Details of Disappearance Roberts's loved ones said that she was interested in learning more about her spirituality in 2000. She was coping with the deaths of both of her parents and had been seriously injured in an automobile accident several years prior to her disappearance.
Roberts dropped out of college in Durham, North Carolina during her senior year in 2000 and spent most of her time at Cup 'O Joe, a coffeehouse in the city.
She wrote poetry and journal entries during the day and was intrigued with the writings of Jack Kerouac, the 1950s beatnik author. One of Roberts's favorite novels was Kerouac's 1958 autobiographical book, Dharma Bums, which was set in the Whatcom County, Washington area.
Roberts loved traveling and set out for the northwest United States on March 9, 2000. She did not share her plans with her loved ones, but did leave a note for her roommate. Roberts stated in the letter that she was not suicidal and mentioned her fascination with Kerouac's writings.
Roberts took her kitten, Bea, and drove her white 1993 Jeep Cherokee with the North Carolina license plate number JVP-2881.
Roberts's vehicle was discovered wrecked and abandoned on a logging road in Whatcom County, Washington on March 18, 2000, nine days after she left North Carolina. The Jeep was located near an embankment off of Mount Baker Highway at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, which is approximately 85 miles north of Seattle, Washington.
Authorities discovered a fuel purchase receipt dated during the early morning hours of March 13 from Brooks, Oregon inside Roberts's vehicle. A ticket stub for a March 13 showing of the film American Beauty at the theater in Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, Washington was also recovered. Cat food was found inside the Jeep as well.
Roberts's guitar, compact discs and checkbook were scattered near the scene. $2,500 was tucked inside a pair of her pants. Blankets had been placed over the vehicle's broken windows, signaling that someone had sought protection from the elements.
There was no sign of Roberts or her kitten at the scene and no evidence of foul play was discovered.
A witness told authorities that he and his wife believed they saw Roberts at a Texaco gas station in Everett, Washington shortly after her vehicle was found abandoned. The man said that the woman appeared to be disoriented and did not recall her identity.
He terminated his conversation with investigators before he could provide additional details. Authorities believe his sighting was valid and that the man panicked during the phone call for undetermined reasons.
There are several theories as to what may have happened to Roberts. Investigators believe that she may have headed towards Mount Baker Highway after her accident and was possibly picked up by a passing motorist. She may have suffered injuries during the wreck and could have been disoriented, as the witness stated, as a result of her condition.
Some people have speculated that an unknown individual was driving Roberts's vehicle at the time of the accident and that foul play may have been involved in her disappearance. There is little evidence to support any theory regarding her whereabouts. Extensive searches of the area around her wreck provided few clues in her disappearance.
Roberts was a soccer player during her college years. Her case remains unsolved.
- Whatcom County Sheriff's Office
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 30, 2008; picture added.