We all set out in my ex-son in laws van. My son Mike, son-in law my daughter Kelli and I have vague memory of my grandaughters being with, but I honestly don’t remember. In fact I don’t remember any of the 8 hr drive it took to get to New Madrid Mo. , except it was nightime. Our first stop was the coroners office. He explained he was sure it was a suicide. Again I questioned why no autopsy was done, since the bullet was still in Robs head. And again he stated, he felt there was no need for an autopsy because it was a suicide.
Our next stop was the Sheriffs office. There we met a detective I had not spoken with on the phone. He explained that he had been part of the investigation into my sons death, but he did not see things the way the others had. He said that when he walked into the room, he started questioning things from the beginning. He said that Rob was laying on his back, on the floor, fully dressed including boots and cap and that Rob was almost completely covered with a blanket. The shotgun had already been moved, but the detective questioned the absence of blood by the barrel. He said the other detectives ( including the one whose uncle sent Rob a threatening note) had already determined it to be a suicide, and that they gave him the scenario that, Rob had butted the shotgun against the dresser ( to prevent kickback) with the barrel tight against the right side of his head, then reached then reached up with his right hand, and pulled the trigger with thumb. He said that did not seem possible to him because, 1- It would have been a very ackward position to pull the trigger, and 2- There were no blemishes on the black laquer dresser. He also said that when the shot gun was moved, not only should there have been blood at the barrel, but it should have left some kind of blood trail. He said that a threatening not had been found in a stereo and that there were signs of drug paraphenalia. He would neither let us see the note or tell us what it said. He also said a suicide not had been found, but would not allow us to see it either. Then he proceeded to explain he had been a detective for several years, but was new to Missouri. He said that he was no longer part of the investigation and we should not expect to learn much more from anyone. We left with more questions than we had gone there with, and no idea how to proceed.
When we got to the house Rob had been living in and died in, there was crime scene tape blowing all over. There was a fire pit outside, with some partially burned articles in it. When we entered the living room, it was very sparce. there was a strereo cabinet under the window, with no stereo in it. a small table with some baggies, that had the corners cut out. Mike explained it was what people used to put drugs in to sell. There was an old recliner in the corner, and a tapestry of a deer on the wall.
A few steps down the hall and to the right was a bedroom. It was small and had a small dresser, chest and a pallet of blankets on the floor. At the head of the pallet was a thick pool of my Robs blood with maggots in it. The smell was sickening, and we didn’t stay in there long. In the kitchen were some empty dog food cans. Rob had two little puppies that his grandfather had taken to take care of temporarily.
When we went back outside, we saw that one of the things that was in the firepit partially burned, was a blood stained pillow. Robs black Camaro was still on the property. It was filled with boxes of clothes and personal items. In the console were shot gun shells. When Mike started the car there was a tape in the tape player playing Highway to hell. A part of me felt mechanical and so far away from the whole situation. I was just doing what I thought needed to be done, feeling guilty that I had so little emotion.
Our next stop was Robs relatives. His grandfather is the one that discovered Robs body. He said Rob had called him the night before he died. He said he was going back to Illinois, and would he come the next day to pick up his furniture and puppies. When his grandfather got there that morning he said the puppies were running loose outside. He said Rob was very cautious about leaving the pups outside because there was no fence and he lived off a highway. When it came to thinking that Rob may have committed suicide, the one thing I questioned most. was that, When Robs dad died in a automobile accident the week before Rob was born, his grandfather had to identify his body. It was the most traumatic thing he ever had to do, Rob loved his grandfather and I could not believe that he would intentionally put his grandfather through that sort of thing again. A cousin said that when she walked into the bedroom Rob was in there was a pile of cash on the dresser. The police said there was only $8 and some change.
We went back to the Sheriffs ofc and ask to speak with the sheriff. We were told he would not speak to us because the case was closed. We went to the Distict Attorneys office and while he did talk to us, he said unless the Sheriff gave him the file for review, he could not help us. Everywhere we went, we hit another roadblock, and only ended up with more questions. I called Doug and he advised me to go back to Illinois, and he and my brother Bill would go to Missouri the following week to try to get some answers.
We went back to Robs house, packed up his things, attached his Camaro to the back of the van, picked up the puppies and left Missouri. We were all exhausted and felt so defeated. It was dark all the way back, and every time I looked behind me and see that black Camaro following us. It was such a haunting feeling.
will write part 4