Mystery lingers 17 years after pregnant woman found dead, buried in Ocala

38-year-old pregnant slain in 1999


OCALA, Fla. – The Marion County Sheriff's Office is looking for clues on Tuesday in a cold-case homicide where a 38-year-old single mother who was found dead in Ocala buried in a shallow grave 17 years ago.

Roberta Johnson, who served in the U.S. Army and worked with troubled children as a middle school teacher, was nine months pregnant and expecting a boy at the time of her death.

On April 24, 1999, Johnson took her daughter to school and took her daughter's boyfriend home. He was one of the last people to see Johnson alive, according to deputies.

Her grave was found on April 26, 1999, by an Ocala police officer in a wooded area near the 6400th block of Northwest 44th Avenue.

"To be able to brutally murder somebody like this, to literally beat her to death and then discard of her in a shallow grave, leave her there, while she was nine months pregnant. She was days away from having this child," said Sgt. Clint Smith, supervisor of the agency's Cold Case Unit in a release. "So not only did he take away her life but he took away this unborn child's life. So for somebody to be able to do something like that, to me that's the worst of the worst."

If you have any information on the cold case, call Smith at 352-368-3544 or call the Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP.