10 years later, missing person case remains open
by the Foothills Gazette
COUNTY – It has been 10 years since Leah T. Roberts, of Durham, North Carolina, went missing in Whatcom County. Local authorities say there have been no substantial leads in her case, and are hoping public notification will generate some information.
Roberts left her hometown on March 9, 2000 in her 1993 white Jeep Cherokee. She did not advise anyone of her destination, including family members, officials said. Nine days later, on March 18, passing citizens found her vehicle flipped over an embankment off of Canyon Creek Road and reported it to 911. The car was completely wrecked, and clothing was found in the trees, but there was no sign of Roberts, or any other occupant(s).
Receipts in the vehicle showed gasoline was purchased in Brooks, Oregon in the early morning hours of Monday, March 13, 2000. A ticket found in the jeep was purchased later that afternoon from the theater at Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham for the movie “American Beauty.” Cat food was also found in the jeep, leading investigators to suspect she took her kitten from North Carolina.
There were no signs of foul play, and all of her belongings appeared to be in the car, including $2,500 in cash, her guitar, passport, credit card, driver’s license, and her mother’s engagement ring, which according to family members had sentimental value to Leah. Her parents had recently passed away.
According to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Detective Unit, an extensive ground and air search was made, however there was no sign of Leah. Her vehicle remains in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office.
Several years ago, an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” aired concerning the mystery surrounding Leah’s disappearance. Reruns of the episode has aired, producing some reported sightings throughout the U.S. and Canada, but none are substantial.
Leah’s case also aired on “Larry King Live” on CNN in November 2005. Monica Caison, founder of the Community United Effort for Missing Persons, spoke about Leah’s disappearance. In addition to the 50/50 chance that Leah was injured in the vehicle accident or could have amnesia, Caison said, “She could have been abducted as she walked out of there or that she ran into foul play and they staged it.”
In 2000, an anonymous tipster called investigators a few days after Leah’s disappearance and said his wife had seen Leah at a Texaco gas station in Everett. She appeared, he said, to be confused and disoriented. Before authorities could get more information from the man, including his name, he panicked and hung up.
Although 10 years has passed, her missing person case has remained open and active.
Leah’s sister, Kara, stated in past media interviews, “Leah was a young woman who was lost. You know by the time Leah was 22 she had lost both of her parents and here she is on the verge of graduating from college and I think she just really felt lost and didn’t have a lot of direction and I feel like she took this trip as a soul-searching trip…I think she just needed to go and get away to clear her mind.”
Anyone with information about Leah Roberts should contact the Detective Unit of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office at 360-676-6650. Leah’s family maintains a website at www.findleah.org.