"Buddy" Roberts, 21, was last seen walking away from the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) mental health unit on January 11, 2006 with a pass. It was the last time that the young man--a fixture in metro area coffee houses and homeless shelters--was seen.
Family members put up posters of Buddy daily and spend hundreds of hours searching in frustration. The media seemed to pay little attention to the disappearance of a young black man with mental health problems.
Buddy had suffered with a bipolar disorder, since he was 15. According to the Star Tribune, "he was able to flourish when he took his medications. At those times, he was a charismatic young man who was a talented drummer."
But on December 3, Buddy was off of his medication. He was found walking around at the Mall of America without shoes or a coat and talking about his "super powers." With the approval of his family, he was taken to HCMC and held for treatment. Then on January 11, six days before he was to move into a group home, he was given a pass allowing him to leave the hospital.
Buddy's body was found three months later in the Mississippi River on March 29, 2006 near the Stone Arch Bridge, not far from where Chris Jenkins had been found three years earlier. Buddy's stepmother, Lynn Roberts, learned of the finding when she happened to see a notice from the authorities requesting the public's help in identifying a young black male. She and Buddy's father, Vincent Roberts, supplied the medical examiner's office with dental records and the identification was made. Authorities told family members that the body may have been in the river since shortly after his disappearance. His bank account had not been touched since he left the hospital.
Vincent Roberts has said the staff at the hospital was wonderful, yet he questions the hospital's policy of giving unsupervised passes to the mentally ill.
Facts of Interest in this Case:
Name/age: Vincent "Buddy" Harold Roberts II, 20
Last seen: 1/11/06, in the vicinity of the 700 block of Park Ave., Minneapolis, MN.
Date of Birth: 1985-03-03
Physical description: Black male, 70 inches, 160 pounds, black curly hair, brown eyes
Clothing: Usually wears baggy cargo pants, white athletic shoes with untied laces, black or tan doo-rag, may possibly have a black, white, and red leather coat, carrying a green backpack. Wearing a long, thick silver chain with a large silver "cross" pendant and "Fossil" brand watch.
Vincent has a medical condition and needs medication.
Investigative Agency: Maplewood Police Department Phone: (651) 777-8191
Case #: 06-00-0187
NCIC #: M-115526209, Phone: (612) 348-3755