For two excruciating years, the family of Pamela Faith Roach has walked rural roads, tromped through woods and peered down wells trying to find some trace of the young mother who vanished in February 2019.
Their pain has no end and their questions have no answers. Roach was 26 when she walked down Corey Road in tiny Walhalla, South Carolina, and stepped seemingly into oblivion, leaving behind a 6-year-old son her relatives say she would never abandon.
But Roach, who went by her middle name, is not the only person missing in Oconee County, in the state’s northwest tip, not far from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Three others have vanished since 2019, all of them known to each other and all of them moving in the same social circles, said Roach’s family.
The victims have in common struggles with drug addiction, namely methamphetamine for Roach, her relatives said. There has been little progress in finding them.
“It’s almost like nobody cares because of her past,” Roach’s aunt, Pamela Marcengill, told Inside Edition Digital. “I don’t care what their past is, everybody deserves to be looked at,” she said. Every person who goes missing deserves to be found, and every person deserves to be remembered, she said.
“They have billboards up now, but it’s been over two years now,” she said.
The Search for Faith Roach and Others in Oconee County
In the past few weeks, the national help agency Crime Stoppers helped erect a series of billboards in the area, each one devoted to the missing: Laura Anders, who disappeared one month before Roach in January 2019, Tammy Stubblefield, who vanished in January 2020 and Joshua Ivester, who was last seen in February.
The signs also features two victims from years ago. Sheila Ann Carver, missing since 1998, and Jimmy Whitfield, missing since 1987.
All of the cases remain open. There is no new information about any of the missing, authorities said.
Law enforcement initially said the most recent cases did not appear to be related. But Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw earlier this year announced he had asked state agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to step in to profile the victims for commonalities.
“So we’re exploring that possibility at this point,” Crenshaw said told FoxCarolina in February.
The recent disappearances have generated local media coverage, but nothing outside the area save for a new true crime national podcast from Barstool Sports titled “The Case,” which chronicles the strange disappearance of teenager Jennifer Fay, who vanished in 1989 from her Brockton, Massachusetts neighborhood, and a possible connection to the current case of Faith Roach.
In local interviews, Crenshaw has said his department remains committed to investigating the cases and has identified a person of interest in Roach’s disappearance, who also is being questioned in connection with Fay’s disappearance, the sheriff said.
He told FoxCarolina that Massachusetts detectives have traveled to South Carolina to interview that person, who has not been charged in either case.
“They have been here to Oconee County in previous years to follow up on their investigation,” Crenshaw told the station. “We do know about Jennifer Fay. We are aware of her going missing in Brockton, Massachusetts. That may play a factor in our case. We don’t know at this point.”
Crenshaw did not respond to an email and two phone messages left by Inside Edition Digital over the course of several days.
Roach’s mother, Cindy Clark Hanvey, was asked if she thinks Crenshaw is doing an adequate job of looking for her daughter.
“I think at times he does, and I think at times he don’t,” she told Inside Edition Digital. “They’re not going to admit it’s because the people had drug problems,” the mother said, and “they’ve had other problems in their lives.”
That surely applies to Faith Roach.
The Troubled Times of Faith Roach
“Faith lived a hard life,” said her aunt. Since her niece vanished, “I’ve done everything I can do to help find her and I will continue to do it,” she said.
Roach was last seen on Feb. 5, 2019, after hiking in the mountains with a friend who says he dropped her on a dirt road about five miles from where she lived. The last ping from her cellphone came from there, authorities would later say.
The friend was questioned extensively by investigators and passed a polygraph, Crenshaw told local reporters. The friend said Roach told him she was meeting someone, and asked to be let out.
Her family said they find that hard to believe. Faith didn’t have any friends in the area, said her aunt. Relatives called police after not being able to reach Roach. Her cellphone had been turned off and went straight to voice mail. Texts went unanswered.
That was definitely not like her. Aside from some jewelry belonging to Roach, which was found on a nearby road after her disappearance, no trace of Faith Roach has been discovered since.
“We searched the mountains, we have searched woods, you name it, we searched,” her aunt said. “We don’t know where she is.”
The worst place they canvassed was a pig farm, where an anonymous tipster said Roach’s remains had been eaten. “That was awful,” her aunt said.
Awfulness became part of Roach’s life before she entered junior high.
At age 11, riding a go-cart on a back road with her best friend, the two girls were hit by a car. Roach’s 10-year-old companion was killed. Roach suffered a traumatic brain injury, a shattered leg and other serious injuries. She was hospitalized on life support and was in a coma. Surgeons placed a metal rod in her leg.
After she woke up, the child was never the same.
“It changed Faith,” her aunt said. “She blamed herself completely for it. She never quit blaming herself.”
She limped as her leg outgrew the metal rod, and she was bullied at school. Before the accident, she had been a shy, quiet girl. Now she was outspoken and seemed hungry for attention, her mother said.
At age 23, Roach was again shattered by a life-altering event.
Her 5-month-old son, Havok, rolled out of the bed he was sharing with his parents and died. The baby apparently smothered, Roach’s aunt said.
Of all the sadness the aunt has seen in this world, she said, the saddest thing she ever witnessed was seeing “Faith walking out of that house carrying her dead baby,” and calling to the child’s father to fetch Havok’s car seat.
As if the child was still alive and needed to be buckled up for safety.
Though Roach had been involved in recreational drug use, Havok’s death shoved her into the iron grip of methamphetamine.
“She blamed herself for Havok’s death,” her aunt said. “That’s when she fell heavy into the drugs.”
That addiction would cost her the custody rights to her eldest son, Conor, who was removed by children’s services workers after Roach descended into drug abuse, her aunt said. The boy, who is now 8, lives with Roach’s mother.
“Whatever happened to Faith, someone did it to her. She didn’t do it to herself,” her aunt said.
Waiting for News of the Missing
The families of the missing victims stay in touch. They have conducted vigils and pepper social media with entreaties to keep looking for the lost.
“We try to keep her name out there so people don’t forget her,” said Roach’s mother.
Meanwhile, the investigations drag on with little news.
“I think it’s not at the top of their list,” the aunt said, referring to law enforcement, “because of the drugs and everything.”
She notes that Clemson University, which is about 16 miles away, has a heavy presence in the area.
“If one of those Clemson girls went missing, I guarantee you’d have everyone out there looking,” the aunt said.
“All of this is just unreal.”
Anyone with information about the missing persons cases currently under investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Tips can also be left via the Oconee County Crime Stoppers website here.