Autumn Marie Traub
Traub, approximately 2006; Roy Phillip Ballard
Date reported missing : 09/13/2006
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 03/21/1973 (48)
Age at the time of disappearance: 33 years old
Height / Weight : 5'2, 225 pounds
Description, clothing, jewerly and more : A purple shirt with imAge at the time of disappearance: s of dogs on it, red sweatpants with paint stains, and flip-flops.
Medical conditions : Traub suffers from seizures.
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian female. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Traub has a tattoo of a dolphin with seven hearts on her right calf. She may use the last name Niles.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Traub was last seen in Lakeland, Florida on September 13, 2006. Her stepfather, Roy Phillip Ballard, picked her up at her home between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., and claims he dropped her off at a Walgreens store in the 300 block of east Memorial Boulevard between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m.
Traub has never been heard from again. She left behind a husband and a fourteen-year-old daughter.
A photograph of Ballard is posted with this case summary. He and Traub's mother took care of her daughter when Traub was incarcerated prior to her disappearance. After Traub was released from jail, she took her daughter back, and Ballard was upset about it. He asked for custody of the girl, but Traub refused. Once she was returned to her mother's care, Traub's daughter accused Ballard of molesting her.
In October 2006, the month after Traub disappeared, Ballard was arrested and charged with her murder. Authorities believe the custody issue with Traub's daughter was the motive for the alleged homicide.
Spots of Traub's blood were found on some bags in the trunk of Ballard's 2004 Saturn, along with plastic shopping bags, duct tape, gloves and a dirty shovel. Ballard claimed he needed the shovel to dig at his workplace, but the dirt on the shovel was not consistent with the soil where he works. Ballard's own blood was found in his car's interior.
He is also known to have purchased an 18-inch steel pipe and duct tape on September 2, eleven days prior to Traub's disappearance; investigators believe these items were used in her kidnapping and murder.
At Ballard's 2008 trial, Traub's daughter testified against him and said he had Gender : ually abused her and told her he wanted to marry her. One of Ballard's cellmates testified that Ballard had told him how he killed Traub, knocked out her teeth and disposed of her body.
Ballard maintained his innocence, but he was convicted in July 2008. In October, he was sentenced to death. In 2011, the death sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole.
Traub's body has never been found. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
Other information and links : ncy
Lakeland Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Tampa Bay's 10
The South Florida Ledger
The Tampa Tribune
Florida Supreme Court
Interactive Missing Person Search Map