CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Her name was Elisa Roberson. At just 13 years old, she went missing in Aransas Pass on her way to meet up with a friend. Friday August 6, 2021 marks the 32 year anniversary of the tragic day she went missing, and her family hasn’t forgotten a day they look back on with dread.
Her sister, Ruby Hall, is about a year younger than Elisa, and remembers her as a girl that was over-protective of her, loved dancing and listening to music, and had a lot of friends.
She wishes she could have grown up with Elisa, and for both her and her children’s sake, wishes they were able to get to know their aunt.
When asked if she would prefer to know whether Elisa was dead rather than missing after all these years in order to have closure, Hall said, “It’s always painful when somebody passes away and I’m not going to say that there’s closure. I don’t know that there’s really…I hate the word closure because is there really ever any closure? It’s just something that you learn to manage, like the pain and the feelings when you lose someone.”
Her mother, Marina E. Tomchak, recalls the day her daughter went missing, and said it happened around 4:30 in the afternoon when Elisa asked her to visit a friend. Tomchak, who thought it was too late for her daughter to go out, was eventually convinced by Elisa after she told she would be meeting up with her friend at a halfway point- Kieberger Elementary School in Aransas Pass.
An hour later, Elisa’s friend came home and told her dad Elisa never met up with her and that’s when Tomchak received a call informing her about the situation.
Shocked and in a panic, Tomchak thought maybe Elisa’s friend and her friend’s dad would find her driving around Aransas Pass, but they never found her. That prompted Tomchak to start calling friends to see if they had seen Elisa. One, in fact, did see her pass by and that friend said she even talked to her.
But no one else had seen her.
Tomchak immediately took action, calling the Aransas Pass Police Department for help. The police used their dogs to track Elisa’s scent, and to Tomchak’s surprise, the dogs tracked her to Kieberger Elementary School.
Elisa had made it to the halfway point, but after that, the details of her whereabouts, are limited. Elisa having gotten kidnapped is a strong possibility in the minds of Hall and Tomchak and the rest of Elisa’s family.
Days went by and those days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and years. Still no Elisa.
Hall and Tomchak said they watch shows about police investigating a missing person. They know after 48 hours, the chances of their loved one being dead go up dramatically.
Hall said it’s hard to watch those types of shows because it brings up old emotions because she knows what a missing person’s family is going through.
Hall said they don’t think her sister will ever be found, causing her to become depressed and hopeless; but she said even though there isn’t any type of closure, they’ve come to accept that.
“I don’t think we’ll ever find her or find answers. It just gets really depressing and you feel really hopefulness sometimes, like you just feel like there will never be any closure. It’s just something that we’ve come to accept,” Hall said.
For Tomchak, she would rather Elisa come home dead or alive than not know where she has been at all these years. Tomchak and Hall described the years after Elisa went missing as constantly living under a dark cloud, Aransas Pass being a constant dark reminder of Elisa. They feared the person that took Elisa would come back for their family and kill them- it could have even been someone they knew or were close to.
Tomchak knew sleeping with a knife under her bed and not being able to sleep because she was keeping an eye on her family was no way to live, so she decided to relocate her family to Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Using pseudonym names to get plane tickets, they escaped in the middle of the night. No goodbyes, no hugs to loved ones.
“We love her and we want her home and we have been missing her for so many years," her mom said.
When the original investigation took place in 1989, investigators said they have a suspect, but they weren’t able to find out if he had actually taken Elisa.
Linda Thompson was one of the detectives investigating the case. Still close to the family today, she said the case sticks with her because Elisa was such an innocent little girl.
She said hundreds of hours were put into the investigation and that helicopters even flow over Aransas Pass to look for Elisa.
She said it changed the city forever.
“Unfortunately the town suffered a big loss in this and life as it was before Elisa Roberson was not life as it was after Elisa Roberson. Parents become way more careful. Doors were locked, children were escorted from one place to another to guarantee that they would come home to them that night," Thompson said.
Holly Hall, one of Elisa's friends who knew her for about 3 years, said she never loses hope she'll be found one day, but her memory of Elisa fades sometimes.
“Honestly I still have an inkling of are we ever going to find her? I mean, it’s possible," Holly Hall said.
The case was investigated again in 2016, but nothing came about the investigation. The family said investigators told them they had a lead suspect and were close to making an arrest, but they stopped investigating the case and never arrested anyone.