Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lexis and Suellen Roberts: Killed by a Dead Man?


When Suellen Roberts, 31, and her daughter, Lexis Kay Roberts, 12, left their Las Vegas, Nev., home for a road trip to Arizona just before Labor Day weekend in September 2010, their friends and relatives assumed they would return home by the end of the long weekend. When they didn't, concerned family members contacted local police to report them missing. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department provided their assistance, according to KTNV News, but it was not long before the case involved police from multiple states and jurisdictions.

Suellen (inset) and Lexis Roberts
Suellen (inset) and Lexis Roberts
According to what relatives told the police, Suellen and Lexis had made plans to visit the Grand Canyon as well as the Bearizona Wildlife Park near Williams, Ariz., and relatives believed they had been been traveling with Suellen's new boyfriend of two months, Thomas Steven Sanders, 53. Relatives immediately suspected foul play in the unexplained disappearances.

"It's not like my daughter just to turn cold and leave and not call me in so many days," Mary Woodburn, Suellen's mother and Lexis's grandmother, told a reporter with Action News 13. "I think maybe he did something to my daughter, and now my granddaughter is with him alone...all I want is to hear their voices and know that they're all right."

Family members told police that Suellen and Lexis were believed to have been traveling in Suellen's silver 2001 Kia four-door sedan with Nevada license plates. The car had noticeable damage on the passenger side.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) in Flagstaff, Ariz., tracked Suellen and Lexis to a motel in the county and determined that they signed the motel's guest book on Saturday, September 4, 2010, and were last seen the next day visiting the Bearizona Wildlife Park, where surveillance video showed them entering the recreational drive-through area. From there, however, the trail went cold, according to CCSO sheriff's investigators. While Arizona investigators did not rule out the possibility of foul play in the disappearance, they were not anxious to embrace such a theory, either, and instead said that it was possible that Suellen and Sanders had run off to begin a new life together, a theory the family did not accept.

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