Friday, February 6, 2009
Rilya Alert Alexander Sol Olive
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: November 9, 1985 from South Lake Tahoe, California
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: May 16, 1981
Age: 4 years old
Height and Weight: 4'0; 35 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Red hair; brown eyes. Alexander has a birthmark on his left calf. He has a very small scar on the right corner of his mouth and scars around both of his ankles. Alexander is referred to as "Salaam Alexander Roberson" by his father. He is biracial, of African-American and Arab-American descent.
Details of Disappearance
Alexander was initially abducted by his non-custodial father, Ulysses H. Roberson, on November 9, 1985 from his home in San Francisco, California. His mother, Rosemary Olive, went to Roberson's South Lake Tahoe, California home in December 1985 and demanded to know her son's whereabouts. Roberson refused to divulge the information and assaulted Rosemary. Roberson was convicted and served one year in jail for abusing Rosemary, who won a court order seeking Alexander's return to her custody. The child has never been located.
Roberson has been the prime suspect in Alexander's disappearance since the onset of the investigation. He is often referred to as a 'cult-like figure' in the press and allegedly lured many women into abusive relationships over the years. Roberson advertised himself as an 'astrologer' and promised horoscopes to female victims, then began abusing them. He is reportedly a charismatic person who often lured other women into abusive situations by offering drugs or alcohol as a means of coercion.
Roberson was convicted of raping a young girl and abusing a young boy in Washington after Alexander disappeared. Investigators lacked enough evidence to charge him in Alexander's presumed death for years, although a female witness claimed she saw Roberson beat Alexander with a piece of firewood in South Lake Tahoe shortly after the child was abducted. The witness stated that Roberson found Alexander hiding in the garage with a blanket. The witness said that Roberson remarked the child had 'spunk,' saying he was 'almost dead' after the abuse and still had the strength to hide. Prosecutors were unable to locate additional evidence to substantiate the woman's story at the time, although investigators believed that Roberson had indeed murdered Alexander.
Authorities were able to persuade an additional witness to testify against Roberson in his son's case in 2001. The woman stated that she saw Roberson beat Alexander to death in late 1985. The witness said that Roberson loaded his son's remains into his van and forced her into the passenger's seat. She said that Roberson ordered her to keep her eyes closed during the journey and threatened to kill her if she disobeyed. The witness remembered little about the ride, but said that Roberson stopped the van near a body of water in the South Lake Tahoe region. He then allegedly continued to drive for an additional two to three hours before stopping at a remote location in California or Nevada. Authorities believe Roberson buried Alexander's body somewhere in that area.
DNA tests in 2001 proved that Alexander's blood was located on clothing found in Roberson's van in 1986. The new scientific evidence, along with the additional witness' statements, allowed investigators to charge Roberson with Alexander's murder in October 2001. Authorities are continuing to search for Alexander's remains. His mother has since kept a low profile and is attempting to rebuild her life.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
South Lake Tahoe Police Department