Roland had a reaction to medications she was taking and became confused, leading to her bizarre disappearance, missing persons investigators said at a press conference Monday. Investigators said they believe she spent several hours looking for her cell phone. She was missing from about 4:30 p.m. Saturday until 8:15 a.m. Monday.
Houston Police said on Twitter, “Our officers have found Ms. Roland in the Galleria area. She appears unharmed. She’ll be taken to an area hospital for an evaluation.” Police said at the press conference that she is at the hospital with her family and friends. Investigators didn’t say what medications caused the reaction.
Roland, 29, is a reporter for Rivals.com’s Texas A&M website, AggieYell.com. Rivals is a network of websites now owned by Yahoo that cover college football and basketball with an emphasis on recruiting.
Fears about Roland grew Sunday after her friends said she texted her roommate to say that she had been followed by a “suspicious man” at a Walgreens in the Houston Heights area of the city late Saturday, and then dropped out of contact. Investigators believe that she sent those messages after having her reaction to the medicine she was taking and it was part of the confusion that reaction caused.
“We do not suspect any foul play or suspicious activity attached to this incident at all,” police Lieutenant Manuel Cruz Jr. said at the press conference. “She has some cuts and bruises, but we don’t really know, she doesn’t really know how they got them. We’ll follow up health wise to make sure that nothing really did happen to her as she remembers. And if anything comes up after that we’ll refer that to a different division for an investigation. The missing persons side is complete.”
Police do not believe she knew people were looking for her.
“I think in her state of confusion she kind of lost track of time and her awareness and I don’t think that she was aware that she was being looked at as a missing person. So that makes it very hard for us to find somebody when they don’t actually know that they’re actually missing as reported,” Cruz said. He added that she is having memory lapses and does not know everything that happened between Saturday night and Monday morning, when she was found.
When asked about any wrongdoing by Roland, Lentini said there was not.
“Our missing persons are victims. They are people we are trying to help. We are their advocate. They are not a target of a manhunt like you would see on TV. We are trying to find them and get them help or at least get them reconnected with their family members,” Lentini said.
“We don’t have too many details right now; we’re just happy she’s OK,” her father, Steve Roland, told the Houston Chronicle.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Person Who Posts on the Message Board for the Rivals Website Where Roland Works Found Her Near a Chick-Fil-A
A poster on the message board at AggieYell.com, BC93, wrote that he was driving in the Galleria area and saw a blond woman at a Chick-fil-A restaurant that looked like Roland. He stopped and asked her if she was Courtney and then called 911 when she said she was. Police confirmed that she was near the restaurant by a passerby.
“After seeing Ms. Roland’s case in the news this morning, a passerby called us about 8:15am, stating Ms. Roland was under an overpass at the 610 West Loop at Richmond. Our officers arrived, confirmed it was her and arranged she be checked at an area hospital,” Houston Police tweeted.
Police said she was walking under the overpass when she was spotted. The officers found her at the Chick-fil-A restaurant. When she was found she did know who she was when asked by officers, but it was not clear how confused she still was.
“There’s no evidence to indicate she was assaulted at this time,” Police Captain Mark Lentini said. “A more thorough investigation may reveal something different, but at this time we do not believe anything criminal occurred to her.”
“Thank Jesus! Courtney Roland has been found by the Houston Police. Thank you to everybody for your prayers and please respect the family at this time,” her friend and colleague Brian Perroni wrote on Twitter Monday morning. She was found about 8:30 a.m.
Another colleague, Mark Passwaters, wrote on Twitter, “Courtney has been found! Don’t have more details that, but she’s alive and kicking! Great job @houstonpolice!”
Passwaters added, “Just got off the phone with #CourtneyRoland’s folks. They wanted to let everyone know she is ok and they are so incredibly thankful for all the love, support and help received over the past day.”
Autumn Vara, a friend who posted a plea for help on social media, wrote on Facebook, ” Courtney has been found by police and about to be reunited with her family.. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Please respect the family during this emotional time.”
Another friend, Courtney Cockrell, who was also helping to distribute information to find Roland, wrote on Facebook, “Courtney has been found by Houston Police. Thank you everybody for your prayers and help. Please respect the family at this time.”
Victoria Calloway, another friend, said on Facebook, “Praise God that Courtney has been found by the HPD and is safe. Thank you ALL for the prayers and sharing the information to help find her. Social media can be used for many positive things. Please respect her family during this time. Also, hug your family and friends, tell them you love them, help them when in need. This was a huge group effort. Thank you.”
Perroni, a recruiting insider for 247Sports, tweeted that Roland was spotted in the Houston Galleria shopping center area late Sunday afternoon. She was wearing camo fleece with an orange Remington hat. Her SUV was later found in the same area.
He tweeted that her “Car, purse, wallet, phone all found in Houston Galleria area. She’s still likely in camo fleece and orange Remington. Was seen as late as 5:45 Sunday afternoon.” He said her belongings were not all found in the same place.
“Nobody has a clue where she is, which is completely out of character. She also has no ID, credit card, cash, etc,” he tweeted before she was found. Nothing was taken from her purse or car, but it was not all located in the same place. Some of her belongings were in her SUV, while others were inside the mall and stores.
Her parents and family told a local news reporter Monday morning that they love Roland and just want her home:
“If somebody has her, we just want to tell them we love you too. And I know Courtney would be praying for you, because that’s the way she was. She cared for other people,” her father, Steve Roland, told KHOU-TV.
2. Police Say She Was Having Her Reaction to the Medicine When She Sent Strange Text Messages to Her Friends & Family
Courtney Roland’s friend, Autumn Vara, wrote on Facebook, “Hi guys, as of 1/7/18 we have filed a missing persons report for Courtney Roland. She was last confirmed seen 1/6/18 at 4 pm leaving football camp in Houston. The last communication was via text at 12:30 am 1/7/18. She was worried that she was being followed by a blue truck leaving Walgreens, location unknown. Last heard wearing Remington hat and camo and in a white Jeep Cherokee. PLEASE SHARE and reach out to any of us or missing persons at 832-394-1840. Prayers out to her family during this difficult time.”
Her SUV was found at the Houston Galleria area, her friend, Brian Perroni, said on Twitter. Police confirmed that detail Monday prior to Roland being found.
“We do have Ms. Roland’s vehicle, a white Jeep, found by officers overnight in a parking lot at 5006 Westheimer. Her phone and other items were inside the vehicle. Her purse was found at a nearby business,” Houston Police said on Twitter. “Information obtained in our investigation thus far indicates Ms. Roland was last seen about 5:40 p.m. on Sunday (Jan 7) walking alone in a store in the mall. Anyone who has seen her since that time is encouraged to call our Missing Persons Unit 832-394-1840.”
Vara told KPRC-TV that Roland texted her saying the “suspicious man” had followed her home in a blue truck. Roland told Vara she parked in her driveway and the truck looped around and parked behind her. Roland then got out of her Cherokee and the blue truck sped off. Vara told KPRC that she was supposed to meet up with Roland, but she didn’t hear from her again, and hasn’t heard from her since.
Police said they believe she was already having her reaction to medicine when she sent those text messages.
“We believe she was confused because of a reaction to medications she’d been taking,” Houston Police Captain Mark Lentini said at a press conference.
A friend told KAGS-TV that Courtney said when she exited her Cherokee, the other driver was “scared off,” and fled. The friend also said Roland texted and wanted to meet up, but hadn’t been heard from since.
Roland was at a tryout for Team Texas Elite, a travel football club, earlier Saturday. The team tweeted about her disappearance on Sunday, writing, “Folks if any had seen Courtney Roland with Rivals we need to know… last seen at TTE tryouts at 4:10 pm.”
The tryout was held at The Village School, 2005 Gentryside Drive, in Houston.
The team’s tweet mentions that Roland left in an Uber, but her friends have said she was driving her own SUV, a Jeep Cherokee, when she texted about being followed by a suspicious vehicle. A friend clarified on Twitter that Roland was in the Uber earlier in the day after the tryout, but not when she was last seen.
“She got in an Uber around 4 pm and after that went to a Walgreens on 20th and Yale in her own car around midnight,” her friend, Courtney Cockrell, wrote on Facebook.
Friends had initially believed that the tryout where she was last seen, but new information indicated that she was in the Houston Galleria area Sunday afternoon.
Police said she had an interaction with an off-duty officer in the Galleria area before she was reported missing. She was also seen on surveillance video at several locations, including a Walgreens and CVS in the Heights neighborhood. “She was mobile in her vehicle for at least part of this time, so we were able to pinpoint her location in a general area and put some units out there to help find her,” Lentini said.
According to KPRC-TV, Roland’s mother, Cindy Snead Roland, received a strange text message Sunday from Courtney’s phone. The message said, “hello the owner of this phone Courtney. I am buying an iPad.”
That text message is believed to be part of the confusion caused by her medicine.
Police said she at one point left her purse in a store and then drove her car. “We believe that she was looking for her phone,” but she was in a “confused state.”
Lieutenant Manuel Cruz said that after Roland left her purse in a Starbucks, she spent a lot of time Sunday trying to track her phone with an iPad. The phone was actually in her car, not her purse, police said.
“Just trying to go backwards where she might have left her phone and I think in her state of confusion she kind of got turned around,” Cruz said. “In her state of confusion, I’m not sure she was aware of everything that was going on in reference to her phone.”
Vara told the news station that Roland’s vehicle was broken into about six weeks ago and “she has been on high alert since.”
Houston area reporters posted photos and videos of Roland’s SUV after it was found in a parking lot in the Galleria area.
A dent in the side of the SUV was there before Roland went missing, her friends say. It was caused by a deer strike in rural Texas near her parent’s home.
3. Roland Grew Up in Harris County & Graduated From Texas A&M in 2010
Courtney Roland graduated from Texas A&M in 2010 with a degree in communications and journalism, according to her website.
She is a Texas native and attended Klein High School in Harris County. While at Texas A&M, she was a student writer and copyeditor for the AgriLeader, a print and online magazine.
Roland has also worked as a model for Houston-based Neal Hamil Modeling Agency, according to her website. She’s been “featured in print ads, commercials and live runway events,” she wrote on her website.
She has been modeling for 16 years and was selected to represent Spring, Texas, in the Miss Texas Teen USA Pageant, according to her website.
A friend and colleague, Gabe Bock, wrote on Twitter, “My goodness. Courtney Roland is a wonderful person and I’m hoping and praying like crazy for some good news. One of the really sweet, truly great people in our industry and a great Aggie.”
He also shared text messages she sent him after his distant relatives were victims of the church shooting in the San Antonio area.
“Courtney Roland sent me this text a few days after some distant relatives were victims of the San Antonio church shooting,”Bock wrote. This text sums up WHO Courtney is and what she’s about. A very encouraging person and an awesome Aggie. Pray, pray, pray hard that she’s found soon!!!”
“I love God, family, friends, hunting, fishing and football,” she writes on her Twitter profile, “@CourtneyRivals.” She also includes a Bible quote, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Roland has been an active member of the Texas A&M message board on Rivals.com since 2008, and her mother, Cindy, also posts on the board. On Sunday, her mother wrote, “Yes Courtney is missing please pray” on the board.
Her disappearance has rattled the A&M community, with one message board poster saying he or she “can’t sleep” until they know what happened.
Another fan wrote on Reddit, “This makes me so sad. I’ve been on the A&M Rivals site since before Courtney started working there. It’s been great to watch her grow as a reporter over the years. My heart is broken for her family. Her mom posts on the board as well. It’s weird how you start to feel like you know these people that you’ve never met.”
4. She Has Worked for Rivals Since 2008 & Is a Beloved Part of the Website’s Community
Roland has been working for Rivals since 2008 as a reporter, videographer and editor, covering Texas A&M football, national recruiting and high school sports, according to her website.
She worked for KPRC-TV as an intern in 2010, and has also been a sideline reporter for Texas A&M radio broadcasts and as a reporter for Fox Sports Southwest. Roland started covering Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel when he was in high school.
“Its been a fun ride covering Johnny Manziel through the high school recruiting process, at Texas A&M and throughout the 2014 NFL Draft,” she wrote on her website. Producing ‘Started from the Bottom Now Johnny’s Here’ brought back memories of all the thrilling moments of Johnny Football’s career thus far.”
She produces the AggieYell podcast for Rivals, writing on her website, “The AggieYell Podcast is a weekly show I host, produce and edit for all sports fans. Each week I contact special guests to have on and talk with me about current sports news and all things Texas A&M football and recruiting. I use a soundboard and skype to create a free and fun show for all sports fans. Episodes can be found on iTunes and PodBean.”
Roland is also the on-air host and narrator for the show “Remington Country” from the Mossy Oak Outdoor Sports and Entertainment network on the Pursuit Channel.
She has also made appearances on Houston Texans coverage with John McClain, Sports Radio 610 in Houston, HoustonSportsTalk.net and 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio.
5. Sports Journalists From Around the Country Joined the Effort to Find Roland
Journalists from around the country joined in on the efforts to help find Courtney Roland, sharing social media posts about her disappearance and causing the story to spread quickly. Her name was trending on Twitter by Monday morning:
Others, like UFC President Dana White, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, have also pushed for their followers to be on the lookout for Roland using #HelpFindCourtney:
Another missing persons case in California has also attracted national attention. Blaze Bernstein, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, vanished after going to a park while home on winter break in Foothill Ranch, California. Read more about that case at the link below: