Family seeks answers decades after mom found dead in Kansas
It’s a mystery that’s haunted a family for nearly 35 years.
Four children have always wondered what happened to their mom, Robin Green.
LAST VISIT WITH MOM
They last saw the then-28-year-old in late December 1985. She traveled with her husband from their California home to visit her children in Minnesota. The kids were being cared for by Robin’s ex-husband.
“The last time we saw her was actually my fourth birthday,” said daughter Serah. “So, really young. I only have a few memories of her, especially when her and Michael would come up and visit us in Minnesota. They would take us to a hotel for the weekend, and we would spend time with them there.”
Serah and her sister Erin were 4 and 6 years old at the time. They have a handful of memories, like hanging at the hotel pool for visits with their mom. After their parents split up, around 1984, Robin would visit the girls, their brother and sister. She’d see them throughout the year and would call them several times a week.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, the daughters said. This visit, though, would be the last Robin would make out there.
“There was a break there were, you know, there was no contact for her,” daughter Erin said. “Then, you know…as mentioned by the sheriff, there was an investigation going on.”
A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Federal investigators were looking into Robin’s new husband, Michael Green. Dubbed by some as the “Acid King of California,” Michael pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make and sell LSD between 1968 and 1974. He had been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for this crime; he was also serving another sentence in connection to a drug-smuggling case in San Diego, California. He had also appealed court decisions in the early 80's, like when he was convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. At some point after serving time, Michael’s home was ceased in a criminal investigation.
The family and Saline County Sheriff’s Office have questioned if Michael’s past had influenced what happened to Robin. He was involved in a drug case during the time Robin disappeared.
FINDING ‘MISS MOLLY’
On Jan. 25, 1986, a body was spotted off I-70 about 15 miles west of Salina. The woman had heavy bruising on her face. It’s believed she fell or was thrown from the bridge and was found, about 30 feet below, into Mulberry Creek. The woman drowned maybe a couple days before she was discovered.
The case has rattle investigators at the Saline County Sheriff’s office. For years, they would revisit the story of the woman, whom they later nicknamed “Miss Molly.” Nothing ever turned up — until this past year.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with Saline County to find the identity of the Jane Doe. A tip led investigators to two women from Europe who may be a match.
In late July 2019, the body of Miss Molly was exhumed from her grave at Gypsum Hill Cemetery. DNA samples were collected on site and then submitted to databases. By spring, the sheriff’s office learned there was a familial hit in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). It was not the European women. Through DNA and dental records, they discovered Robin Green was Miss Molly.
Serah got a call from from Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Her mind was racing.
“Obviously, there probably was some sort of identification,” she said. “That was probably what I thought and then, and then hearing it. I guess my gut feeling was, well, I assumed she most likely was probably probably dead.”
Detectives confirmed what Serah and Erin had thought for a long time: their mother passed away. It took a while for the reality to sink in, and they were saddened to learn of how their mom died. Getting to this point, however, was not easy. In fact, they said the search was frustrating.
THE TOUGH SEARCH
Growing up, Serah and Erin thought of many things that could have happened to Robin. By their 20’s, they dove into the detective work. Erin found inspiration from a true crime podcast. She wondered if DNA could help crack the case.
Erin worked tirelessly to find Robin, but one of the biggest snags was a mix up: no missing persons report was ever filed for Robin Green.
About 10 years after they last heard from their mom, Robin’s ex-husband consulted his lawyers about what to do. He was advised to legally declare Robin dead. Erin said she’s never questioned her dad’s move. Robin’s Social Security Number was inactive for years, and her ex-husband was hoping to get survivor’s benefits for the four children.
“Unfortunately, you kind of closed a lot of doors when he did that, she said. “He didn't realize that he was, you know, that would happen. He just was going by what the lawyer said.”
In the years following Robin’s disappearance, her ex-husband had been in contact with police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which was looking into Michael for a criminal case. The family assumed a missing persons report was filed for Robin, but it wasn’t. The family tried to get that fixed.
“It was a lot of you need to go and talk to so-and-so, you need to go talk to so-and-so,” Erin said. “It was just kind of a lot of shut doors and a lot of, you know, the runaround,” Erin said.
Erin could not get a missing persons report made with police or added to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System's website. She wanted to get her mom’s profile listed among thousands of missing persons featured online. She also wanted to get the family’s DNA added to CODIS. She managed to do it — through a loophole.
In 2016, the Minnesota Department Public Safety had exhumed dozens of bodies of unidentified people found from the 1970s to the 1990s. Forensic experts worked to test the remains to see if they could find matches in CODIS, which contains DNA profiles of people across the country. In recent years, the technology has improved so much that they could test remains considered to be in poor condition — something they couldn’t do before.
While watching the news one evening, Erin saw the story about the Unidentified Remains Effort. At this point, the state was hoping to identify five specific people. They asked families, who had missing loved ones, to come forward and get a DNA swab. Sera’s went to get tested, and later, her siblings and dad also contributed. The family never was a match to those five people, but, about three years later, they got a call. Their DNA had a match nearly 600 miles away. They learned Robin was found dead about a month after they last saw her.
This summer, the family visited Saline County to hear more about their mom’s final days. They visited where she was last seen and where she remains today.
“It was surreal, that's, yeah, you know, seeing the bridge,” Erin said.
“I think the question is why she ended up in Kansas,” Serah said. “We never thought to look in Kansas.”
Though it’s possible Robin and Michael were driving through Kansas on their way from Minnesota to their Los Angeles home, the daughters found it strange their mom ended up there. They hope someone will come forward and help them get the closure they’ve been aching for their whole lives.
“It's been so many years, let's just let's just close this up,” Erin said.
“They're both gone,” Serah echoed.
“Everybody's gone,” Erin continued. “Just you know, just for our own sanity, and you know, closure. Let us know what happened or why this happened.”
LOOKING INTO THE HOMICIDE
The Saline County Sheriff said Michael Green has not been ruled out as a suspect in the case. The DEA also is looking into Michael’s case. However, he passed away in September 2007 in Florida. The sheriff’s office is looking into tips its received this summer.
The homicide investigation remains active. If you have a tip about the disappearance and death of Robin Green, call the Saline County Sheriff’s Office at (785) 826-6500.