Police have 'persons of interest' in Bollinger County shooting death

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
A house on County Road 834 in Bollinger County is blocked off by crime scene tape Friday, September 7, while the Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad, is investigate the death of Jefferey Scott Robins after he was found dead in his rural Bollinger County home Sept. 6. (Adam Vogler)

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Bollinger County Sheriff Darin Shell confirmed Tuesday that investigators are looking at several "persons of interest" in connection to last September's shooting death of 35-year-old Jeffrey Scott Robins.

Shell declined to provide specifics, saying it could hinder their search for someone they believe walked into Robins' unlocked rural home on County Road 834 the afternoon of Sept. 6 and fired one shot into the back of his head as he slept.

Shell, who assumed office in January, declined to elaborate about whether an arrest was imminent, what evidence had been collected or if he believed the shooting was done as an act of retaliation. Robins repossessed cars as owner of HJR Towing and Recovery in Marble Hill.

"There's just so much we can't get into right now," Shell said. "We know people want answers. We do, too."

But it would be a mistake for the public, or the killer, to mistake his restraint for a lack of resolve. He wants this case solved, Shell said.

"It is a priority, a top priority," Shell said. "We understand the family needs closure. They need to know what happened and who did this. We are not giving up."

Shell has assigned two deputies the task of piecing together events that culminated Sept. 6. The sheriff's office is being assisted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control, although Shell was quick to insist that doesn't necessarily mean drugs were a factor.

The special unit assigned to the case investigates homicides and other violent offenses across the state, assisting local agencies where the deaths occur. The patrol did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

An autopsy done the day after the shooting confirmed what investigators suspected -- the father of four had died of a head wound and the shot was fired by someone else. The death initially was investigated by the Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad, but it has disbanded.

Former Sheriff Leo McElrath said at the time there was "a long list" of people being looked at as potential suspects, but five months have passed without an arrest.

Bollinger County Coroner Charlie Hutchings said his office has received numerous leads in the case and received one Tuesday that may prove important. Hutchings was tight-lipped about what it was, but said he forwarded it to the patrol.

"It will either be fantastic or nothing at all," Hutchings said. "That's how these things go."

Hutchings advised Robins' family not to lose faith, recalling cases that took years to solve.

"They don't want to give up," he said.

The victim's family has tried to stay patient, according to Robins' younger sister, Alicia Meadors of Cape Girardeau. Meadors said she won't criticize police after just five months. She wants to stay out of the way and let investigators do their job, she said.

A woman of faith, Meadors prays daily that God will provide police with evidence to bring her brother's killer to justice.

But if the investigation extends beyond a year, she said, the family's patience might begin to wear thin.

"But I have confidence, to some degree, that they'll make an arrest," she said.

The family has theories about who the killer is, she said. But they would rather spend their time remembering the loved one they knew as "Scotty." Meador also tries to make time to visit her nephew and nieces -- Robins' four children who range in age from 6 to 16. They are living with their mother, Meador said, who was going through a divorce with her brother at the time of his death.

The family is trying to keep their lives moving while keeping the memory of their loved one alive. And the family is waiting for justice, too, Meador said.

"I still think they'll find the one who did it," she said. "It's just a matter of time."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

County Road 834, Bollinger County, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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