Year-long search continues for missing woman

By Brittany Wise bwise@civitasmedia.com

June 10, 2014

Just over a year after the mysterious disappearance of Melvia Roarx, a Caneyville mother with four young children, search teams are still looking into leads in an attempt to finally find some answers after she seemingly vanished into thin air.

A vigil was held at the ballpark in Roarx’s hometown of Caneyville on Monday evening, attended by family members, friends, law enforcement officers and search and rescue volunteers.

Scott Heltsley, a volunteer with Jodi Powers Search and Rescue Technologies, has been working with the family and investigative authorities for the past year and lead Monday’s gathering with prayer, the hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ and encouraging words for the grief-stricken loved ones.

“It’s not the time to give up,” Heltsley said as Roarx’s mother, Linda Duke, wept. “Don’t let Melvia stay missing. I didn’t know her, but from what I have learned of her, she wouldn’t have quit, she wouldn’t have given up.”

The missing woman’s three oldest children, Todd, Jason and Sandy, climbed and swung on the nearby playground as the adults talked, but came closer when the prayer began.

Sandy, in a pink skirt and windblown curls, gathered a group of children to bow their heads and pray for her mother to return. The children wandered in from the playground and lined up together, holding hands or putting an arm around one another, just outside of the circle of adults.

As the hymn ended and the circle drifted away, Sandy ran to hug Deputy Buck Meredith, one of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office representatives who has worked on her mother’s missing person case.

Meredith and Detective Adam Cottrell are the lead investigators in the case, but they, along with Sheriff Rick Clemons have also become anchors for the grieving family in the past year.

Heltsley said that in his years of working with missing persons cases, he has only seen one other occassion where law enforcement worked so diligently, giving their utmost attention to every detail and leaving no stones unturned.

“This community is so lucky to have them,” Heltsley said.

Melvia’s mother and step-father echoed that sentiment, asking anyone with information about their daughter to contact the GCSO.

“Even if it might not seem important, I beg them to turn it in to the [Sheriff’s Office],” Duke said.

Heltsley’s organization has also lent an enormous amount of support to the family and the investigation, conducting more than 20 searches in the area with highly-trained volunteers.

Since joining in the search approximately three weeks after Roarx’s disappearance, the Jodi Powers group, based out of Madisonville, KY, has spent more than 1,000 hours on this case, Heltsley said.

He added that the group is not slowing down, and will continue to do anything in its power to bring Roarx home.

As the gathering drew to a close, Duke expressed that her hope is for no one to begin forgetting about her daughter.

“It’s been so hard this last year,” She said. “She was my heart, and you can’t live without your heart. These babies need their mother one way or the other.”