Home Update: Missing Virginia Tech student spotted at Missouri Starbucks
Public Safety, Virginia

Update: Missing Virginia Tech student spotted at Missouri Starbucks

Chris Graham

johnny roop A Virginia Tech student reported missing by his family last week was spotted on Wednesday at a Starbucks in Missouri, and local authorities are saying it appears he is traveling “on his own free will.”

Johnny Roop, 21, reported missing after failing to show up on Feb. 16 at his parents’ home in Abingdon as he had planned, was tracked down to the coffee shop in Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Wednesday afternoon, according to a report from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Roop, according to the report, left the Starbucks alone after being identified by an employee.

Local law enforcement in Poplar Bluff was alerted and searched, unsuccessfully, for Roop, and continued their search for him on Thursday.

“While there are many unanswered questions, based on this personal sighting, we believe Mr. Roop is acting alone and traveling on his own free will,” the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released on Thursday.

A statement released by his stepsister, Aleah McFarlane, through The Aware Foundation revealed the grief they are feeling right now.

“We just feel we are at a loss,” McFarlane said. “Due to him being over 18, we are kind of stuck. We cannot access his school information and Virginia Tech, understandably so, will not give us any more details on if he is logging into his school accounts or completing schoolwork. That would most definitely be a comfort to know, because if he is working on school-related stuff, then we would know he still cares about his life. We are just so worried about what his end game is. His money is only going to take him so far…then what?”

McFarlane also noted the ugliness on the case that has popped up on social media.

“People are cruel. I’ve always known that, but this is just something I never would have expected,” she said. “Here our family is begging and pleading with the public to understand that something had to trigger this event and to please keep an eye out for my brother. Johnny’s personality and big heart would not purposefully do this. Yet people are saying things like ‘rich white kid,’ ‘toxic and entitled parents,’ ‘punks like this,’ ‘wasting resources.’ It’s just a lot. It’s the last thing my family needs to see. Unfortunately, I’ve came across a lot of these comments. I’m constantly scrolling through Facebook hoping someone has some information or an idea we haven’t thought of, yet I see those comments. It absolutely breaks my heart.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].