KCBD INVESTIGATES: Terry County investigators still working to solve 1994 homicide

KCBD INVESTIGATES: Terry County investigators still working to solve 1994 homicide
Published: Nov. 25, 2014 at 10:44 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2014 at 4:08 AM CST
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Phyllis Uzetta Robinson was 29 (Photo provided by family)
Phyllis Uzetta Robinson was 29 (Photo provided by family)

TERRY COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Twenty years; that's how long a Terry County homicide case has remained unsolved. Investigators say they have not forgotten about the Lubbock woman they found dumped in a field off a remote dirt road.

INTERACTIVE MAP: KCBD Investigates Unsolved Homicides

Phyllis Uzetta Robinson, a mother of three, was last seen in July of 1994, not far from her Lubbock home in 1800 block of East First Street.

The Robinson family said she had walked to a nearby convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes, but never returned home.

Nine months later, Robinson's body was discovered nearly 30 miles away, dumped just inside the Terry County line.

Her family said Robinson was not familiar with that area.

A lot has changed in 20 years. Larry Gilbreath, a Texas Ranger who helped launch this investigation, is now the Terry County Sheriff. Tony Serbantez, one of the original Terry County investigators on this case, is now the Brownfield Police Chief.

While their positions have changed, their dedication to solving this case has not.

"There's somebody out there who knows what happened to Phyllis Robinson. I don't have any doubt in my mind about that," Gilbreath said.

In April of 1995, a farmer spotted a woman wandering through an old farm house on his Meadow property.

When he approached her, the woman asked if she could buy some of the antique furniture she found inside to sell at a flea market.

The farmer said while he was not interested in that deal, he was interested in the plastic bag full of human bones she had with her.

The woman told the farmer she found them not too far from the farm house on his property.

The woman drove away, but the farmer took down her license plate number and called authorities.

Investigators tracked the woman down at her Lubbock home, retrieved the remains and asked her to return to the site where she located the bones.

A brushy area across from the old farm house quickly became a crime scene.

The medical examiner's office identified the skeletal remains through dental records as 29-year-old Robinson.

A nine month old missing person case out of Lubbock turned into a Terry County homicide investigation.

Investigators were unable to locate Robinson's entire skeleton, so they were unable to determine cause of death.

"The pathologist did rule it a homicide because of the circumstances involved," Gilbreath said.

Twenty years later, the terrain does look a little different, but getting to the remote location still is not easy to access.

Whoever dumped Robinson's body had to park on a dirt road, carry her body up a bar ditch and walk about 30 yards.

Investigators believe there could be more than one person involved.

"They did go to the extreme to keep her from being located," Serbantez said.

With no new leads, Gilbreath and Serbantez hope someone will come forward with information.

"God loved her, her family loved her and you know, you just hate to see something like this never solved," Gilbreath said.

If you have any information on this case, please contact Crime Line at 741-1000.

Click here to see other stories in our continuing investigation.

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