Reporting Mike Hellgren
STEVENSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A mystery in Maryland remains unsolved. The death of a woman whose body was discovered in the Chesapeake Bay still haunts her family and puzzles police.
Mike Hellgren retraces Robin Pope’s last steps before she vanished one cold night on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The mystery unfolded on a dead-end road in Stevensville, at a home just inches from the churning water of the Chesapeake Bay.
On a cold night in March, loving mother and businesswoman Robin Pope pulled up in her black Infiniti, left her keys, credit cards, even the medicine she took after surviving breast cancer, and disappeared.
An exhaustive search came to a gut-wrenching end one month later. A neighbor found Robin’s badly decomposed body floating less than a mile from where she vanished. Her daughter, Rachael, wants answers.
“Just the idea of it becoming a cold case is my worst fear,” said Rachael Pope.
WJZ’s investigation traced Robin Pope’s final moments.
The last known person to see her alive was her husband, Wayne. The two were estranged and Robin was staying with a friend, but decided to stop by the house they shared for years to get some belongings.
Police say Wayne told them he left her there alone. When he came back about three hours later, her car and personal effects were there, but there was no sign of Robin.
Hellgren: “Could someone have come up there? Was she an easy target?”
Rachael: “I don’t know who would be after my mom. We didn’t know of any enemies that she had. She was loved by everyone.”
Robin’s daughter says her mom hated the water. She can’t imagine why she’d be outside.
“It’s very mysterious, just the reason she was there that late at night. Everything just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Including whether this was an accident, or foul play.
And there’s another twist: Robin’s beloved dog, a massive 11-year-old Great Dane named Bella, also went missing that same night and also ended up in the same watery grave.
“She had bruises on her feet,” said Dr. Marian Shaw, veterinarian.
WJZ tracked down Dr. Marian Shaw, who knew Bella well. She was her vet, and performed her autopsy.
“I think the dog was probably trying to get out of the water,” Shaw said.
She thinks the dog died of hypothermia, but there are persistent questions of why Bella was in the water in the first place.
“Great Danes don’t usually like to swim. They would avoid water,” she said.
Despite a comprehensive autopsy, WJZ has learned the medical examiner has been unable to say how or why Robin Pope died, fueling speculation over what happened.
“There is no immediate sign that has given them any indication there may be a killer, but certainly, the circumstances are suspicious enough that we have to consider that as a possibility,” said Greg Shipley, Maryland State Police.
That possibility was on the minds of family and friends. They want one question answered: What happened to Robin Pope?
“I just want closure. That way I can move on with my life,” said Rachael Pope. “I definitely don’t think it was an accident.”
“It’s a mystery. It’s definitely a mystery, but one we hope to find the answers to,” said Shipley.
Police have never identified a suspect, and the medical examiner has not been able to determine what killed Robin Pope, but sources tell WJZ they found no obvious signs of trauma.