Eric Lee Roberts was arrested on suspicion of murder in the 2009 death of Nancy Moyer

By Christine Pelisek
July 12, 2019 05:30 PM
Credit: Thurston County Sheriff

A Washington State man allegedly admitted to murdering a former coworker 10 years ago but later recanted, according to police.

Despite the alleged recant, Eric Lee Roberts was arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held on $1.5 million bail in the death of Nancy Moyer, who vanished without a trace from her Tenino area home in May 2009.

Her body has never been found.

“I can’t stress enough this is still an ongoing investigation and we’re still looking for any leads and information that makes this case come to a conclusion,” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza said at a Thursday press conference.

Moyer’s case had recently been featured on the podcast “Hide and Seek.”

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, the arrest came after Roberts allegedly called 911 on July 9 and said he wanted to confess to a murder.

“Roberts stated that he killed Nancy Moyer 10 years ago and he felt tired of holding it inside,” according to the affidavit. “Eric stated that he was aware that it was a recorded line and was reluctant to give further details. He did say that he knew Nancy Moyer and that she was ‘gone.’”

“I don’t think anyone will be able to find her,” he allegedly confessed.

According to the affidavit, Roberts identified himself by his full name, date of birth and his address in Washington.

After the 911 confession, an investigator met Roberts at his home.

During the interview, Roberts was allegedly “crying, clenching and unclenching his fists, and wringing his hands,” and told investigators that he killed Moyer and “left her in the hills,” according to the affidavit.

In a recorded interview in the investigator’s car, Roberts allegedly said that he had a sexual relationship with Moyer who “just attacked me and I just reacted,” he allegedly said. “Eric mentioned that this possibly happened near the Chehalis River.”

Later during the interview, Roberts changed his story and said he accidentally strangled Moyer with a scarf during “rough sex” at his home.

Roberts allegedly burned the scarf later because “It disgusted me,” he told police.

Asked why he didn’t get help after she was unresponsive, Roberts allegedly responded that “I just freaked out. I don’t think I even had working phones at the time.”

When investigators pushed him to disclose the location of Moyer’s remains, he allegedly led the investigator to his backyard fire pit: “I don’t really want to incriminate myself any further, but if I was going to get rid of a body on my property, it would be right there.’ Eric then pointed to the fire pit.”

The following day, after police obtained a search warrant to search Roberts’ property, he recanted his confession, according to the affidavit.

Roberts was initially interviewed two weeks after Moyer’s disappearance. At the time, he told police that he and Moyer both worked at the Department of Ecology and “they would exchange pleasantries.”

He denied having a romantic relationship with her and said she had never been to his home.

More information came to light about Roberts in 2014 when a former girlfriend spoke to police. She described Roberts “as being like Jekyll and Hyde” when he drank alcohol and told them that he had “choked me out,” according to the affidavit.

“She said she had to claw his face to get him to release her,” the affidavit said.

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At a press conference Thursday morning, Moyer’s daughter said she has struggled since her mother’s disappearance.

“I have struggled a lot,” she said. “Growing up without a mom sucks, especially when you don’t know where she is. She didn’t get to see me graduate, my first dance, drive a car. I’m 19. It would help so much to find out what happened to her.”