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Have you seen me: The search for Ben Roseland

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) - Clinton native Benjamin Roseland was last seen leaving a house party on the evening of Feb. 9, 2008. He was 19-years-old at the time.

He told his friends he was going to get snacks at the Hy-Vee across the street, but camera footage proved he never made it.

TV6 Investigates talked to Roseland’s family and one sister, who is as determined as she was more than 10 years ago, to find answers.

Where did he go?

It still doesn’t make any sense to his family. Thirteen years, two months, and six days later, the answer isn’t any closer than it was in 2008.

If he didn’t go to the Hy-Vee, then where did Roseland go and why?

“Every day. I think about it every day,” Helen Roseland, Ben’s younger sister, said. “It was a hectic time.”

In the winter of 2007, Roseland went through a dramatic event.

“He had a DUI,” Helen Roseland said. “He was in a head-on collision, and they needed the Jaws of Life to get him out. “He was airlifted back to Iowa City for multiple skull fractures, and injuries to his face and neck, [and he] had injured another woman in the accident.”

The crash changed Roseland’s life and perspective, and he was still dealing with the consequences when he disappeared.

According to Helen Roseland, her brother had a trial pending, and he wrote about how he planned to get a lesser sentence and how to resolve the case.

“He had put $5,000 down as his lawyer retainer for his trial,” Audra Roseland, his older sister, said. “He was nervous for the outcome, but he didn’t want a long-term Felony on his record. So he was going that long-term legal route making sure he was protecting himself.”

Audra Roseland, who Roseland was closest with, said things were starting to look up.

“He was in two classes at [Clinton Community College], and he was paying for them out of pocket,” she said. “He was still going to school, still doing his homework, working on his stuff.”

Helen Roseland was just in high school when her brother disappeared.

“I was 15, 15 when he disappeared, and he was 19,” she said, adding their age gap meant their relationship wasn’t as close or as deep as his and Audra’s.

“For me and him, it was a lot of the daily banter around the kitchen table.”

As an adult, Helen Roseland feels especially determined to put the pieces of his disappearance together. The search for her brother has been a personal journey for her.

“It must have been two to three years after he went missing; I was just engulfed, like obsessed with it,” she said.

After becoming too involved, at one point, Helen Roseland had to take a step back. Now that she’s taken some time, she is back with a new fervor to solve Roseland’s case.

“I’m even reaching out to Ben’s old friends on the internet,” she said.

Retracing his steps

Helen Roseland and the TV6 Investigates team walked around Clinton, retracing some of the steps that Roseland actually took and the ones he supposedly made on the night that he went missing.

“He never even made it to the parking lot,” she said. “They have cameras in the parking lot, so he never made it across the street.”

After Roseland disappeared, a plethora of web-sleuths and psychics came pouring in with their own insights as to where he might be.

Helen Roseland has followed every lead in her own separate investigation from the police.

“At this point, nothing is too crazy, nothing is unheard of. I’ll listen to anything.”

None of them have yet explained how her brother’s shoes were found blocks away, however, on the other side of town.

“There’s not even sidewalks here to get under to the bridge to get to South Clinton,” Helen Roseland said. “Why would you walk all of this to lose your shoes in the middle of the winter?”

Police and search crews thoroughly investigated Roseland’s shoes when they were found with a search dog. They also searched the entire area of South Clinton but found nothing.

“We got a search and rescue boat come through, dredge the water,” Helen Roseland said. “We had a helicopter in the sky, K-9 units, we walked by foot, all of South Clinton--it’s not that big--and nothing was ever found.”

In her mind, the clue of Roseland’s shoes is hardly a clue at all.

“My search doesn’t necessarily end here or begin here,” Helen Roseland said. “His shoes were here, and that’s all we know.”

Her search for her brother has been a lifelong journey. Helen Roseland started by carrying around his missing posters in her car and joining search teams, to now having an investigation of her own.

She hopes that she will finally get answers one day so she can start looking for closure instead.

For anyone who might know of Roseland’s whereabouts, both of his sisters say there is not a day that goes by that his disappearance doesn’t affect them. They encourage anyone to please come forward with information.

There is a $3,400 reward for the person with information that will lead to Ben’s discovery. You are asked to call the Crime Stopper’s line anonymously at 309-762-9500 if you have any information.

TV6 Investigates reached out to the Clinton Police Department on this matter and have yet to receive a response.

If you or anyone you know has a loved one missing, please email TV6 Investigates.

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