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Carolina cold case: College student still missing after more than 3 years

Martin Roberts disappeared from App State's campus in April 2016.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's been more than three years since an App State student vanished from campus.

Police in Boone said the search continues, but they're running out of leads.

Over the years, police have conducted dozens of searches across the entire region and beyond,  but there's never been any sign of Martin Roberts.

He disappeared in April 2016. His dad and family are heartbroken and desperate to know what happened.

"We still have hope because we don't have a reason not to have hope," Roberts' dad said.

"This area is heavily wooded. We searched all this area," a detective said.

Police are stumped. They've searched the woods near his apartment and area lakes -- even brought in cadaver dogs.

"In all the searches you guys did was there ever any sign of him?" asked NBC Charlotte's Michelle Boudin.

"No, we found no sign," a detective said.

Roberts was a sophomore at App State.

"People flock to Boone because it's an idyllic location. It's peaceful here," a detective said.

That peace shattered because of this mystery.

"I'm still getting calls on a weekly basis," a detective said.

Roberts' cousin was the last known person to see him. She ran into him at a bus stop on the edge of campus. He was caught on camera.

"Show him walking away from the bus toward the intersection of River St. and that's the last we see of him," a detective explained.

Roberts left behind a note at the apartment he shared with a few roommates. Both police and his dad are reluctant to label it a suicide note.

"It was kind of vague and just mentioned he wasn't happy with where he was and needed to make a change. Don't know what the change was," his dad said.

Police said when they were finally able to access Roberts' cell phone two years after he disappeared, the student had turned off the location services the day before he was last seen at the bus stop.

"Does that tell you anything – that he purposely turned off location services of his phone?" asked Boudin.

"Maybe he was just trying to disconnect from others," a detective said.

Still, with no body and no sign of Roberts, his family just needs to know.

"You would think after this time, one way or the other, something would have turned up," his dad said. "He was a very special person to us, and we miss him and love him tremendously."

Police hope this story will generate some leads. If you have any information, call  828-368-6900. You could get a $10,000 reward.

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