*This article initially misstated the counties in which Resaca and Chatsworth are located. It has been corrected to show Resaca is located in Gordon County and Chatsworth in Murray County.*
Keeslyn Noell Roberts was born on October 22, 1999 to her parents, Shannon and Eric Roberts. The pair’s only child, she was better known by her nickname of “Butterfly” and was the centre of her parents’ world. The family lived in Dalton, Georgia, where Eric ran his own trucking company, Eric Roberts Trucking.
Growing up, Keeslyn is described has having been a good kid with a big heart. In her later years, she would get mixed up with what her father describes as the “wrong crowd”, who introduced her to drugs. This resulted on her sometimes ending up on the wrong side of the law. In March 2018, she was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of marijuana, possession of tools for the commission of crime, use of communication facilities in drug transactions, and possession and use of drug-related objects. Nearly two years later, in January 2020, she was arrested and charged with the sale of methamphetamine.
At the time of her disappearance in 2020, she was said to be living with her boyfriend in Chatsworth, Murray County, Georgia.
LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:
On January 17, 2020, Keeslyn was scheduled to attend a probation meeting with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office in relation to her 2018 charges. She failed to attend the meeting and thus a warrant for violation of probation was issued in her name.
Keeslyn was last seen on January 18, 2020 at the Flying J off I-75 at 288 Resaca Beach Boulevard in Resaca, Gordon County, Georgia. According to a press release issued by the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, officers responded to a 911 call that day in regards to a suspicious female, presumed to be Keeslyn, at the truck stop. It’s reported that she had entered an employee-only kitchen area, where she had an altercation with an employee of the attached Denny’s restaurant. She hastily left before officers arrived, but had left behind her backpack, which an employee handed over to the police. Inside were her wallet, debit card, ID, some cash and her phone charger.
There are some outlets that have stated she told witnesses that she was at the truck stop because she had arranged a meeting with an unnamed male. However, this has not been elaborated on.
On January 20, 2020, her family was searching for her when they came upon her white Toyota Corolla parked in the far corner of the back parking lot of the Flying J. They found the majority of her belongings still inside, including her purse, but could find no sign of her in the area. While Keeslyn was officially reported missing with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office that day, investigators would not be made aware of the vehicle’s discovery until a few days later, on January 29.
Initially, the case was handled jointly by both the Murray and Gordon County Sheriff’s Offices. As of October 2020, it has since been taken over by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, according to the family.
There was initially a rumour that Keeslyn had simply been staying with her boyfriend, as she was known to be living with him at the time. However, when spoken to by Eric, he revealed that he hadn’t seen his girlfriend in a few days.
Any phone calls to Keeslyn’s cellphone go straight to voicemail. It’s believed she has her phone in her possession, as it was not in her car nor in her backpack, but that it is either off or has ran out of battery.
Two days before Keeslyn’s disappearance, on January 18, another young person went missing from the same truck stop, 21-year-old Caleb Nathaniel Smith. After a few weeks of searching, Caleb’s body was located in a marshy and wooded area in the northwestern part of Gordon County, near Sugar Valley. An autopsy revealed there were no indications of any foul play, with the official cause of death being classified as an overdose.
While initially there was the belief that the two cases could be connected, given the time frame and the location in which they happened, it was later determined that Keeslyn and Caleb were not known to each other. However, some believe they may have known the same people.
Rallying around the Roberts family, the local community came together and helped launch a social media campaign to help raise awareness about the case. They also helped in organized volunteer searches. One search, which involved four-wheelers and aerial drones, spanned approximately 100 acres around the area where Caleb’s body had been found, while another was in a wooded area near the Flying J, as in March 2020 some of Keeslyn’s clothes were found in a fern bush behind a dumpster in the parking lot.
Eric has tried to put up a missing persons flyer in the truck stop, but was told he wouldn’t be able to. There has also been controversy surrounding the lack of lighting and surveillance footage outside the building. In regards to this, a change.org petition was created by a user going by the name “Lord Farquad” to try and implement a change that would require the company to install security cameras overlooking the parking lot. Its aim is 5,000 digital signatures.
Eric is currently offering a $10,000 cash reward – no questions asked – for information leading to his daughter’s location. In order to better fund it, he set up a GoFundMe fundraiser, which has a goal of $20,000. It is currently accepting donations.
Investigators have interviewed numerous people who Keeslyn was known to associate with, as well as the man she is said to have been meeting at the Flying J. No information regarding these interviews has been released.
There have been numerous unconfirmed sightings of Keeslyn or a woman matching her description. by truckers across the United States. The cities include South Bend, Indiana; Dallas, Texas; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Eric has been very vocal about the case and consistently speaks to the public in order to help bring awareness to it. He’s stated that he has a hard time believing Keeslyn would have disappeared on her own and feels there are people out there who know what happened, but aren’t talking.
Eric has also expressed concern regarding how the police – in particular, the Murray County Sheriff’s Office – have handled the investigation. He claims that Detective Eric White is not doing all he can to find his daughter, stating that the Sheriff’s Office has not made an effort to obtain security footage from the Flying J or checked Keeslyn’s phone records. He has also shared that he’s provided the detective with a list of possible persons of interest and other information, but feels the leads are not being investigated. Eric’s fears are also shared by those on social media, who feel investigators aren’t taking the case seriously due to Keeslyn’s criminal record.
In celebration of Keeslyn’s 21st birthday, the family held a candlelight vigil at the 11th Avenue Baptist Church in Dalton.
Eric created the Missing Keeslyn Roberts Facebook page, where he posts updates about the investigation and pleads with the public to come forward with any information they may have.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Keeslyn Noell Roberts was last seen at the Flying J truck stop off I-75 in Resaca, Gordon County, Georgia on January 18, 2020. She was 20 years old, and what she was last seen wearing is unknown at this time. At the time of her disappearance, she stood at 5’6″ and weighed approximately 125 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and has a tattoo of a sea turtle on her lower right arm. Her ears are gauged and the holes are large enough to be noticed with the spacers removed.
Currently, the case is classified as a missing persons investigation. If alive, she would be 21 years old.
Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Murray County Sheriff’s Office at 706-695-4592 or the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office at 706-629-1244. Tips can also be called into Eric Roberts directly at 706-226-0069.
Image Credit: Missing Keeslyn Roberts