A South Carolina man stumbled out of the woods screaming after being stabbed in the chest and died shortly after. More than 25 years later, his murderer is still on the loose.
On, Aug. 17, 1996, Jack Robinson, 65, traveled to a boat landing at the end of Rosewood Drive, just down from the SC State Fairgrounds to meet another man. Witnesses say they walked into the woods, Richland County police said.
Shortly after, according to the witnesses, Robinson emerged from the woods screaming for help as he had stab wounds to the chest. When police arrived, they found Robinson's body.
The suspect was described as a Hispanic man about 5-feet-10-inches, 160 pounds, according to police.
The suspect, estimated to be 25-35 years old at the time, had a mustache and was wearing dark Ray Ban-style sunglasses, police say. Despite the description, the man has yet to be found.
Robinson, who lived on Rach Road in Columbia, worked at Moncrief Army Health Center on Fort Jackson in the drug dispensary.
“My dad was quiet, he could keep a secret,” Tammy Downs, Robinson's daughter, told ABC Columbia in 2020. “But at the same time, he could be very funny, he would tell a lot of jokes.”
The Richland County Sheriff's Department stillis looking for leads to this day. It is not known why Robinson was meeting the unidentified man that day.
Robinson retired from the U.S. Air Force after 25 years of service before working at the health center, NBC News reports. Growing up poor, Robinson had always wanted a toy train for Christmas and later wanted to ride one as a grownup.
Downs said her father finally got the chance to ride a train as he took her boys, then 2 and 4 years old, to ride one in Florida, where she was living, according to NBC News.
“He wanted the boys to experience the train,” Downs said. “Because he never got that opportunity. He was excited to see their reactions.”
After Robinson and his wife split up, Downs and her mother moved to Florida, where Robinson would later travel to via train from South Carolina, NBC News reports.
That was until that fateful day in 1996.
“I was told my father was dead,” Downs said. “But not just that, he had been murdered. Stabbed to death. I didn’t know what to think. We were in shock for the longest time.”
According to NBC News, the confrontation was over money, though police don't list a motive on their website.
Downs told NBC News she doesn't believe the incident was over money because her father would have given the man the money if he had it, though he rarely carried much cash.
An investigation found that Robinson likely knew the suspect and theories were that they were possibly in a physical relationship, NBC News reports.
Downs said her dad frequented a gay bar in the area but said she didn't know why Robinson would have been at the boat landing that day.
“He would never hesitate to help someone in need,” Downs told NBC News. “He would never hurt someone and it makes no sense why someone would want to hurt him.”
Richland County police hope new technology will help them finally solve the case, ABC Columbia reports.
“This particular situation is the first time we’ve used this new computer technology to enhance a composite sketch and also an age-progression of that, so we’re excited about the possibility it may lead us to identify him or give us a new lead just hearing the story once again,” said Lt. Kevin Isenhoward of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Still, it's approaching three decades without a solution.
“When you have somebody killed, it tears you apart, and it never leaves you,” Downs told ABC Columbia. “So I just beg anybody that may know something to please call because I would like to have it solved."
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