KERNERSVILLE, NC -- A Christmas stocking with the name “Martin” on it hangs from the mantle of the Roberts' home in Kernersville – a symbol of hope for father John Roberts that his son will return home safely.

“Martin had a bit of a sweet tooth,” said Roberts. “He would always tear into the stocking to find out what kind of candy that he had.”

Holiday celebrations aren't the same as they used to be for the Roberts’ family.

John Roberts' son Martin went missing in Boone over a year and a half ago when he was 19 years old.

“Holidays are tough because they're about family and it's about getting together,” said Roberts. “It's a time that can be very emotional for everybody and definitely tough for us.”

He was last seen near Appalachian State University Convocation Center on April 21, 2016.

Neither police nor his parents know what happened.

“We really don't,” said Roberts. “We don't have any idea.”

Earlier this year, the Boone Police Department brought in new detectives to give a fresh set of eyes on the case.

Roberts says they looked through Martin's emails and phone records for clues but haven’t been able to produce any new substantial leads.

“They told us on day one that you have hope until you have a reason not to have hope,” said Roberts.

Roberts is holding on to that hope for as long as it takes.

“We've had hope from day one and I will continue to. But it's tough as every day goes by,” said Roberts.

This Christmas, he only wants one thing.

“We just want him back. If not, we just want to know he's safe and have a good Christmas for everybody,” said Roberts.

If you have any information on Roberts' whereabouts, you're asked to call Boone Police at (828) 268-6900.

In honor of Martin, this holiday season, John Roberts and his wife, Abby, are focusing their efforts on helping seniors.

They're volunteering through a program called "Be a Santa to a Senior" -- making sure local seniors have a gift for Christmas.

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