SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — “I still cry about him all the time,” Lana Wells said.
Lana Wells and her daughters have been searching for Travis Roberson for 16 years.
“Every single day we were just wondering where he is,” Sonya Roberson said. “Is he okay, is he dead, is he hurt?”
Travis was last seen late at night with friends out on Dickson Street on February 28, 2006.
“He said he wasn’t feeling well, they said to go to the car and we’ll gather everyone up and leave,” Kesha Roberson said.
When his friends got back, Travis was nowhere to be found. His sister Kesha reported him missing to Siloam Springs police the next day.
“We lived here, I reported it to the nearest police department,” Kesha said.
The family sensed Travis was in danger. He was epileptic, involved with drugs, and told his family he was a witness for a federal narcotics trial with a court date coming up.
“He told mom, he said ‘if I don’t show up to court, you’re going to have to worry about me,'” Sonya said.
A few days after his disappearance, Travis didn’t show up to court. His mother then reported him missing to Fayetteville police.
“I know someone has to know what happened and they won’t say anything,” Lana said.
After six years and no answers, the Robersons turned to the media for help. What they learned was devastating.
“No one was looking into the case,” Angela Taylor said.
Former news anchor Angela Taylor pressed police for information.
“I said, ‘what is going on – why are you not giving us information,'” Taylor said. “This family is missing their brother, their son like you have to do something, and that’s sort of what got the ball rolling.”
Her investigation revealed a miscommunication led to a costly mistake.
“What I found was the two departments weren’t in contact whatsoever and Siloam Springs had closed the case so essentially no one was investigating,” Taylor said.
She learned Siloam Springs thought it had successfully transferred the case to Fayetteville since that’s where Travis was last seen so Siloam Springs closed the case. The whole time, Fayetteville thought it was just an assisting agency.
“We’re talking six years,” Taylor said. “Think of evidence, witnesses, all of that is now gone.”
After Taylor’s report aired in 2012, Siloam Springs and Fayetteville police apologized to Travis’s family. They gave them what information and documents they could but it would take years to rebuild a relationship.
“We felt betrayed and hurt most of all,” Sonya said. “Betrayed and hurt because something should’ve been done.”
According to the documents, a few things were done. Siloam Springs entered Travis into a national database for missing people. Detectives also exchanged emails about whether remains found in Oklahoma could be Travis and were concerned about Travis’s involvement in the federal narcotics trial.
“We got together on that and scoured our department and records and it’s one of those things that slipped through the cracks, it’s sad to say,” Captain Derek Spicer said.
In 2012, Siloam Springs police took over the case as the lead investigating agency.
Spicer has since worked closely on it, essentially starting from scratch. He says Travis’s case hasn’t gone cold. Even today, they’re tracking down tips that come into their office.
“We truly believe there are people close to the Robersons that know absolutely what happened to Travis or where Travis is – one or the other,” Spicer said.
All while the family waits for someone to come forward with information.
“Whether we have his body or remains, we just want closure,” Kesha said.
Travis is 5’9 with brown hair and weighs about 180 pounds.
If you have any information regarding his case, contact the Siloam Springs Police Department at 479-524-4118.