Roxanne Paltauf: What Happened to Her? Is She Dead or Alive?

Image Credit: Rosa Paltauf/KVUE

Upon leaving a Texas motel in 2006, Roxanne Paltauf disappeared without any of her belongings. Shell-shocked and concerned about her well-being, her family members and friends collaborate with the authorities to launch an extensive search for the missing 18-year-old teen around the area. The disappearance case of Roxanne is covered in the 5th episode of Investigation Discovery’s ‘Disappeared’ season 3 titled ‘Gone on the Fourth of July,’ which also contains interviews with close ones and the officials who were directly involved in the case.

Roxanne Paltauf Stormed Off a Motel Room and Disappeared at 18

Elizabeth Harris welcomed Roxanne Elizabeth Paltauf into the world on January 3, 1988, in Austin, Texas. Her four siblings, including three sisters — Ronica, Rosalynn, and Rubi Paltauf — looked up to her as she was their protective guardian, like a second mother. Ronica talked about her with KVUE, acknowledging the positive impact Roxanne had on their lives. She said, “She took on the role of being the mother, helping us with homework, making sure we ate dinner every night, that the laundry was done.” She received her schooling from Kealing Junior High School and McCallum High School.

While studying for her GED and working towards her dream of becoming a fashion designer, she dropped out of high school in her junior year and joined a Goodwill job training program. By the summer of 2004, Roxanne started dating a then-28-year-old man named Louis Walls, who had two kids of his own. On a side note, dating back to 1995, Louis had a criminal record, as a couple of his ex-girlfriends had protective orders against him. Moreover, one of Roxanne’s friends had also alleged that he had hit her as well, injuring her nose quite badly. Their huge age difference was the primary reason why the 18-year-old’s mother and friends did not approve of their relationship.

Thus, they used to spend time together at different motels. On July 7, 2007, the couple checked into a Budget Inn hotel, which is situated near Interstate Highway 35 and Rundberg in Austin, Texas, at around 8:30 pm at night. The same evening, Roxanne and Louis reportedly got into a heated argument and stormed out of the motel, leaving behind all her belongings except her identification. After she told him to leave her alone, Louis did not follow her, according to him. But after about 20 minutes, he reportedly went to find her but could not locate her anywhere. Then, he called up her mother and asked if she was with her.

In a state of panic and concern, he collected all her belongings, checked out of the motel, and drove straight to his sister’s house. When Roxanne did not show up to her mother’s house the following morning to go shopping, as she had promised, her mother reported her missing on July 8, 2006. At first, the investigators deemed Roxanne’s case a simple missing persons case as they believed she might have just gone AWOL to get away from Louis. However, by the time the authorities considered that something more sinister could have happened, the scope for finding evidence in and around the hotel narrowed as the room had been re-occupied by others.

Considering his alleged history of abuse against her and the fact that Louis was the last person to see Roxanne, he was a suspect in his girlfriend’s sudden disappearance. Several days after she vanished, Louis handed her belongings, including her phone, to her family. During the period between her disappearance and him returning her phone, more than 300 calls were reportedly made, most of them to his ex-girlfriend in New Mexico. Reports suggest that he even told her that he was in trouble. The detectives also found Roxanne’s ID in possession of a man named Geoffrey Moore, who was staying at another hotel nearby at the time. According to him, she dropped it in his car while he gave Louis and Roxanne a ride. In the days that followed, her family received a few tips suggesting that she was spotted in the Amarillo area around the time she disappeared.

Roxanne Paltauf’s Family Has Lost Hope of Finding Her Alive

A couple of years passed, and there was still no sign of Roxanne Paltauf. Still, her family, especially her sisters, did not give up as they requested all of Roxanne’s phone records from her mobile network — T-Mobile. Upon getting their hands on the records, Ronica, Rosa, and Rubi Paltauf went through them multiple times, focusing on the records of July 7, 2006, and nearby dates in search of some clues. On August 28, 2011, the family furthered their search for the missing 18-year-old by creating a Facebook page called Missing Roxanne Elizabeth Paltauf to raise awareness about the case.

Image Credit: Rosa Paltauf/KVUE

In May 2019, nearly 13 years after Roxanne’s disappearance, the sisters noticed something strange in the phone bills from the fateful night — roaming charges on several calls. According to reports, the bill showed additional charges for 12 calls between 6:44 pm and 8:42 pm, around the time when Roxanne left the hotel, as per Louis’ claims. Talking to KVUE, Rosa Paltauf expressed her opinion, saying, “She didn’t walk out the hotel room. We both know that. If you were arguing, why would you take off your valuables, leave your cell phone, and then just storm out?”

Following this revelation, the authorities revisited the case and filed a search warrant for Roxanne’s cell phone data records. As per Rosalynn, the detectives might be able to get to the bottom of the case but since several years have passed after the vanishing of her sister, she doesn’t have hopes of seeing her missing sister alive. Rosalynn elaborated on the same while talking with Fox 7 Austin, “We’re after finding Roxanne and bringing her home, and having her home with us, and laying her to rest, and have a place to go and mourn and grieve, and actually go through that grieving process.”

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