Details of Disappearance
Riley, a nurse, was last seen by coworker following a clinic conference at her workplace, Scripps Clinic in San Diego, California, on April 5, 1986. She spoke to her boss on the phone at 5:30 p.m., and this is the last time anyone heard from her. She has never been seen again. A few days after her disappearance, her car was found abandoned in a hotel parking lot in San Diego.
At the time of her disappearance, Riley was involved with a man she knew as Robert Howard Smith. She had a dinner date with him planned for the day of her disappearance, and told friends she was planning to break up with him. She was seeing another man as well, a doctor from Colorado, and planned to marry this man.
When questioned by police, Smith claimed she had canceled their dinner date and he had no idea what happened to her. On April 7, just two days after Riley's disappearance, Smith left town, telling his roommate he was going on a business trip, and dropped out of sight.
"Smith" turned out to be a man named Robert Dean Weeks, who had a history of going by false names and identities. Robert's ex-wife, Patricia Weeks, disappeared from Clark County, Nevada on April 25, 1968, a few weeks after their divorce had been finalized and she had been granted custody of their four young children. After her disappearance, her car was found abandoned in a parking lot.
Robert later dated a real estate agent, Cynthia Jabour, for nearly six years. She went missing on October 5, 1980; she had a dinner date scheduled with Robert that night, and told friends she intended to end their relationship. She was last seen in the lobby of his condo in Las Vegas, Nevada that evening. After her disappearance, her car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a Las Vegas hotel. Robert claimed she had canceled their dinner date that night.
After Riley's disappearance, the police realized the parallels her case had with Jabour's, then learned about Patricia's disappearance in 1968 and the disappearance of James Shaw, a business associate of Robert's, who was last seen in Las Vegas on May 5, 1971. His bloodstained car was later found abandoned. Acquaintances said he had argued with Robert the day he disappeared.
Police launched a manhunt for Robert, and he and the four disappearances were profiled on the television show Unsolved Mysteries. Thanks to tips from people who saw the show, in April 1987 he was located in Tucson, Arizona, where he'd been living under the name Charles F. Stolzenberg. He was arrested on an outstanding embezzlement charge out of Nevada, and questioned about the four disappearances. In July 1987, he was indicted for Patricia and Jabour's murders.
A photo of Robert is posted with this case summary. At his trial, numerous witnesses testified that he was a controlling and abusive man, prone to jealous rages.
Two of his and Patricia's children took the stand to talk about how their father had beaten their mother on numerous occasions; others corroborated this, and Patricia had twice gotten restraining orders against her husband. Witnesses also testified that when Robert saw Patricia sitting next to a male neighbor on a piano bench, he beat the man so severely he was unrecognizable, and didn't regain consciousness for three days.
Passages from Robert's diary were presented for the jury; he wrote bitterly about Jabour, saying, "You have humiliated me beyond belief. I will even the score." The jury was permitted to hear about Riley's suspicious disappearance as well.
In April 1988, he was convicted of Patricia's murder and Jabour's murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. It was the first time in Nevada history that someone was convicted of murder without the victim's body. He died in prison in 1996; he was never charged in Riley and Shaw's disappearances. None of the bodies of the missing people connected to him have ever been found. He was interested in mining, and may have dumped them in mine shafts in the Nevada desert.