Body of slain man, 61, found in his trunk How, why he was killed are a mystery, police say

April 26, 1996|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

Officers popped open the trunk of a car at police headquarters yesterday and found the body of a 61-year-old man, whose slaying is as mysterious as how he ended up there.

"I don't understand why anyone would have killed him. He was liked by everyone," said Betty Tunstall, the fiancee of the victim, Charles Augustus Robinson. "I also don't understand why the police didn't find him earlier. Things like this aren't supposed to happen."

A police dog trained to locate blood sniffed through the 1989 Ford Tempo shortly after it was found Wednesday morning in Leakin Park, but to no avail, police said. So they towed the car to the garage at police headquarters, where Mr. Robinson's body lay overnight unbeknown to anyone.

"No missing person report had been filed and the dog didn't pick up the scent we had no reason to think anything was wrong," said Sam Ringgold, a city police spokesman.

Mr. Robinson last was seen early Tuesday night leaving the Democrats Club, a group of senior citizens who meet at Fairmount Avenue and Franklintown Road in West Baltimore. A noted pinochle player, Mr. Robinson had played several rounds with his friends before leaving about 6 p.m.

"He said goodbye, got in his car, made a u-turn and went up the street," said Wilson Davis, a club member and one of Mr. Robinson's friends. "Nobody seen him after that."

A city patrolman found the car about 2 a.m., blocking traffic in the 3500 block of Winterbourne Road. The officer called for the canine unit to investigate the car, but the dog did not indicate the presence of blood or drugs, police said.

Police checked the registration of the car and determined it belonged to Mr. Robinson, a retired country-club golf caddy who lived in the 3400 block of Wild Cherry Road in Woodlawn. At the time no one suspected that Mr. Robinson had met with foul play and the car was towed, police said.

Early yesterday, police decided to force open the trunk to investigate and found Mr. Robinson's body. Investigators said he died from a severe head wound, although an autopsy will have to confirm whether he was bludgeoned or shot.

The motive for the killing isn't known. Police described Mr. Robinson as an unlicensed cab driver, although his fiancee, Ms. Tunstall, said he only provided rides to senior citizens he knew.

"He wouldn't pick up just anybody on the street," said Ms. Tunstall, who had planned to marry Mr. Robinson at the end of the year.

"It's a very, very mysterious situation," she said. "He was a beautiful person who never hurt anybody. He sure didn't deserve to end up like that."

Pub Date: 4/26/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.