Real Name: Leah Toby Roberts
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Date: March 9, 2000
Occupation: Occupation Unknown
Date of Birth: July 23, 1976
Weight: 130 lbs.
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Sandy blonde hair, blue eyes. Surgical scar on right hip, metal rod inside entire length of her right femur, and a beauty mark above her upper lip. Pierced ears
Details: Twenty-three-year-old college senior Leah Roberts loved to travel, and on March 9, 2000, she left her home in North Carolina for a cross-country trip that lasted just three days and never returned. Investigators still don't know what happened. Two weeks after she left, her jeep was found wrecked down an embankment in Whatcom County, Washington, by a couple jogging along Canyon Creek Road. The road is a side route of the Mount Baker Highway that serves some isolated residences and logging camps in and around Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest a short distance south of the Canadian border.
She had reached Bellingham, Washington, by March 13, five days before the car was found. Her belongings, including shoes, clothing, books, CDs, her checkbook, and guitar were found in and around the jeep and inside they found food for her missing cat, Bea, a gas receipt, and a movie stub for "American Beauty". However, there was no body, blood, signs of a struggle, and a large scale search found nothing.
Robbery didn't appear to be the motive because several thousand dollars were found in the car, and a strange thing that investigators found was that blankets were covering the windows as if keeping out the rain. Also, investigators determined that the car had been travelling at least forty miles per hour when it crashed. However, there was no evidence that the driver had been injured. There was also no evidence that the car had gone off of the cliff without a driver.
Authorities searched into her background and learned that she had been on a spiritual quest; her parents had both passed away recently and she had been in a near-fatal car accident. Also, she had dropped out of school a few weeks before her road trip and instead stayed at a coffee shop in Durham, North Carolina. While there, she spent hours writing in her journal and creating poetry about the meaning of life.
She was also enamored of 1950s beatnik Jack Kerouac and was especially interested by one of his autobiographies, "Dharma Burns", about leaving middle class life and going on a journey in the area where she vanished. She also wrote a note to her roommate about how she was not suicidal and implied that she was going to go on a journey like Jack Kerouac.
An anonymous tipster called investigators a few days after the disappearance and said that he and his wife were certain that they had seen her at a Texaco gas station in Everett, about thirty miles from Seattle. She appeared confused and disoriented. Cops considered the tip valid until the man hung up without giving his name. They hope that the man will come forward with more information.
Friends and family say there are numerous theories as to what may have happened to her. Perhaps the accident was staged and she left voluntarily to live like Jack Kerouac. Another theory is that she survived the car accident and was picked up by a killer while hitchhiking. It is also possible that she received a head injury in the crash and may have developed amnesia or other mental problems. Some believe she may have died elsewhere, and that her killer drove the Jeep over the embankment. Her family and friends still want to know what happened to her and they are offering a $10,000 reward for information.
Suspects: Before Leah vanished, the police received information that she was seen leaving a local Bellingham, Washington restaurant with an unknown individual. The identity of this person is unknown but unreliable. Recent examination of her car has uncovered sabotage of her car that might have sent it careening to where it found. Fingerprints and male DNA on the clothes in her car have not been linked to a known donor.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 13, 2001 episode. It was also featured on the TV series Disappeared.
- Leah Roberts on Unsolved.com
- Leah Roberts at Wikipedia
- Leah Roberts Missing Facebook Page
- Disappeared: Leah Roberts, missing 13 years
- 13 years later, where is Leah Roberts?
- Questions surround disappearance of Raleigh woman
- Leah Roberts at Orton's Crime Blog