Robin Frances Murphy

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Above Images: Robin, circa 1995

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: April 9, 1995 from Carmel, New York
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: January 11, 1978
  • Age: 17 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'9, 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Robin's hair was dyed black at the time of her disappearance.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black and white plaid flannel shirt, ripped black jeans, black stockings and black boots. Carrying a small black purse.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Robin was scheduled to meet her boyfriend, Matt Esposito, for dinner in their hometown of Carmel, New York on April 9, 1995. She was last seen at approximately 7:30 p.m., walking in the Shop-Rite Plaza Shopping Center (alternatively called the Carmel Center or the Nichols Plaza Shopping Center) on Route 52. Robin never arrived at the restaurant and has never been heard from again. The shopping center is less than one mile from her residence. Robin's mother's red Oldsmobile, which she had borrowed for her trip to the shopping center, was located near the Burger King restaurant in the mall's parking lot shortly afterwards. Her keys, wallet, purse and checkbook were discovered in a marshy, grassy area behind the center several days later.

    Investigators don't believe Robin ran away from home. Less than two weeks before she disappeared, she bought candy and presents for her younger siblings for Easter, but disappeared before the holiday. She dropped out of high school prior to her disappearance to take a job at the Shop-Rite supermarket, but had decided to return to school and planned to eventually enroll in college and become a journalist. Esposito was questioned regarding Robin's case and cleared as a possible suspect early in the investigation.

    Authorities announced that Howard J. Gombert Jr. was a suspect in Robin's disappearance after his arrest on sexual assault and child endangerment charges in March 2000. He was taken into custody after sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, as well as his own girlfriend, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. When the police arrested him in 2000, they found Robin's underwear hidden in a suitcase in his girlfriend's house; they were able to get DNA from the underwear and match it to Robin. Gombert had no explanation for how it got there. He had previously resided in Carmel and was employed at a laundromat in the shopping center where Robin disappeared, and he knew her. He stated he had spoken to Robin the day she disappeared and asked her for advice about his girlfriend, and they talked for a few minutes. In the days after she went missing, Gombert attempted suicide and had to be hospitalized. He has never been charged in connection with her disappearance. He has a prior criminal record and had been charged with first-degree rape in 1991, but the charge was dismissed when the thirteen-year-old alleged victim recanted her story shortly after his arrest.

    Robin liked to wear black clothing in 1995; she also enjoyed writing and listening to rock music. Her disappearance remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected in her case.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Carmel Police Department
    845-628-1300

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Child Protection Education Of America
    New York State Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse
    The News-Times
    The Journal News
    Sex Offender Registry and Sex Crime Search, Info and Discussion
    NamUs
    The New York Times
    Peter Henderson Jr.

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    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated June 18, 2016; picture added, date of disappearance, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.

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