‘The worst thing ever.’ Mother of missing KC teen awaits autopsy of body found Friday
On Friday, police told the mother of a Kansas City teen missing since February that a body found in a wooded area of Gladstone matches the description of her son.
Heather Robker told The Star in an interview Saturday that police said they believe the body found Friday near North Broadway and Northwest Englewood Road is that of her missing son, 13-year-old Jayden Robker.
“I just went hysterical,” she said.
Official identification is pending autopsy results.
The boy’s mother said officers came to her work and notified her just before noon on Friday, shortly after the body was discovered just a mile from their home in a wooded area with a pond, and the death investigation had been launched by the Gladstone Police Department.
Law enforcement had been at the scene since about 11 a.m., according to the Kansas City Police Department. Authorities spent hours Friday combing that wooded area near the pond, searching for clues.
Capt. Karl Burris, a spokesman for the Gladstone Police Department, said KCPD was assisting in the investigation due to the city’s close proximity.Jayden had been missing since Feb. 2, when his mother called police from their home at Northwest Plaza Drive and Northwest Plaza Avenue in the Northland.
Kansas City police were asking the public for help Monday to find Jayden Robker, 13, who was reported missing from the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood since Thursday.
Robker said her son left home on his skateboard after he got off the school bus around 2:30 p.m. that afternoon and never returned. She said she contacted police that evening around 10:40 p.m., when she woke up for her night shift and discovered her son missing. A media release on Jayden’s disappearance wasn’t posted until four days after he went missing.
A spokesperson with the Kansas City Police Department said the reason it wasn’t posted immediately, in part, was because they couldn’t find a current photo of him right away. Capt. Corey Carlisle, a spokesman for the KCPD, said despite the “delay in information exchange” in getting the news release out, detectives immediately began investigating the case the night he was reported missing.
Volunteers gather to canvass for missing 13-year-old Jayden Robker in the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood on Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Kansas City.
Last Sunday, dozens of people gathered to participate in a canvass aimed at increasing awareness about Jayden’s disappearance. On Wednesday, the FBI announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for information about his whereabouts.
Just days later, the body believed to be Jayden was discovered, less than a mile from his home and near the QuickTrip where he was last seen on surveillance video after using the restroom.
On Saturday, Robker said she was told she couldn’t see the body until after the autopsy, but that the body had been there for “a while.” “It’s the worst thing ever,” she said.
Heather Robker, center, speaks to a boy while canvassing for her missing 13-year-old son, Jayden Robker, in the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood on Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Kansas City.
Robker said she had felt something was off since Jayden disappeared, saying her mother’s intuition clued her in. She said Jayden had left home once before and lived with a family member for a few months before returning home last year, but she was sure he had not run away when he went missing in February.
She said he would not be gone this long without telling anybody — it wasn’t like him. “I kept telling people, ‘Something is wrong,’” she said. “My son did not run away. Someone took him or did something to him.”
She hopes she’ll have answers to what happened to her son soon, saying she’s been devastated by the news. “My son was a very loving person,” she said. “He was very caring, even with his brothers and sisters.”
Before he went missing, Jayden loved spent time with his siblings and friends. Her husband, Eric Givens, had been teaching Jayden how to box.
He loved to play video games and skateboard, and Robker described the teen as outgoing and bright. In a previous interview with The Star, she said he was a budding entrepreneur, with a plan to start his own car wash business to make some money to build his savings account. “It’s like my world has gone silent,” Robker said.
Many questions still surround Jayden’s disappearance, as his family awaits the results of the autopsy and any updates in the case. Gladstone police said they would not be releasing any further information on Saturday.