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Old 12-02-2005, 03:41 PM   #1
justins5256
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Default Martha Roberts articles

Paper: The Commercial Appeal
Title: FBI DISCOVERS CLUE TO EADS WOMAN'S '92 KIDNAPPING - DOE ROBERTS PROBABLY
DEAD, SAY RELATIVES
Author: Chris Conley The Commercial Appeal
Date: August 5, 1993
Section: Metro
Page: B1

The Memphis FBI has solved one piece of the puzzle surrounding the disappearance
of Martha 'Doe' Roberts last year. ''We have been able to establish who made
the phone calls and he knows that we know,'' agent-in-charge Robert Wright said
Wednesday.

Roberts disappeared from her home in Eads last Aug. 7. Soon after, Allen C.
Roberts, the woman's husband, reported receiving a ransom call from a man with a
foreign-sounding accent.

Friends and relatives have also received calls from a man with an accent,
demanding money and making threats. The caller appears to be the same man, and
appears to be familiar with the couple and the area, according to those who have
received calls.

''We are continuing the investigation to see if there is a direct connection
between the person who made the phone calls and the probable homicide of Doe
Roberts,'' Wright said.

Wright would not say whether the FBI is questioning the caller, but said his
office is not yet ready to pursue obstruction of justice and extortion charges.

Wright would not say whether he believed the caller also kidnapped Roberts.

''There is a good chance that the disappearance of Doe Roberts and the phone
calls were perhaps unrelated,'' Wright said.

To this point, he said, there has been no proof put forward that Roberts is
still alive.

The investigation by the FBI and Shelby County Sheriff's office, though less
visible in the past months, ''has been intense from the beginning and continues
to be intense,'' he said. ''We're not going away.''

Also Wednesday, a nephew, William Paul Knox, said that he and a brother were
contacted in early June by the caller and told to bring an $85,000 ransom to a
specific location and await instructions. ''That's as far as it got,'' he said.

Roberts, 65, vanished from the couple's 150-acre spread near Eads. Hours
later, Allen Roberts reported receiving the first call for a $100,000 ransom.

Allen and Martha 'Doe' Roberts were married in 1948 and in 1961 started
Holiday Auto Parts, which has expanded into six stores.

Knox said he believes the caller also kidnapped his aunt, and has tried to
implicate Allen Roberts to further his scheme. Several of Martha Roberts's
relatives said they do not believe the implications. Roberts has strongly denied
them. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

A federal grand jury began looking into the disappearance in April, and has
met at least twice. Allen Roberts has said he learned that several friends had
been called to testify, but he has not been summoned.

Many family members, including Allen Roberts, believe Martha Roberts is dead.
They say they only wish her body would be returned for a proper burial.

''It was a straight-up kidnapping on the front end, and I believe they were
startled when she died,'' Knox said.

Author: Chris Conley The Commercial Appeal
Section: Metro
Page: B1

Copyright 1993, 1994 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

****************************************************

Paper: The Commercial Appeal
Title: PANEL STARTS INQUIRY IN DISAPPEARANCE OF WIFE, EADS MAN SAYS
Author: Chris Conley The Commercial Appeal
Date: March 20, 1993
Section: Metro
Page: B2

A federal grand jury investigation has begun into the disappearence of Martha
'Doe' Roberts of Eads, her husband said Friday. Retired businessman Allen C.
Roberts said he has learned that several friends were called to testify before
the grand jury, but said he did not know what questions were asked in Friday's
session.

Federal officials declined to comment on the case.

Martha Roberts, 65, was last seen Aug. 7 by her husband at their 150-acre
spread near Eads. She has been the subject of an intense FBI investigation that
has seen dozens of agents chasing down hundreds of leads.

Allen Roberts Friday renewed his offer of $50,000 for the safe return of his
wife and $25,000 for information if she is no longer alive.

Roberts reported receiving two telephone calls shortly after her
disappearence, the first from a man who identified himself as Sam Wagner of
Indiana. In both calls, he said, the man demanded money, but did not say where
it should be brought.

A man with a foreign-sounding accent called a television reporter this month,
claiming to have information about the case. Roberts said Friday that the man
may have been the same man who called him demanding money.

Following the telephone call last month, FBI special agent-in-charge Robert
Wright asked the caller to contact the FBI directly if he has information to
convey.

The FBI late last year unearthed a small dump on Roberts's rural property
with a backhoe. They have not said whether any evidence was discovered.

Author: Chris Conley The Commercial Appeal
Section: Metro
Page: B2

Copyright 1993, 1994 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

****************************************************

Paper: The Commercial Appeal
Title: HUSBAND WAITS FOR CALL FROM WIFE'S ABDUCTOR
Author: Lawrence Buser The Commercial Appeal
Date: August 30, 1992
Section: Metro
Page: B1

Businessman Allen C. Roberts says nights are his worst time since his wife
disappeared from their Eads home a little more than three weeks ago. Yellow
ribbons hang from some neighbors' mailboxes and friends offer Roberts support
and encouragement but authorities say they have no clue to the whereabouts of
65-year-old Martha 'Doe' Roberts.

Roberts reported her missing Aug. 7 after he said an unidentified caller
threatened to kill her and demanded $100,000 ransom but hung up without further
instructions.

''I spend more time in prayer than I did,'' Roberts said. ''My worst time is
at night. I hate to go to bed. It's rough for me but it's a pittance for what's
happened to my wife.''

The founder and former owner of Holiday Auto Parts said he gave the FBI
detailed statements about his business dealings and family life and has
submitted to a lie detector. Roberts said he has not been told the results.

FBI spokesman Ed Bradberry said he could not reveal the results but noted
that ''we do not consider Mr. Roberts to be a suspect in this matter.''

Bradberry said some 60 agents have been working on the case, many of them
full time, and that the kidnapping is the ''No. 1 priority case'' in the local
office.

''It's way too early to be discouraged,'' Bradberry said.

Roberts, who is now a developer, said his wife's kidnapping was set up Aug. 6
by a caller who identified himself as ''Sam Watson from Indiana.'' He said the
man told his wife he was interested in a house and wanted to meet Roberts the
next morning in a Fayette County subdivision Roberts is building.

As Roberts was leaving the next morning, he said, his wife told him the man
called again to confirm the 10 a.m. appointment.

The man never showed and when Roberts returned home around 11:30 a.m. with
two sandwiches for lunch, the carport door was open, the doors were unlocked and
the second cup of coffee his wife normally drank was still in the pot.

Roberts said his wife's 1986 maroon Volkswagen Golf was still in the garage
but he assumed she had gone with friends or relatives for a visit.

''I really regret that I didn't pick up those clues at the time,'' Roberts
said, shaking his head slightly. ''I've berated myself ever since it happened.''

After lunch he took a truck with hay and sod to stop an erosion problem in
the subdivision.

When he returned home shortly after 4 p.m. and found his wife still missing,
he called friends and relatives, suspecting something was wrong.

''Then I looked in every closet and under the bed and I was really starting
to get concerned,'' Roberts said. ''Then I got a call and he said she was all
right for the moment but that if I didn't do what he said he would split her
head open.''

Roberts said the man hung up after telling him to smash his answering machine
tape but without telling him where to take the $100,000 ransom.

There has been no more contact and Roberts is offering $10,000 to anyone who
can provide information leading to his wife's safe return. The phone number is
525-3744.

Allen and Martha Eudora Jones were married Oct. 12, 1948, in Olive Branch,
Miss. She worked at the old Rogers Cafeteria downtown and he installed
insulation and weather stripping with his father.

In the late 1950s they bought the Magnolia Grill on Union but in 1961 they
left that business and started Holiday Auto Parts, which grew to six stores.

They retired comfortably about 10 years ago and built a home in Eads, though
Roberts's homebuilding ventures have been full-time jobs. They have been square
dancers for 40 years, attend Eads United Methodist Church and, though they have
no children, shower affection on more than two dozen nieces and nephews.

''That's mainly what we're rich in,'' Roberts said. ''Our lives are not
extraordinary and we're not extravagant. We're civic-minded people.''

Roberts last year sailed from Pickwick Lake to Houston and he and his wife
have been on numerous diving trips in the Caribbean, Baja California and
Australia.

Though Mrs. Roberts cannot swim, she sometimes gamely jumped into the ocean
with a life jacket and scuba mask to watch the colorful fish, her husband said.

''He and his wife have been all over the world with me and they're two of the
nicest people you could ever be around,'' said Doug McNeese of The Dive Shop.
''Allen's had Doe with him forever and it's just crushing him right now. We're
just all in shock.''

Roberts said he tries to keep busy with his business and relies on the
support of family and friends while he waits for another call.

''I want to get a message out to him (the kidnapper) that I'll make any kind
of deal he wants,'' Roberts said. ''And if my wife makes any promises to him I
will honor them to the very letter. I would go to the extent of not talking to
authorities, just shutting down. In all my business activities my word has been
my bond.''

Author: Lawrence Buser The Commercial Appeal
Section: Metro
Page: B1

Copyright 1992, 1994 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

****************************************************

Paper: The Commercial Appeal
Title: FBI PURSUING EADS KIDNAP CLUES
Author: Chris Conley
Date: August 19, 1992
Section: Metro
Page: B2

The FBI Tuesday continued to pursue several leads developed in their
investigation into the Aug. 7 disappearance of a 65-year-old Eads woman.
Martha 'Doe' Roberts was abducted from her home near Eads, officials said. She
was last seen by her husband, Allen Roberts, when he left their 150-acre farm
about 9:30 a.m. Aug. 7.

Allen Roberts, former Holiday Auto Parts owner, said a man called his home
after the disappearance of his wife, demanding a $100,000 ransom. He has offered
a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the safe return of his wife.

Martha Roberts, the husband said, suffers from severe asthma, requiring daily
medication.

Author: Chris Conley
Section: Metro
Page: B2

Copyright 1992, 1994 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

****************************************************

Paper: The Commercial Appeal
Title: NO TIPS REVEALED IN EADS KIDNAPPING
Date: August 15, 1992
Section: Metro
Page: B2

FBI agents Friday continued to seek clues in the puzzling disappearance of a
65-year-old Eads woman. So far, no one has called the Federal Bureau of
Investigation seeking the $10,000 reward Allen Roberts offered Thursday for
information on the whereabouts of his wife, Martha 'Doe' Roberts.

Roberts was abducted from her home near Eads some time Aug. 7, officials
said.

She was last seen by her husband, former Holiday Auto Parts owner, when he
left their 150-acre farm about 9:30 that morning. Roberts said a man called his
home after his wife disappeared and demanded a $100,000 ransom.

Martha Roberts suffers from severe asthma, requiring daily medication.

As many as 30 agents have been involved in the case since the disappearance.

Section: Metro
Page: B2

Copyright 1992, 1994 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

****************************************************
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