Richard Dean Roberts

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Above Images: Roberts, circa 1995

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: February 1, 1995 from Hayden, Colorado
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: January 5, 1944
  • Age: 51 years old
  • Height and Weight: 6'0, 220 - 270 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Graying red hair, brown eyes. Roberts's nickname is Dick. He may use the alias names Chester Roberts, Dean Roberts, Dean Thayer, Dick Thayer and/or Richard Thayer. He is a chain-smoker.
  • Medical Conditions: Roberts suffers from seasonal affective disorder, which causes him to become depressed during the winter months.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Roberts was last seen in Hayden, Colorado on February 1, 1995. He had been mayor of the town for about three years. At 8:30 p.m. that day, Roberts told the town clerk he would be unable to attend the council's bi-monthly meeting later that week. After speaking to her, he went and had a cup of coffee at a local restaurant. He has never been heard from again. Roberts was reported missing on February 9, but the police didn't actually begin investigating until a few days after that. He consulted for oil companies and to this end he often took business trips to other counties and states for days at a time, so his loved ones were initially unconcerned by his absence.

    When authorities checked Roberts's home in the 300 block of west Lincoln Avenue, they found no evidence that he'd planned to be gone for an extended period. The door was unlocked and the apartment was untidy, which is uncharacteristic of him. There were dirty dishes in the sink, his coffee pot was half-full, his answering machine was turned off and his computer was turned on. He'd left behind all his belongings, including his favorite shoes, his shaving kit and his coat. He also left a card he'd bought for his younger daughter's upcoming birthday. His wallet, car keys, a pistol and a .22-caliber rifle were missing.

    On February 27, a rancher found Roberts's gray and white 1991 extended cab Ford pickup truck on private property in a desert area in Grand County, Utah, near the Colorado state line and not far from Grand Junction, Colorado, where Roberts's ex-wife and children lived. The truck was parked about 100 feet offroad in a clump of trees, as if whoever put it there didn't want it to be found. There were three indistinct footprints nearby, and inside the truck were a pair of boots and a jacket. All but one of the sets of fingerprints on the vehicle have been accounted for and there were no indications of foul play. The truck was the last trace of Roberts. It was parked twelve miles from the nearest highway, and his loved ones can't think of a reason why he would have gone there.

    One theory is that Roberts took his own life. He suffered from seasonal depression and he was out of work and in debt at the time of his disappearance, he was reportedly drinking heavily, and he was having problems with his girlfriend. He was only paid about $100 a month for being mayor, and he hadn't worked any of his secondary jobs since October 1994. There is little evidence to support suicide or any other theory, however.

    Roberts was born in Cody, Wyoming, but he grew up in Colorado and graduated high school in the city of Craig. He worked as a truck driver and construction worker and is described as a quiet, shy man. He and his wife divorced in 1988 after a sixteen-year marriage, but they remained in close contact. He has two daughters and one stepdaughter, all of whom were young adults in 1995. His case remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Hayden Police Department
    970-276-2535

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    Source Information
    The Steamboat Pilot
    The Denver Post
    The Rocky Mountain News
    The Doe Network
    Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons
    Colorado Bureau of Investigation
    NamUs

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    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated August 21, 2016; distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.

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