convocation Center in Boone, North Carolina, when a surveillance camera from a vehicle picked him up as he chatted with his cousin at around noon. The two parted ways at the AppalCart bus station, and Martin was spotted walking away. That was the last anyone ever saw or heard from Martin.

Image Credit: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/Facebook

When Martin’s father did not receive phone calls or texts from his son, he grew concerned and contacted Martin’s friends, who went up to his room. Finding it empty, they reported his disappearance to the police on April 21, 2016. However, it seemed as if Martin had left in a hurry as essential items like his phone, wallet, laptop, and bank cards were left behind.

Additionally, a letter was discovered through which Martin hinted at abandoning everything and leaving, although there was no mention of self-harm or suicide. Later, his family said that the letter implied that Martin was facing many tough challenges in his life and wanted to escape from them temporarily. Another surprising discovery was a pile of anti-depressant pills without a prescription, even though Martin never had depression before.

Search for Martin Roberts Continues as He is Still Missing

Martin Roberts has not been found. Hence, it is unclear whether he is still alive or has passed away. However, it should be noted that the search for Roberts is still an active investigation. Furthermore, his family, too, remains hopeful of his safe return and believes that he is alive. Unfortunately, the police were crippled from the very start as they did not have a lot of leads to work with. The only video footage of martin was the one captured at the bus stoppage, which provided no clue about his possible whereabouts.

Without knowing where exactly to look, the police started using every tool in their arsenal, including search parties on land, sonar searches in water, the use of search dogs, and even helicopters. Still, there was no news of the missing teen. Detailing their search operations two months into the disappearance, Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford said, “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. We have searched area lakes and many acres of wooded areas around where Martin lived and in the areas that he was known to have visited by Martin. After two months, we still do not have any positive indicators as to his whereabouts.”

Throughout the years, the family has started a Facebook group dedicated to the search for Martin. Additionally, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also tried to help in the search by sharing a virtually modified age progression picture which shows how Martin might look today. With a $10,000 reward announced by the Boone Police Department, the police have received several tips that have led them into different states, including Virginia and Ohio. Yet, none of the tips have proved to be helpful.

Although five years have passed since Martin’s disappearance, his family and friends refuse to give up hope. They continuously keep him in their prays and carry on a relentless search for the missing teen. The Boone Police Department has been equally active in their investigation, which included bringing in a criminal investigation expert and even planning for a large-scale case study on missing persons, which might help point them in the correct direction.

Moreover, it being an active investigation, any tips called in are acted upon immediately by the police. The family’s determination to see an end to this terrifying ordeal can be summed up perfectly through Martin’s mother’s post on Facebook, which reads, “Today is a very sad day, as it marks 5 years since Martin disappeared. Even as I write this, I can’t wrap my mind around that fact. It simply doesn’t seem possible. While we still have no idea where he may be, we continue to believe that every day brings us one day closer to Martin coming home.”

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