Aurora marine lived on creek water, worms during multi-state manhunt ending in Virginia
August 15, 2017
In Frisco, police released a canine to hunt him down and staked out his hotel with an armored vehicle for six hours.
In Kansas, they used two spike strips to stop his vehicle, only to have him escape on foot and allegedly speed off in a stolen truck.
In Virginia, sheriff’s deputies, state police officers and a helicopter reportedly swarmed a home where he was believed to be hiding.
But on Friday, Aug. 11, the remarkable, multi-state hunt for 34-year-old William Jason Roberts ended peacefully when he turned himself in to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in his home state of Virginia.
Roberts told deputies there that he had been on foot for five days and survived on creek water and earthworms, knowing the area was “too hot” for him to be seen in public or use a credit card.
By Friday, the highly trained special operations Marine decided he couldn’t run anymore. He walked to a friend’s house and had him call the Sheriff’s Office, whose deputies arrested him without incident.
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“He told me he’d had enough and now he’s got to face the music,” said Major Terry Edmonds of the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office.
Edmonds, reached by phone Monday, said that Roberts was still being held in the Meherrin River Regional Jail and had an extradition hearing scheduled for the afternoon.
Edmonds did not expect Roberts to fight the extradition and predicted that he would soon be sent back to Colorado to face justice.
Roberts’ flight and repeated escapes were the stuff of espionage movies, but it began with a grave accusation: that he assaulted his girlfriend with a car in Aurora, dragging her some 200 feet and leaving her in a coma.
Aurora police, believing Roberts to be on the run in Silverthorne, passed along his description to police there and asked them to arrest him, warning that he was believed to be armed and dangerous.
A Dillon police officer saw Roberts’ car at Dillon Dam Brewery on the evening of Aug. 1 and parked behind it to prevent him from leaving.
Roberts then allegedly rammed the police cruiser out of the way — causing serious damage to its side but not injuring the officer — and led police on a brief chase before ditching his car at a parking lot in Frisco.
More than a dozen police officers swarmed to the spot and released a canine to track Roberts down, but he was nowhere to be found.
The next day, an armored SWAT vehicle camped out with a retinue of police officers from across the county in the parking lot of a Silverthorne hotel for more than six hours, believing Roberts might be inside.
In the evening, police said it was clear he had already left. The next day, Roberts was pulled over near the small town of North Newton, Kansas, but he allegedly bolted while the officer was running his information.
He then led police on a multi-county chase, clocking 130 miles per hour in a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro. Two spikes strips finally brought his car to a stop, but Roberts escaped on foot and is said to have stolen a white truck in a nearby town.
On Friday, Aug. 4, he led police on a chase in Alleghany County, Virginia, before ditching the stolen truck near the small town of Gala.
On Sunday, Aug. 6, police say he stole another truck, which was found several days later on the Mecklenburg-Brunswick County line.
Roberts grew up in the area and was reportedly known by many. Police started canvassing the area and questioning people about Roberts’ whereabouts but to no avail.
On Friday is when, after spending several days on foot and living off the land, officials say Roberts walked to an old friend’s house and had him ring up the sheriff’s office. He was unarmed and didn’t resist arrest.
He is charged with vehicular assault in Aurora, and his dance with Summit County cops tacked on seven additional charges here, including felony vehicular eluding.
Roberts is said to suffer from severe PTSD due to multiple overseas tours as a MARSOC special operations Marine.