Missing Girl’s Memorial Gets Upgrade
On Aug. 6, 1989, Elisa Roberson, 13, went missing. On Aug. 6, 2016, her sister and mother decided to come back to Aransas Pass after someone on a community page mentioned Elisa's memorial needed upgrading. But the upgrade they received was more than they could ever imagine.
Ruby Roberson Messerli, Elisa’s sister, explained Cynthia Salaiz, who works for Lowe's, contacted her through Facebook and told her about Lowe's Heroes. Ruby did not know Cynthia, but now, Ruby says they are friends. "We came back to Aransas Pass because Lowe's asked for permission to upgrade my sister's memorial with the help of Cynthia coordinating this event," Ruby said. "Lowe's Heroes is an amazing organzation, and [this is] a beautfil gift."
On Friday, Aug. 5, the Lowe’s Heroes organization went to Kieberger Elementary and put a bench facing Elisa’s memorial plaque, hummingbird feeders, bushes, flowers and landscaping around the area and tree planted in Elisa’s honor.
On the day Elisa went missing, she was meeting a friend halfway on Whitey Street. The halfway point was at Kieberger Elementary, but when the friend arrived, Elisa was not around. “The hurt, pain and wonder is still there for me every day,” Ruby said.
Ruby explained in 2009, on the 20 year Elisa had been missing, she with the help of Wal-Mart and community members planted a tree and memorial plaque at the spot Elisa was supposed to meet her friend.
A couple of years after Elisa went missing, Marina decided to move her family to Idaho due to the emotional trauma and safety concerns. In 2009, Marina did not make the trip because the pain would have been too hard she said. But in 2016, Marina decided she wanted to come, and it was her first trip back to Aransas Pass since Elisa went missing. “It will always be hard,” Marina said. “I wanted to come back to see Elisa’s memorial and see some old friends. It has been a very emotional trip.”
Around 20 people came out to the memorial upgrade ceremony on Aug. 6 at Kieberger Elementary where hugs, tears and memories were shared. Elisa’s school teachers at the time and APISD administrators attended the memorial and shared they remembered the day she went missing “like it was yesterday.” One family friend even referred to Elisa as the “little girl of AP.”
Mike Keller, a retired consultant for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, worked on Elisa’s case for several years and attended the ceremony. “This is a case that never goes away and never gets easier,” Keller said.
Ruby shared she and Marina spent a little over five hours with the Aransas Pass Police Department while they were in town reviewing the case and details. “This is still an open case,” Ruby said. “The Aransas Pass Police Department is working on some things that will hopefully give us some answers.” Ruby shared over the years the case has had several leads, but none that have lead to any answers.
Ruby hopes the memorial ceremony will bring forth any information on Elisa’s disappearance. “The memorial and the ceremonies fuel the fire to keep trying to find leads and answer to questions we’ve had for 27 years now,” Ruby said. “Someone knows something that can help us find Elisa.”
People can go to APPD with any information regarding Elisa’s disappearance.
Marina and Ruby expressed their gratitude to the Aransas Pass community, APPD and Lowe’s. “We’re very thankful for the community and Lowe’s for the memorial upgrades,” Marina said. “This small community remembers her and continues to keep Elisa’s memory alive.”
Clarification: In the Aug. 6 edition of the Progress, it was said Ruby and Marina decided to come back to Aransas Pass on their own to upgrade Elisa's memorial. But further conversation clarified, Lowe's Heroes reached out to make the upgrade with the help of Cynthia Salaiz.