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Missing in America

Parents of Missing College Student Martin Roberts Plead for Answers

James 'Martin' Roberts Boone Police Department

“If you see this, please come home or contact us. We love you.” Those are the words the parents of missing college student James ‘Martin’ Roberts want their son to hear.

The 19-year-old, who goes by his middle name ‘Martin,’ was last seen on April 21, in Boone, North Carolina near the Appalachian State University campus.

“We’re minute-by-minute right now,” John Roberts, Martin’s father, told Dateline. “All we care about is that he’s safe.”

Boone Police are following numerous tips that have been reported, but so far none has led to Martin.

“We are pulling every string to see where it leads,” Sgt. Shane Robbins of the Boone Police Department told Dateline. “We’ve had detectives working all weekend on this. And we’re going to continue doing everything we can to find this young man.”

Martin reportedly did not have his cell phone with him and did not have access to a vehicle, which makes his disappearance troubling to his family. Police are not suspecting foul play at this point, but they are concerned as it is “very out of character” for Martin to not be in contact with his loved ones.

A possible sighting brought some hope, when someone said they may have seen the teen Thursday afternoon in a place he frequented, the Trout Lake area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But an infrared search of the area Saturday by a highway patrol helicopter found nothing.

Martin is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Appalachian, but is currently is taking classes at Caldwell Community College. He plans to re-enroll in the university this fall. The teen loves to spend time outdoors, hiking and camping around the Blue Ridge Parkway and the areas around the Appalachian Mountains.

And it’s apparent from social media how many people love him. John Roberts describes his son as an, “outgoing, very friendly, jokester kind of guy who can make friends with just about anyone.” In the days since he was reported missing, his large network of friends has been posting photos of themselves with Martin on Facebook, and urging anyone with information to call police.

Martin’s family has traveled the few hours from their home in Kernersville to Boone to aid in whatever way they can. Several searches have been conducted and fliers have been hung around town. They are pleading with the public to report anything they may know.

“Please just call the police. They are doing a fantastic job and doing everything they can do. They just need whatever information is out there,” John said.

Until that information comes in, the Roberts family is simply holding its breath. “Someone or something is going to turn this, and we just want to find that someone or something as quickly as possible,” John told Dateline. “We just want to find Martin, give him a hug around the neck and go home.”

James ‘Martin’ Roberts is described as 5’10” tall, weighing 145 lbs. with light brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a black, short-sleeved shirt, an Appalachian State windbreaker, khaki shorts, gray sneakers and a white golf visor.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the Boone Police Department at (828) 268-6900, High County Crime Stoppers at (828) 268-6959.