‘I follow up on every single lead’: Boone PD investigator seeks new leads on anniversary of 19-year-old’s disappearance

19-year-old James Martin Roberts was reported missing on April 21, 2016.
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 9:41 PM EDT
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BOONE, N.C. (WBTV) - Nineteen-year-old James Martin Roberts was reported missing on April 21, 2016.

It has now been six years since Roberts disappeared and his whereabouts remain a mystery.

He was last seen near the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University. Martin had previously attended the university but was not a student at the time he went missing.

Sgt. Candace Burlingame of the Boone Police Department has been the lead investigator on the case since 2017. She spoke to WBTV via Zoom Thursday evening.

“Over time you get to know Martin’s family and I would just like to be able to, not just as a police officer, but on a human level, give them some closer,” said Burlingame.

She explained that Roberts didn’t give any indication to others as to where he might have gone.

“We don’t have any information that indicated to us where Martin might have been headed to,” said Burlingame.

In the day’s following Roberts’ disappearance, law enforcement searched all over Boone, scouring the mountainous terrain looking for any sign of the missing 19-year-old. Unfortunately, Roberts’ whereabouts are still unknown.

“At this point in our investigation, we don’t have any information that would lead us to believe foul play was involved,” noted Burlingame.

The Boone Police Department is publicizing the anniversary of Roberts’ disappearance to help generate new leads in the case. The agency also released an age-progression photograph to show what Martin Roberts might look like now.

Sgt. Burlingame said Roberts’ family has been incredible and she really wants to help them.

“I would love more than anything to provide closure to Martin’s family. I follow up on every single lead - every single lead that people provide to me,” said Burlingame. “I just want the public to know that we have not closed Martin’s case. Martin’s case is an active case and every single case, or every single call that we receive, we follow up on.”

Anyone with information about Roberts’ disappearance or a possible sighting should call the Boone Police Department at 828-268-6900.

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