BRATTLEBORO -- Marble Arvidson is missing -- but members of the community want him to know he certainly is not forgotten.
It has been exactly two years since the Brattleboro resident was last seen by his roommates and though social networking and multiple searches haven't yielded any answers, those close to him maintain hope he will be found safe.
Josh Steele, a community mentor at Youth Services, which Marble utilized, said his friend's disappearance has been devastating. He said Marble is a valuable piece of the community and everyone is waiting for him to come home.
"It's hugely traumatic, something you never want to deal with," Steele told the Reformer. "The bottom line is for the community as a whole, this is very traumatic. He is not forgotten about. People still think about him."
Marble, 17 years old at the time of his disappearance, was last seen by one of his roommates inside their home on Aug. 27, 2011, shortly before 2 p.m. It was the day before Tropical Storm Irene swept through the state.
The Reformer previously reported that Mike Zaransky, one of Marble's roommates, had left the previous day to spend the weekend with his girlfriend, Emma Mullen. Zaransky said he called and spoke to a fourth roommate, who stated Marble was doing fine. When he called the next day the other roommate said someone had knocked on the door, Marble answered it and their interaction seemed to be friendly.
The unknown man was described as about the same age as Marble and a little shorter.
Marble left a note on the door of his room stating he was going out for about a half-hour and would return around 2:15 p.m., Zaransky said.
Marble's aunt, Trish Kittredge, held a press conference in late August 2011, to rally supports in an effort to find her nephew. She also organized search parties in and around Marble's last known location and about 100 people scoured the area near Marble's home in West Brattleboro. A reward for any information that leads to finding Marble was increased to $2,500.
Kittredge told the Reformer on Monday there will soon be a new series of fliers posted to remind people of Marble's case and get the community more involved in finding him. She said there had been hope Marble, who had some family issues, would resurface on his 18th birthday, when he was officially an adult.
She said the situation is particularly puzzling because Marble did not take a jacket or any belongings with him and no money was ever withdrawn from his bank account.
"It's kind of like this black hole," she said, adding that her nephew had never attempted suicide or mentioned thinking about it. Kittredge said Marble's mother was not ready to talk to the media.
Det. Sgt. Paul Beebee of the Brattleboro Police initially handled the case but has since left the department. Brattleboro Police Chief Gene Wrinn said the investigation is now being handled by Det. Jonathan Griffus, who could not be reached for comment.
Wrinn told the Reformer that interviews are still being conducted with people who may have information about Marble, as recently as Monday, Aug. 19. He encourages anyone with a lead to go to the authorities.
"This is not a filed-away-and-forgotten case. We still have an investigation on going," he said. "We will follow any leads in the hope that we will eventually know exactly what happened."
In 2011, Beebee told the Reformer there had been reported sightings of someone looking like Marble throughout New England, in New York, as far south as Georgia and even in Berlin, Germany, but none were confirmed and each fell flat.
Marble has been described as tall, lanky and athletic, 6-foot-2-inches tall, 165 pounds, with shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen leaving his home along Marlboro Road in West Brattleboro wearing black slacks, a long-sleeve black shirt, black shoes and possibly a fedora-style black hat.
Anyone with information can contact the Brattleboro Police at 802-257-7946, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.findmarble.org. People also can send information to the Facebook group "Find Marble."
Bob Lowery, the senior executive director of the missing children division at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said the agency has been dealing with Marble's case since being contacted by law enforcement in 2011. He said NCMEC has helped with image distribution (to get Marble's face out to the public), awareness and meeting any special needs of the BPD.
Though foul play has not been concluded, Lowery said Marble's dental records were collected from his dentist "in the case that Marble met an unfortunate fate." DNA samples have also been taken from Marble's aunt and mother. Lowery said full-time professionals will soon use forensic imaging to age a photo of Marble to what the young man would look like today.
Lowery said 30 years in law enforcement and four years with the NCMEC has taught him to always remain optimistic about missing persons cases.
"We've had children come home safely after a time a lot longer than two years," he said, adding that there are 3,500 to 4,000 missing children at any given time. "Someone out there has a piece of information about what happened to Marble -- and that information needs (to come out).
"It's tougher (now that is has been two years) but it is not impossible and we cannot let hope fade," he continued. "We don't stop looking, no matter how long it has been, until the child is physically found."
Steele said he worked closely with Marble and said a mysterious disappearance is more difficult to deal with than a death because there is no closure for loved ones. He also wants people to know what a wonderful and intelligent young man his friend is.
When asked what he would say to Marble if he was able to relay just one message to him, Steele responded, "What's up, man? I miss you and the community misses you."
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.