Akron teen remains missing

By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Mother’s Day won’t be the same this year. No handmade card, no poem to add to her lifelong collection.

Instead, Carmilla Robinson holds hope that her 19-year-old daughter, Taylor, will just come home. They’ve never missed being together on Mother’s Day.

“Never. Not in 19 years,” Robinson said Saturday.

Sunday marks the ninth day since the Akron mother has seen her daughter. Police and the FBI are investigating the disappearance, but they can offer no answers as to the whereabouts of the college freshman and aspiring nurse.

“I wish we had some good news. But we don’t,” Akron police Det. Brian Harding said. “But I can assure you we’re working the case as hard as we can.”

Dozens of classmates, church friends and some complete strangers are offering their help to Carmilla Robinson and her family. Over the weekend, supporters rallied and prayed. They knocked on doors in West Akron, passing out hundreds of fliers depicting photos of Taylor and her infectious, ever-present smile.

“It got to be overwhelming, to see all those people. I’m so grateful,” Robinson said.

On Monday, Robinson, 39, will speak at the Akron City Council to thank the community for its support and plea for the safe return of her only daughter.

“We just want to show our support from City Council and let Mrs. Robinson know that we’re with her, that we care,” said Ward 5 councilman Ken Jones, who arranged the visit. “Mrs. Robinson is agonizing right now and we want to keep Taylor’s story out there, keep it relevant, in the news, in the media, as best we can.”

Sunday, Robinson will go to church with her son, 13-year-old Jayquann, and other family members, praying that this Mother’s Day will bring a happy ending to her ordeal. Her church is her salvation, she said. It’s a place to go for support and prayer.

“That’s about it. I haven’t really thought about anything else except going to church and praying,” she said.

Each day, she said, is difficult. She knows her daughter would not run away. Taylor has too much going in her favor. The Kenmore High graduate attends Kent State University’s Stark campus. She has two jobs. She loves puppies and children and hopes to one day work as a neonatal nurse.

Everyone says it just isn’t like Taylor to pick up and walk away from her family and her responsibilities.

Robinson last saw her daughter May 3 when she drove her to a Kipling Street home, where Taylor works overnight as a health care aide for a 24-year-old female patient who is severely handicapped and non-verbal.

When Robinson returned to the house Saturday morning to pick up her daughter, Taylor was gone.

Most troubling was the fact that Taylor left without her coat and without her shoes. Her cellphone was gone, and also shut off and could not be tracked. Police scanned Taylor’s phone records and learned that an ex-boyfriend had called her about 10 p.m. the night she disappeared.

Police have searched the Akron man’s car for evidence of foul play. They have also tried to interview him about Taylor, but instead the ex-boyfriend contacted an attorney and has so far not fully cooperated, police say.

Detectives meanwhile continue to receive tips as Taylor’s story struggles for attention in the media shadow cast from Cleveland, where three women missing for a decade were found alive Monday. The women were held captive by a man now accused of kidnapping and rape.

The discovery after so many years has been called a miracle.

“I’m so happy for those families,” Robinson said. “I just pray I get the same miracle they have.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Akron police at 330-375-2490. Anonymous tips may be left at http://ci.akron.oh.us/ASP/tip.html.

Information also can be provided anonymously by calling Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS (2677). Tipsters might qualify for a cash reward.

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PhilTrexler.

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