Robin Rodriguez was working the overnight shift on June 2, 1976 at what was then the Lil General Food Store on 42nd Avenue and 15th Street in West Gulfport. Police say around 4:30 that morning a customer walked inside and noticed something was wrong.
"They noticed the store was empty and there was no attendant around; they, in turn, called Gulfport Police," said Harrison County Sgt. Coley Judy, who has taken over the cold case.
According to the case file, nothing was out of place at the store. The money was still in the register, but Rodriguez and her car were missing. Sgt. Judy said that is when police reached out to her family looking for answers.
"They made contact with her husband who said she wasn't home. She never came home and they ended up doing a missing persons report," Sgt. Judy said.
Around noon Rodriguez's body was found partially nude, with her hands tied behind her back, face down in shallow water at the end of Magnolia Drive in Pass Christian, about 11 miles from where she disappeared.
Autopsy reports indicate Rodriguez was strangled to death.
"They did find her vehicle on Burks Avenue in Long Beach and they determined then that the car had been there pretty much all morning," Sgt. Judy said.
Several fingerprints were found on the abandoned car. Some turned out to be her husband's, others were Rodriguez's and a friend of her's. But there is one set of fingerprints that investigators are hoping could solve this 38-year old murder case.
"We have some identifiable fingerprints that right now are in the FBI crime lab that are being processed," Sgt. Judy said.
With possible suspects already in the case file, Sgt. Judy anxiously awaits to see if those fingerprints match any of the suspects.
After the murder, some store employees reported receiving harassing phone calls at the store and at their homes. Investigators were never able to find out who was behind those calls.
If you have any information about Rodriguez's murder, you are asked to contact the Harrison County Sheriff's Department at http://harrisoncountysheriff.com.s153855.gridserver.com/department-divisions/cold-case-files/ or call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.
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