Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by anneinchicago, Dec 9, 2010.
Robin Coultas Rodriguez, 20, Unsolved Murder, 1976, Gulfport, MS
Sunday, Nov 28, 2010
Strange happenings 1976 murder unsolved
By ROBIN FITZGERALD
Strange happenings followed the unsolved murder of 20-year-old Robin Coultas Rodriguez, a new mother who disappeared in 1976 while working the night shift alone at one of the first convenience stores on the Coast to open 24 hours a day.
The Biloxi woman, with a son who was less than a year old, disappeared from a Li’l General store in west Gulfport. She was found dead hours later in a mud hole at the Wolf River near Pass Christian. She was naked, bound and strangled to death, and her car turned up in Long Beach.
A couple of weeks after her body was found, an unidentified man began making threatening phone calls to employees at the store at 15th Street and 42nd Avenue. One woman received the calls at her home, and then her family dog was found cut to pieces on her front doorsteps.
The unidentified man didn’t want them to talk to authorities, former employees told the Sun Herald in recent interviews. They believe he was the killer...
Rodriguez’s killer has escaped justice for 34 years.
Neil Culwell, a Harrison County sheriff’s detective, opened the cold case two years ago, but couldn’t find evidence that had been stored in downtown Gulfport when the old county jail was next to the old courthouse.
The case file shows the FBI received and returned the evidence.
“It’s not in our vault,” Culwell said. “It must have been thrown out over the years. Something like that wouldn’t happen these days.”
He spent six months trying to find and re-interview the original investigator’s witnesses, and ordered a polygraph test for a man, but found nothing to merit an arrest.
“It was possibly a stranger abduction and murder,” Culwell said, “or she was taken by someone she knew or trusted. The person who did it could have told somebody after it happened or told someone since then. Or the person who did it could be dead by now.”...
... One of the last customers to report seeing Rodriguez alive was in the store around 3:15 a.m. June 2 (1976)....
Investigators found no signs of foul play at the store. Money was still in the cash register......
... Around noon, a man found a woman’s nude body face-down in a large mud hole about 100 yards west of Wolf River near Pass Christian. It was Rodriguez.
Her remains were off Bells Ferry Road at the end of Magnolia Drive, where water had filled a deep depression in the dirt road.
Her hands were tied behind her back with rope. A blue-green work smock was bunched around her wrists as if someone had tried to remove it but couldn’t because her wrists were bound. She was still wearing her rings.
An autopsy later determined she was strangled, possibly by rope.
Her car had been abandoned hours earlier in Long Beach. Someone had noticed a white car at the end of Old Pass Road just east of Burke Avenue around 6:30 a.m. It wasn’t reported until 8:53 p.m.
Detectives recovered fingerprints, beer cans and cigarette butts from the car. It’s the evidence now missing; with today’s technology, it could have identified the killer, Cullwell said. Detectives also took scrapings from under Rodriguez’s fingernails.
They found Rodriguez’s clothes, purse and driver’s license in a grassy area nearby. A $20 bill was inside one of her tennis shoes. Her youngest sister said their father taught them to carry cash in a shoe for safekeeping.
Deputies arrested Rodriguez’s husband but released him for lack of evidence....
... Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for tips leading to a felony arrest or indictment. Payne said tipsters can remain anonymous even if they qualify for a reward.
Photo of Robin and much more information at LINK:
Latest update on this cold case!
There is hope in using a set of fingerprints to finally solve this murder.
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