‘Dateline: The Stranger’ takes viewers through the shocking disappearance and subsequent murder of Brittany Tavar, who went missing from her St. Augustine, Florida, house on July 6, 2010. Although the initial investigation zeroed in on several suspects who had the motive to murder Brittany, the police were ultimately led to Joseph “Joe” Roberts, a houseguest that Brittany had agreed to host indefinitely. Interestingly, Joe had come into contact with several other women in St. Augustine before meeting Brittany, and with most of them speaking about his horrific temper, the police were convinced about his involvement in the incident. Well, let’s delve into the details surrounding the crime and find out where Joe is at present, shall we?
Who Is Joseph “Joe” Roberts?
Although Joseph Roberts wasn’t originally from St. Augustine, Florida, the show mentioned that he came to the city with almost no money in his pocket. However, what Joe had were good looks and a charming nature, which helped him befriend people without any effort. As a matter of fact, the people who came across Joe during his time in St. Augustine mentioned that he initially came across as a gentle and well-behaved individual who would do anything for shelter and food. However, in reality, he could sweet-talk his way out of every situation, and his temper was way too volatile.
Before meeting Brittany Tavar, Joe had taken up shelter with a single mother named Cheryl Davenport, whom he worked with at a local convenience store. However, shortly after, Cheryl suspected that Joe was using drugs, and once she confronted him, he flew into a terrible rage. However, Cheryl stood firm, and Joe was ultimately forced to leave her house. Subsequently, he met Brittany at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, and once the latter heard how Joe had no place to live, she immediately invited him to stay in her guest bedroom.
In return, she asked Joe to do computer work for one of her ventures and even asked him to help compile a DVD of evidence to help in her feud against her neighbor, Anne Lydon. Although Brittany Taver went missing on July 6, 2010, the police did not investigate the situation seriously until her dogs were found roaming aimlessly on the road. However, the initial investigation focused solely on Anne Lydon, as she had an ongoing feud with the missing woman. Yet, once Anne came up with an airtight alibi, the police had to look elsewhere, and they soon learned how Joseph Roberts had been living with Brittany in the months leading up to her murder.
Surprisingly, Joseph disappeared on the same day as his landlady, but authorities soon found evidence which showed that Brittany’s bank cards were being used in several states, including Oregon and Wyoming. Moreover, reports mentioned that while Joe was found speeding in Brittany’s car in Wyoming, a CCTV camera caught him purchasing items with the missing woman’s card from a Walmart in Oregon. Still, he proved too quick for the police, and detectives were unable to bring him into custody.
Where Is Joseph “Joe” Roberts Now?
Nevertheless, authorities got a lucky breakthrough when Joe was finally arrested for stealing lunch meat in Seattle, Washington, and he was subsequently extradited to Florida. However, instead of denying his involvement when questioned, Joe wasted no time admitting his guilt and claimed he murdered Brittany in a fit of rage since she was not happy with the evidence he compiled into the DVD. Moreover, he even mentioned that he had hidden the victim’s body in the attic before dumping it in a nearby wooded area.
When produced in court, Joe accepted a plea deal and even led investigators to the location where he had dumped Brittany’s body. Besides, in 2014, he pleaded guilty to a single charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Incidentally, Joe is not eligible for parole as of the time of writing, and he remains incarcerated at the Apalachee Correctional Institution-East Unit in Jackson County, Florida, with a probable release date of 2038.
Read More: Brittany Tavar Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?