Man arrested in connection with Nancy Moyer disappearance free for now

A man arrested last week in connection with the 2009 disappearance of Nancy Moyer has been released from federal custody, after federal weapons charges were dropped.

Lt. Ray Brady with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office told The Olympian that Eric L. Roberts is “free,” there are no pending charges at this time, and the sheriff’s office does not have the authority to conduct any kind of required monitoring.

Roberts, 53, was being detained at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. A Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed a criminal complaint against Roberts on Tuesday, and Roberts appeared in federal court Wednesday.

U.S. Attorneys filed a motion Thursday, though, to dismiss that complaint, which charged Roberts with Possession of an Unregistered National Firearms Act Weapon.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington told the Olympian that “further analysis indicated this weapon did not necessarily meet that legal definition.”

For now, charges regarding Roberts’ connection to the Nancy Moyer case are on hold. When asked if the investigation at Roberts’ property regarding the disappearance of Nancy Moyer is ongoing, Brady said no one was at the house but the investigation is still “very active.”

Moyer was reported missing in 2009 and is presumed dead. Roberts allegedly called 911 last week and confessed to murdering Moyer, then recanted his confession the following day.

A Thurston County Superior Court Commissioner found probable cause for the charge of second-degree murder last week; however, Thurston County prosecutors announced Monday they would hold off filing charges until the ongoing investigation is complete.

Roberts was then arrested, before he was able to leave the Thurston County Jail, on alleged weapons violations and appeared in Thurston County Superior Court for those allegations Tuesday. A Thurston County Superior Court judge found probable cause for charges of unlawful possession of a short firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Federal court documents show Roberts was then arrested again Wednesday and appeared in federal court that day.

According to the federal criminal complaint, detectives found approximately 17 firearms in Roberts’ residence during the search of his property that followed his confession. Detectives seized all firearms for safekeeping.

Sara Gentzler joined The Olympian in June 2019. She primarily covers Thurston County government and its courts, as well as breaking news. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Creighton University.