Teen’s Disappearance Remembered 20 Years Later

Ruby Messerli came to visit in San Patricio County for the first time in 18 years. She now lives in Idaho, but has been away from Aransas Pass because of the disappearance and presumed murder of big sister back in 1989.

Her sister was Elisa Roberson, a 13-year-old girl, who on August 6, 1989, went to meet a friend in front of Kieberger Elementary School on Goodnight Drive. She vanished and was never seen again.

Messerli, 32, talks about Roberson as if she is still alive and described her relationship with big sister back in the late 80’s.

“I just remember we did everything together,” said Messerli. “I was the tag along. She was the cool one. She had the boyfriends. I was always the one tagging along.”

On the 20th anniversary of her sister’s death, Messerli decided to come back to the town to remember Roberson. She along with other members of this community held a tree planting and memorial marker dedication ceremony.

Messerli did this for closure and so she could come somewhere to visit her sister.

“I decided a year ago today that I needed a place for Elisa,” Messerli said. “I thought 20 years and it’s been too long. We’ve never had anything to remember her by.”

Messerli was the only family to attend the ceremony as others couldn’t make it or admit it’s too difficult to discuss Roberson’s disappearance. With her fiance by her side, she walked up and down Goodnight Drive, trying to get perspective on what happened to her sister on this street in 1989.

Investigators believed she was kidnapped and murdered by someone, possibly living in the neighborhood. We showed her sister where tracking dogs followed her scent and lost it. It’s something she had never been told by police.

“It’s more important to find her remains,” said Messerli. “I know that’s a touchy subject. I know she’s no longer here, but to be able to put them to rest.”

At the ceremony, Messerli held back tears and remained strong remembering her big sister, while friends talked about Roberson, whose disappearance is the city’s biggest mystery in its history.

“This is something I needed to do,” Messerli said. “Yeah, it’s been emotional. It’s been overwhelming, mixed feelings. It’s been a good thing for us, for me.”

Even though Roberson went missing 20 years ago today, police investigators said it’s still one of their active cases and it’s one of their top priorities to get this case solved.

They have had many leads and a person of interest, but police have never been able to get enough evidence to charge him.

“As of right now, we’re still looking to talk to several people, trying to locate them, but as far as anything else, it’s still pending,” Captain Robert Gonzales of the Aransas Pass Police Department.

On this day shortly after the ceremony, the woman who was suppose to meet Roberson was in the police department giving Capt. Gonzales more information for him to investigate. She was talking about Roberson and possible other leads that would help him solve the case.

Because of leads, like that, her family still holds out hope an arrest will be made.

“I do believe that time is coming,” said Messerli. “I know with all this publicity, that helps get it out there and to make people talk and find closure as well.”

Messerli wonders aloud what could have been if her sister wouldn’t have disappear and still been apart of her life.

“It’s something I look at and I think my life could have been so much different had I had my sister,” said Messerli. “Of course, when you have traumatic things happen, it always changes who you are in your life.”

Twenty years later, Messerli just wants to put this traumatic event behind her and find the person responsible for Roberson’s death so her family can have closure.


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