Travis Aaron Marburger, the man involved in a hit-and-run boating accident that left a Lampasas High School football captain dead almost 16 years ago, is the profile story for a brand new episode of Murder Book on Investigation Discovery.
The popular TV crime series is known to feature murder cases that have gone cold but later cracked by hard-nosed detectives. The episode for Thursday’s Murder Book, entitled “Still Waters,” will discuss the death of Justin Roberts, an 18-year-old football captain who was killed while riding inside of a boat with two other friends. The case was solved eight years later after a tip led them to Travis Aaron Marburger, who was eventually arrested for the crime.
Murder Book on Investigation Discovery (ID) will begin by highlighting the case that made news headlines after a boat with three teens was struck around midnight in May 2002. According to Lampasas Dispatch Record, 18-year-old Justin Roberts, 17-year-old Jim Daniels, and 19-year-old Kelly Corbin were out fishing late at night to catch sea bass at Lake Buchanan. They also told officials that they fished together for about six hours before contacting their parents to tell them they would be arriving home around midnight. When the teens didn’t show up, the Texas Game Wardens looked for them. They found Jim Daniels unconscious in the water. His head was above water due to the life jacket he was wearing. They also located Kelly Corbin, who was clinging to life inside of the boat. Sadly, her boyfriend, Justin Roberts, was found dead. His body had been knocked out of the boat.
Murder Book will also discuss how Jim Daniels told them that as they were heading back to the dock, they were struck by a speedboat that came out of nowhere fast. The boat struck the teens’ boat and then raised itself up over them, striking and killing Justin Roberts in the process. The Roberts family was devastated not only to learn that Justin was dead, but that the person responsible for the hit-and-run boating accident hadn’t bothered to come forward to admit what happened.
Instead, he left the teens to die as they floated on the dark waters for close to nine hours before help came. What investigators didn’t know was that the person responsible immediately began covering his tracks, even burying the boat on his own property, in order to hide the deadly secret.
The investigation into the Texas boating accident revealed that they were most likely looking for a blue-painted fiberglass speedboat that had disappeared into the night. Game warden Jim Lindeman had hoped that some tips would quickly lead to an arrest. The case was often featured in the news over the years, and a reenactment of the accident was produced about a year later. There was also a reward offered for thousands of dollars for anyone to come forward. Unfortunately, this case went cold for eight years, causing game warden Jim Lindeman to vow that he would never give up on finding the person responsible for the tragedy.
In 2010, investigators finally got a break in the case. The tip came from a husband and wife who stated that the boat was buried on a property that belonged to a man named Travis Aaron Marburger. The tipsters also stated that they learned the information from another friend of Marburger, who often said that Marburger used to have a blue boat. That friend also told people that the boat was buried somewhere on Travis Aaron Marburger’s land, according to TPW Magazine.
When police finally uncovered the boat, Travis Aaron Marburger admitted that he didn’t know what to do that night and believed that covering it up was the best thing. Investigation Discovery’s Murder Book will reenact the crime based on facts and eye witness testimony. Tune into Murder Book on Thursday at 8/7 central.
Today, Jim Daniels, one of the teens who survived the accident, is a Texas game warden. This case is similar to another boating hit-and-run accident that was featured on Unsolved Mysteries back in the mid-1990s. That case is still unsolved.
[Image via Texas Parks and Wildlife/Facebook]