POSTED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 9:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 9:34pm
St. Amant, LA (NBC33) — Three months after they were identified, Robert Alexis' remains are finally being released to his family. They can now give him a burial, more than five years after he first went missing, but they cannot give themselves a sense of peace.
"I know he's gone, and I know he's been gone for five years," his mother, Christine Alexis, said. "But it's still not real."
Robert Alexis was last seen late in 2007 leaving a bar in St. Amant. But not until a pair of hunters walked into the woods near the intersection of LA 22 and LA 429 in October was he found.
"Cause if they wouldn't have," said Debra Schott, his ex-wife, "(if) that one little boy wouldn't have stumbled on him, we still wouldn't know nothing today, and wouldn't have closure still."
Christine Alexis knew even before the coroner told her.
"Like I told 'em, I wasn't worried about the DNA," she said. "I knew it was my kid!"
His daughter, Megan, was 11 at the time, and she struggles to remember him.
"I don't have a photo memory, I remember things, like, random things," she said. She can picture him taking her to monster truck shows, and on a trip to Texas.
His body has been transferred to a funeral home, to prepare for his burial. But Christine Alexis does not feel a sense of closure.
"In fact, it probably never will be closure for me," she said. "Because he's always going to be right here. Everywhere I look, there he is."
The Ascension Parish Coroner's Office told the Alexis family it did not think Robert was a victim of foul play. But that just leaves more questions about what actually happened to him that night. And at this point, Christine Alexis is not sure she cares.
"We have speculated so much in these five years... it really doesn't matter," she said.
The initial theories were that Robert Alexis either wanted to disappear or was killed during a robbery. But his family says neither of those were true.
"His wallet was still in his pants," Christine Alexis said. "His money was still in his wallet. It was deteriorated, but it was still in there."
Robert's funeral will be a long-awaited event for the Alexis family, but they do not expect it to be very emotional for them. The toughest part will be when they get back the wallet, watch, and other personal effects found with him.
"That's probably when it's gonna hit home," Schott said.
"Hoo, that's gonna take the world apart," agreed Christine Alexis.
At the same time, those items will help his relatives remember him. Photos and stories of him have kept their world together these last five years.
"Oh, he'll always be there," Christine Alexis said. "He'll always be there every time I look at (Megan)."
Robert Alexis' funeral service will be Tuesday morning from 8-11 a.m. at Ascension Funeral Home in Gonzales, before he is buried at Lusk Cemetery.