“There are no good-byes, wherever we are, you’ll always be in my heart”. Anonymous
GONE MISSING at age 23! Leah was an adventurous young woman from Durham, North Carolina who was inspired and grieving. If this combination was flirting with disaster only Leah, her perpetrator(s), and perhaps the well honed experience of Monica Caison, Founder of the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for the Missing would know in their heart of hearts.
Leah Roberts’ story is not a story in the sense of entertainment, rather, it is a true account with certain known facts, but also shrouded in mystery, possibilities, hypotheses, innuendo and lots of unsubstantiated speculation. The fact that CUE Center volunteers decided to “form a caravan” on a grueling 14-day trip to retrace Leah’s route and inform the media of all those who were missing while performing this search, is the heart and soul of the “On Road to Remember Tour” and the reason for this blog.
What is the Road to Remember Tour? In the Words of Monica Caison:
“On the Road to Remember, National tour ” is an awareness campaign focusing on missing persons cases that have gone cold or have not received appropriate media coverage on the local level – much less the national level.. The tour, which travels through many states annually, provides that attention. Each year particular regions of the country are selected with “more interest growing “along the way.
In all cases of missing people, it is vital to inform the public of the missing person’s circumstances quickly and to disseminate that information to the media and the public. In most cases where details are released immediately to the public through an organized campaign, the public brings forth information that aids in the investigation and or the location of the victim. The media plays a significant role in getting the word out on the behalf of the missing person and should be recognized as a vital resource to any investigation.
Interest in many of the cases we have featured in previous tours has been renewed. The media have learned about local cases they were unaware of; case investigations have been renewed, and searches conducted. Information has resulted in new leads in some cases, and has even helped identify an unknown decedent and in 2008 solved a cold case of twenty-eight years. Finally, with each tour, some of the missing persons featured have been found through various efforts. This is the main reason the Cue Center conducts the tour despite the toll it takes on our all-volunteer staff.
It is the belief of the CUE Center for Missing Persons that all investigations, the public, volunteers and the media should work in collaboration on cases involving missing children and adults; until this happens, their will continue to be cases of the missing labeled “cold” or “inactive.”
WHAT IS A RALLY STOP?
A rally stop is a place that is pre set by anyone who wishes to host one for suggested missing person(s). Once a location is secured CUE will inform the host of time and date of arrival. Each stop is one hour and a half long for whatever program the host wishes to have and feature; this is the time to bring an awareness to your community of missing persons.
Returning to Leah Roberts:
Events and known facts will be listed here and perhaps some of the “theories” if only for the purpose of creating legitimate leads, jogging memories or “growing a conscience;”
- Vital Statistics: Caucasian Female; DOB – 7-23-1976; 5’ 6” 130 pounds; sandy blonde hair blue eyes;
- Distinguishing Marks: Pierced ears, dimples, Surgical scar on right hip, metal rod- femur –secondary to previous car accident
- Habits- Lifestyle – Vegetarian, smoker, Fluent Spanish speaker, strong southern dialect;
- Leah spent much time at Cup O’ Joe’s Coffee House
- One person on-line had this to say about this spot on Hillsborough Street: “Well, I spend my Saturday afternoons at Cup A Joe on Hillsborough Street. I sit in the back and smoke cigars and work on my laptop. To me, it’s comfortable and the coffee is strong and the cookies are good, but the clientele can be a little weird. They are interesting to look at, though.” (Driving distance from Durham to Hillsborough is 14 miles). This may have been the correct location;
- Leah dabbled in poetry, and was influenced in outlook at that time in her life by poet, Author, and Journalist, Jack Kerouac. His public persona and his talented works were a contradiction in terms. His 1951 book ‘”On the Road” no doubt inspired Leah as she set out on her adventure to “find herself and her true calling in life after many losses. (From Biography.com: “On the Road,” a barely fictionalized account of these road trips packed with sex, drugs and jazz. Kerouac’s writing of On the Road in 1951 is the stuff of legend: He wrote the entire novel over one three-week bender of frenzied composition, on a single scroll of paper that was 120 feet long.” Jack died in 1969 of alcoholism and an abdominal hemorrhage at age 47.)
When Last Seen:
- Wearing several pieces of gold, diamond and gem jewelry including 14 carat gold earrings, .3 caret ruby stones, 3 rings on her right hand, 14 caret white gold ring set with .45 carat emerald cut diamond with 2 .07 carat baguette diamonds. (Jewelry may have belonged to her deceased Mother)
- Leah left college in Durham, North Carolina during her senior year –Year 2000;
- She left on a cross-country trip on March 9, 2000 and arriving om the west coast in just three days;
- Leah did not share her specific plans (in true adventurous spirit), but did notify her roommate that she was not suicidal;
- Her 1993 white Jeep Cherokee was found down an embankment wrecked without her as driver or passenger ~ 90 miles north of Seattle; The jeep was located on a logging road in Whatcom County, Washington (setting from a Kerouac novel) nine days after she left North Carolina;
- Belongings found and identified: Cat Food, guitar, compact discs, checkbook , movie ticket stub, and $2,500 tucked in the pocket of a pair of pants, credit card and driver’s license,
- Other Observations: No cat was located or signs of foul play, blankets covered the broken windows (as cover from the elements “for someone”);
- Reportedly she spent just $100.00 in eight days of travel;
- Sightings: A witness supposedly observed Leah and called in a tip from at a Texaco gas Station. The man claimed he and his wife observed her 30 moles from the scene of the crash. She was disoriented and did not know her identity. He abruptly ended the call, perhaps out of panic. Police feel this tip was credible. Reports of the Investigation Discovery show, “Disappeared” revealed that her Jeep may have been tampered with– to accelerate on its own;
- In a Foothills Gazette.com article, Monica Caison is quoted as saying, “She could have been abducted as she walked out of there or that she ran into foul play and they staged it.”
- “Theories” & Speculation: Picked up by a passing motorist while injured and disoriented on Mount baker Highway with an unknown assailant driving her vehicle where foul play ensued; Abduction & Kidnapping; Leah “staged the crash and decided to start a new life”; Leah wrecked her jeep, hitchhiked to get help, and was kidnapped by someone, Leah wrecked her jeep, hit her head, and is alive with some sort of amnesia.
Leah was kidnapped sometime before her car crashed, and the kidnapper crashed her car.
- Leah told two men at a bar-restaurant at lunch she was travelling alone; The perpetrator is a mechanic who tampered with her car and fled to Canada with-without her; She spent the night “in nature” and was removed from the car; A sexual sadist was involved as there was no robbery. And on and on…. In the past, Leah’s sister, Kara, stated, “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.”
- Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office
Det. Mark Joseph
Whatcom County Dispatch Center
Tour Reviews from previous years:
…….. “a success, a blessing, “a perpetual voice for missing persons everywhere.”
“This group of compassionate people who work harder than I ever imagined, stays on top of every detail, and at the same time, has time for the family, letting them know they are being heard, and helps in guiding them through what many have already endured first hand.” (Judi Jordan)
We honor Leah wherever she may be in 2014. We will never give up searching for her! It matters not what her reasons were to experience her adventure in the manner she did. She was a free spirit, wanting to enjoy life until evil stepped in her path and the occurrence of circumstances beyond her control. The Community United Effort stands read to take action and mend hearts all across the nation for missing persons.
I am so proud to be standing with CUE during their stop in New Haven, Connecticut this year as we honor 2014 National Honoree, Donna Ingersoll, missing from Waubesha, Minnesota since 1990.
PLEASE participate and support the Road to Remember Tour when it comes to your geographic location this year! It is vital to recognize these families and to create increased awareness such that loved ones can, at last be located and a sense of resolution achieved.”
IN THE AFTERMATH OF CRIME: For families of the missing and unsolved homicides who need assistance with completing a customized Victim Impact Statement, See link and contact me