Leah Roberts: What Happened to Her? Has She Been Found?

In March 2000, Leah Roberts, aged 23, left a note for her roommate, indicating her intention to take a temporary leave. She left some money to cover her expenses for the upcoming months and assured her roommate that she would return. Despite the initial plan, days passed without any updates from her, and her abandoned car was discovered on the highway. ID’s ‘Disappeared’ episode titled ‘Soul Searcher’ delves into the details of Leah’s disappearance, exploring whether she was eventually located or if the mystery surrounding her vanishing was ever resolved.

Leah Roberts was on a Road Trip When She Went Missing

Leah, born in 1976, grew up with an older brother and an older sister. Despite facing challenges, including her father’s terminal respiratory illness when she was 17, she excelled academically and became a devoted daughter. In 1995, she enrolled at North Carolina State University to study anthropology and Spanish. However, during her sophomore year, her mother succumbed to a heart condition. Following a hiatus, she resumed her studies in 1998.

In 1998, Leah faced a severe car accident that caused substantial damage, including a punctured lung and a shattered femur, necessitating the placement of an iron rod in her leg. Despite this setback, she recovered and returned to college. Scheduled for a field trip to Costa Rica, she went ahead with the program even after her father died in 1999. Friends noted that she appeared to be not fully processing the loss, raising concerns about her emotional state.

Leah underwent a significant transformation, viewing herself as reborn without her parents, leading to a shift in her outlook on life. Dissatisfied with societal expectations, she lost faith in her education. Shortly before her expected graduation, she made the unconventional decision to drop out of college. Embracing existentialism, she explored new hobbies, delved into reading, and formed new connections.

Leah developed a close friendship with Jeannine Quiller at a local coffeehouse, engaging in discussions about Jack Kerouac’s works. She even proposed to her roommate the idea of embarking on a cross-country road trip to explore what life had to offer. On March 9, 2000, during a conversation with her sister Kara, she exhibited no signs of anything unusual. However, later that afternoon, she failed to show up for babysitting with Nicole. Initially considering Leah’s unpredictability, Nicole assumed she would return, given the former’s lack of a full-time job.

After several days passed without any sign of Leah, Nicole grew increasingly concerned. She contacted Kara, inquiring if she had reached her. Upon further investigation, Nicole discovered that she hadn’t been seen by anyone since that day. Consequently, on March 13, Kara filed a missing person report.

Leah Robert’s Family are Still Hopeful of Finding Her Someday

Leah Roberts’ sister and roommate initially searched her room, discovering signs that she had left voluntarily. She had gathered some clothing, left a note explaining her departure for a while, provided money for expenses, and referenced the works of Jack Kerouac. The note suggested she had embarked on a journey for a spiritual awakening. Kara Roberts, holding power of attorney over Leah’s bank account, began tracking her transactions. She had withdrawn a substantial amount, approximately $3000, and utilized her debit card for motel reservations, gas, and food along the route through western California. The scenic landscapes aligned with her preferences.

However, the trail went cold after a gas purchase in the early hours of March 13, with no subsequent transactions. Jeannine Quiller mentioned that Leah had a particular interest in Kerouac’s 1958 novel ‘The Dharma Bums’ and had expressed a desire to visit the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington and surrounding areas. On March 18, Kara received a note from the police informing her that Leah’s car had been found on the side of a highway near Bellingham, Washington. The car appeared to have been involved in a crash, and personal items were discovered near the crash site.

Inside the car, the police discovered Leah’s IDs, bank checks, and approximately $2400 in cash. The windows of the car were covered with blankets, indicating it may have served as a shelter for some time. However, there was no sign of her, blood or any evidence suggesting someone had been in the car during the crash. Among the items found was a movie ticket stub for the March 13 afternoon showing of ‘American Beauty.’ The police and Leah’s family began interviewing people in the mall where the theater was located, hoping someone might recall seeing her. In a restaurant, two customers claimed to have sat next to her during lunch.

One customer mentioned that she left the restaurant with a man named Barry, providing a detailed description that led to a composite sketch of Barry. However, no other customers or servers reported seeing this man. Additionally, an engagement ring belonging to her mother was found in the car, and her sister insisted she wouldn’t have removed it willingly. When the search for Leah hit a dead end, her family returned to North Carolina, feeling helpless. Security footage from the gas station where she last used her card showed her alone and seemingly normal.

A breakthrough in the case occurred in 2006 when it was assigned to new detectives. They revisited the case and observed that the hood of her car had never been opened, raising the possibility that it might hold some answers. Upon investigation, they discovered that a wire had been cut, allowing the car to accelerate without anyone pressing on the gas pedal, explaining how the car could crash without Leah. A fingerprint was found under the hood, and male DNA was detected on some of her belongings in the car. The customers from the restaurant, who claimed she left with Barry, appeared to be the last people to see her.

The police focused on him and located him, only to discover that he had moved to Canada. Barry, a former mechanic and army veteran, became a person of interest in the case. The authorities collaborated with the Canadian government to obtain Barry’s fingerprints, which did not match the ones found at the scene. As of the latest reports, the DNA is still awaiting a match. The case remains open, and law enforcement holds hope of finding Leah or her remains, as the metal rod in her leg could aid in her identification even after an extended period.

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