KERNERSVILLE, NC – It’s been nearly one year since Martin Roberts went missing and now his family in Kernersville is going to new lengths to bring him home.
Roberts was 19-years-old when he went missing on April 21, 2016.
He was last seen near the Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone.
Martin’s father, John Roberts, is still in shock.
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“At times, it's very surreal. I just can't believe it's true,” said Roberts. “You figure you're just going to wake up from a bad dream.”
The Roberts family and police have been following leads – trying to figure out what happened to him, but they’ve come up empty each time.
Now, they're asking for the community’s help to solve the mystery of their son’s disappearance.
“It can be debilitating. It can hit you hard emotionally,” said Roberts. “You can't focus, you can't move forward. It's hard to stay on path with whatever you may be doing on any given day or any given moment.”
Martin Roberts was raised in Kernersville and found his passion at an early age.
His dad says he started playing “organized” soccer at the age of three.
He played on the Kernersville Middle School soccer team and was a team aptain at East Forsyth High School.
“He loved the game, he loved the competition, he loved playing with and against his buddies,” said Roberts.
Now, Robert’s is trying to spread that love to the community.
They’re handing out soccer balls to local kids in need and they’re asking the community to donate soccer balls to local non-profit organizations.
“Carry it down to the local YMCA, rec center, Boys and Girls Club, wherever they may have children that may not be able to afford their own soccer ball,” said Roberts.
Roberts says he wants to continue his son’s legacy through giving and sharing with others.
“Time is very precious. You never know what one day is going to bring,” said Roberts. “That time should be appreciated. Hopefully the soccer ball will bring some enjoyment to some kids.”
In the process, he hopes somebody will come forward with the one piece of information that could bring Martin home.
“Maybe he will see this message right here and decide it's time to come home to see his family,” said Roberts. “That's what we're hoping and praying for.”
The Roberts’ family is hosting an event next week to mark the one year milestone of Martin’s disappearance.
Friends and family will gather at the athletic fields at the Southminster Presbyterian Church (1401 Hoffman Road, Gastonia, NC 28054) at 6:30 PM on Friday, April 21, 2017.
The event is open to the public and the family will be collecting soccer balls to donate.
If you decide to donate a soccer ball, the family requests that you tell the organization which receives your donation about Martin Roberts’ story.
Print one of the “Missing” posters and post it at their facility or post a link to this story on their website.
Police have no new leads in the search for Martin Roberts.
The investigative team is planning to meet next week to revisit the case.
Roberts says the team is bringing in a new investigator as a “fresh set of eyes” on the case.
Anyone with any additional information relating to Martin’s disappearance should contact: Boone, NC Police Department: 828-268-6900 or High County Crime Stoppers: 828-268-6959 or 828-737-0125.