Mary C. Robinson

Robinson, circa 1976; Leonard Lipsky

  • Missing Since 06/10/1976
  • Missing From Rochester, New York
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Age 23 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'2, 115 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A black dress with red trim, a black vest with red trim, and white open-toed shoes. Carrying a white vinyl purse.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Red hair, brown eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Robinson was last seen in her hometown of Rochester, New York on June 10, 1976. Her life was troubled at the time of her disappearance. Her husband had left her for her sister, although she was still legally married. She had worked as a waitress, but about two weeks before she went missing she fell into prostitution.

In October 1978, a man named Leonard Lipsky was arrested for aggravated assault in Provo, Utah. In February 1979, while still in custody in Utah as the charge was pending, he told a social worker and a probation officer that he had strangled Robinson in his apartment on Brooks Avenue in Rochester and dumped her body in a gully three hours south of town.

Her case was reopened and after it was featured in the local news, Lipsky's former girlfriend went to police and gave them Robinson's purse, identification, sandals and socks, which she had found in Lipsky's apartment in 1976. Police also found a poem Lipsky wrote which said, "by my hand one has died."

Lipsky was later convicted of second-degree murder in Robinson's disappearance and sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison, although at his February 1980 trial his defense attorney suggested Robinson might have walked out of her life or committed suicide. He was only the second person in New York state history to be convicted of murder without a body.

His conviction was overturned for lack of evidence in April 1980, reinstated on appeal in December 1981, and overturned again in July 1984. A photo of Lipsky is posted with this case summary.

Foul play is suspected in Robinson's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • La Verne Police Department 909-596-1913

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 27, 2017; casefile added.