On the early morning of March 18, 2000, joggers along Canyon Creek Road in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest spotted clothes scattered and tied to the trees. Their investigation led them to discover a white Jeep that had rolled down the embankment. They would soon discover that the abandoned vehicle was a key clue in an ongoing missing persons investigation that remains unsolved to this day.

A trail gone cold in a Washington forest

The crashed Jeep belonged to Leah Roberts, a then-23-year-old native of South Carolina. Leah had been reported missing by her sister, Kara, three days prior (March 13) in Durham, where Leah grew up and lived with her roommate, Nicole Bennett. Kara last spoke to Leah on March 9; her roommate Nicole also noticed her car missing that same day.

White jeep crashed down a forested embankment
Unsolved Mysteries - Full Episodes via YouTube

Thanks to circumstances that allowed Kara to check her sister's financial accounts, it took just a couple of days to track Leah's route from North Carolina, headed west with the latest receipt at a gas station in Brooks, Oregon on March 13 - the same day Kara had reported her missing.

Leah's Jeep was believed to have been tampered with. This, combined with the lack of blood inside the vehicle, leads police to suspect that the car may have been intentionally wrecked without a driver at the wheel.

Why was Leah Roberts in Washington?

Leah left clues behind, including notes both in her room in Durham and in her abandoned Jeep. She'd left behind money to pay for bills while she was gone, and added in this note, "I'm not suicidal. I am the opposite." Near this she had also written April 23 (perhaps the day she intended to return) and "On The Road," a reference to the novel by Jack Kerouac.

From these clues, investigators determined that Leah Roberts, who had recently become a fan of Kerouac and his rambling across the United States, had decided to take it upon herself to go on the road in a journey of self-discovery. She had lost both her parents in recent years, and suffered a terrible accident, leaving her a young adult seeking answers in the face of adversity.

We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one noble function of the time, move. - Kerouac, On The Road
Bellis Fair, Bellingham, WA

Over 20 years later, Leah Roberts is still missing.

Leah Roberts' last reported sighting was on March 13 in Bellevue, Washington. She had purchased a ticket to see American Beauty at a theatre in Bellis Fair, then eaten at a neighboring restaurant. Where she went after that - and when exactly between then and the discovery of her Jeep on March 18 - remains a mystery.

Only one, potentially credible, clue remains - a potential spotting at a Texaco station in Everett, Washington. Leah's case remains open with Whatcom County.

For more details on the case, watch the Unsolved Mysteries episode below.

► READ MORE: Getting Creepy in Washington - Ghost Towns and True Crime 


Missing Persons in Washington State

The gallery of persons currently listed as missing on the MUPU list in Washington State. Each picture contains the missing person's name, when they went missing, and which law enforcement agency to contact if you know something that could help.

Gallery Credit: Brian Stephenson

60 Missing Children From Washington. Do You Recognize Anyone?

I remember seeing missing children's images on It's every parent's nightmare. When children go missing from home, school, anywhere, fear sets in. Who took the child or teen? What happened? Please take a look at these missing children images. One of these kids could be your neighbor, friend, or family member. Do you have any information about any of these missing people?

Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

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