The family of a missing Maryland mother is releasing new information about her case as they continue their increasingly urgent efforts to locate her.
Robin Pope, 51, was reportedly last seen at the Stevensville home she shared with her husband Wayne Pope on the night of March 1. He reported her missing hours later, telling police that she had disappeared, along with her dog.
The couple had been separated for about three weeks and Robin had been staying at a friend’s condo during that time, according to her daughters. They were married for 22 years before that.
“Your absence has brought a cold empty feeling to each of us that know you best and it has become difficult for us to move on with our lives. We really need to know where you are,” a friend said in a statement issued last week on behalf of Robin Pope’s two daughters.
One of Pope’s daughters, Priscilla Hastings, revealed new details Tuesday about the night her mother went missing.
Hastings told HLN her mother had a job interview at a GNC on March 1 around 8 p.m. The last known communication from her cell phone was a 13-minute call to Wayne Pope at 10:30 p.m. that ended when she reached Oregon Road, which connects to the street where the couple had lived and Wayne still resided.
According to Hastings, Wayne Pope allegedly said he fell asleep after that conversation. When he woke up, he allegedly found Robin sleeping in her car outside the house. He knocked on her window and told her he would leave so she could go inside and get her belongings.
According to Robin Pope’s best friend Debbie O’Malley, Wayne came to her house around 1:30 a.m. on March 2 to ask if she had seen Robin. He allegedly told her he had left Robin at his house around 11:00 p.m. because his attorney advised him not to be alone with her, but she and her dog, a Great Dane named Bella, were gone when he returned two hours later.
There was no sign of Robin Pope at the condo where she had been staying and she was not answering her phone, according to O’Malley. At that point, she advised Wayne Pope to go home, call the police and report Robin missing.
Wayne Pope called police and responding officers found Robin’s phone, purse and ID in her car at their house. Medication that Robin had been taking following successful treatment for breast cancer was also left in the vehicle, Hastings said.
Later on Saturday, the dog’s body was found in the water near the home by local residents walking along the shore, according to police.
“I’m suspicious,” O’Malley told HLN. “Robin doesn’t just up and disappear.”
Authorities have organized extensive searches with the assistance of dive teams, cadaver dogs and helicopters. Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley told HLN the most recent police searches were conducted Sunday on area waterways with the assistance of a crew from Charles County, but nothing significant was found.
After nearly three weeks, Shipley said police still have no information about the cause of Pope’s disappearance, but their search efforts will likely continue.
“We’re at a loss as to where she is or what happened to her,” Shipley said.
Rachael Pope, Robin’s other daughter, told WMAR that searchers had found a shirt believed to be Robin’s near the spot where Bella’s body was discovered.
Shipley said homicide detectives are not aware of any items being found that have been positively linked by forensic testing to Robin Pope, but Hastings confirmed it was her mother’s shirt.
“I’m sure it’s my mom’s and my mom’s best friend is sure,” Hastings told HLN. She provided several photos of Robin Pope wearing what she said is the same shirt that was found. Hastings said investigators were still conducting tests on the shirt for reasons she could not discuss.
Wayne Pope’s attorney Dana Paul told HLN he felt some doubt has been unfairly cast upon his client in part because of erroneous initial reports from authorities that Bella died from traumatic injuries. The state police have since corrected that information and said that the dog did not suffer any external injuries.
Paul claimed the dog died of hypothermia from being in the water where she was found. Shipley said a veterinarian concluded that exposure to the elements may have been responsible, but a definite cause of death has not been determined.
Paul declined to comment on any other aspects of the case at this time.
Hastings said the family hopes to announce a reward in the coming days, but they are still working out the details of that with the help of Wayne Pope’s father and stepmother.
“It’s really a family effort to put the reward together,” she said.
Meanwhile, friends and volunteers have been searching everyday.
“We don’t want Robin to just be forgotten,” O’Malley said. “We want to find her.”
A post on the “Help Find Robin Pope” Facebook page Tuesday encouraged volunteers to continue their search efforts: “We are asking everyone in Kent Island, Chester, Grasonville, Queenstown, Centreville, Easton, St. Michaels etc.. Also everyone on the Western Shore- Annapolis, Edgewater, Cape St. Claire, Arnold, Deale, Shadyside ** please go for a walk check your local areas, woods, beaches, shoreline etc. FOR ROBIN!”
Anyone with information regarding Robin Pope’s disappearance is asked to call Maryland State Police at 410-758-1101.