A cold case of an Elmore City man missing for decades could be coming out of hibernation as a couple of family members are now on the hunt today for clues.
The case of Jimmy Don Robinson recently hit a “significant” anniversary as it’s been 45 years since he went missing back on Oct. 1, 1976.
Now Robinson’s sister, Phyllis Hines of Lindsay, and a nephew Jimmy Don never met, Joshua Shawn of Texas, are teaming up to actively work their own investigation in conjunction with the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office and state authorities.
Both Hines, who was a young girl when her brother disappeared, and Shawn are following up on leads and talking to witnesses who might know something, no matter how small, about what happened to Robinson all those years ago.
It’s Shawn who says it was just a few months ago when he and his aunt joined up to “become proactive about finding more information about what happened.”
“I got involved maybe six months ago because the story was very compelling,” Shawn said.
“I want to help my family and it's hard to believe that for more than 30 years there was no trail of anything.
“His disappearance has almost turned into an urban legend.”
Hines has from the beginning been all in on doing whatever she can to help the family find closure.
“I have made a promise to keep searching. I'm keeping that promise to my mother and father to keep searching,” Hines says.
“I feel like we're getting close to finding some answers. The idea of knowing what happened might provide that sense of closure.
“It has been and remains an unsolved mystery that has haunted us all these years. It has changed our lives every day and we can't find closure.
“It's like being in a maze and opening a door thinking you're getting out and learning you're trapped in it. We just hope someone can help out with information to free us. We don't want our children to go through that. It's complete hell.”
The most recent movement in the case came a few weeks ago when the duo spoke with a man in Edmond who has for years claimed to know what happened to Robinson.
Information from him led to state and county authorities getting divers out to search a lake near Elmore City. No body or submerged vehicle were found.
It's long been a rumor that Robinson was killed and then dumped into a lake. This recent search did not confirm that belief.
They add there's also been a lot of misinformation out there, such as the talk that Robinson's vehicle was recovered. Both say it has never been found.
They've also spoken with people still around who knew Robinson, including those who lived with him at the time of the disappearance.
“These are not new leads; they've been there along,” Shawn said.
“We've spoken to multiple people recently that we believe knows something about this. There has been some denial from some, a lot of people are more like providing characteristics of people who might have done something.
“We're asking that enough time has passed, we're not trying to arrest anyone. We just want to find out what happened to him,” he said, adding it's his belief the case is more of a “recovery” than a homicide.
“If anyone has any information about Jimmy Don's case, even the smallest thing, we encourage you to contact the sheriff's office,” Hines said.
“We just want to find the answers that we desperately seek.”
Both give plenty of credit to Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullett for his interest in actively following up on any leads from this decades-old case.
“Sheriff Mullett has been more helpful than anyone else that we've dealt with. We show up with a name and he checks it out,” Hines said, adding there's a “pretty big file” now open on the case at the sheriff's office.
“We do a lot of the groundwork with this being a very cold case. We do as much as we can with the leads or anything going to Sheriff Mullett for his investigation.
“We are just putting ourselves out there and doing as much as we can.”