Martin Roberts still missing 5 years later; family hopes new age-progression photo leads to answers

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Time is standing still for the parents of James “Martin” Roberts.

Roberts grew up in Kernersville and is still missing after disappearing five years ago in Boone. He was last seen on the campus of Appalachian State University in Aprill 2016.

“It seems like a lifetime on one hand, and it doesn’t seem like it’s been any time at all. It definitely doesn’t seem like five years, that just doesn’t seem possible,” John Roberts said.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently released a new age-progression photo of Roberts. Roberts was 19 when he disappeared. He would be 24 now and the new photo shows what police believe he could look like today.

“Seeing something that has been aged five years, definitely did not look like Martin at first and then I had to kind of set it down and go away from it for a while but when I came back to it later on, I started seeing well that could be how he looks today. So, it’s an eerie process, to say the least,” John Roberts said.

Roberts was last seen near the Appalachian State University Convocation Center. A letter was found in his room indicating he was leaving everyone behind but made no mention of harming himself.

Extensive search efforts by the Boone Police Departments and other agencies have resulted in dead ends.

Roberts’ father, John, hopes the age-progression photo will lead to answers.

“Just never know where that one clue or piece of evidence is going to come from that could really blow things open,” John Roberts said.

More than anything, he just wants to know his son is OK.

“We continue to have hope until there is a reason not to. And there are days that are good and days that are bad and there’s phone calls that you dread getting but so far, in the end, we haven’t had any phone calls that really give us a definitive answer, so we continue to have hope,” John Roberts said.

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