Unsolved: Mystery continues 30 years after Colonial Parkway Murders

Posted at 12:00 AM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 07:29:21-04

ISLE OF WIGHT, Co., Va. - Bonnie Dodson and Janette Santiago sat down in front of the television expecting to hear a report on the news about the missing middle child of their family.

David's pickup truck

Instead, they learned she was dead.

"It was devastating," said Santiago, the older sister of Robin Edwards. "It was like the worst throw punch you could ever imagine."

Not far from them, Michael Knobling also had the news on that evening. He'd learn his brother, David, was also dead. "My mom and I are just sitting watching the news, and boom," he said. "I remember that day as clear as a bell. It was the worst day of my life."

That was September 1987. Now, 30 years after the double murder, the case remains unsolved. "Some days it feels like it was just yesterday, and then some days it feels like 30 years," said Dodson and Santiago.

The case is considered the second in the notorious Colonial Parkway Murders, a series of double murders that rocked the area in the late 1980s. The four unsolved cases sparked fears they were the work of a serial killer.

Someone shot and killed Edwards and Knobling in the back of the head at Ragged Island at the edge of the James River, about 30 miles away from the Colonial Parkway. In this case, the families say they're not optimistic the case will be solved. "It's been 30 years man," Michael said. "I don't see it getting solved. I hope and pray it does. I look forward to the day, but I'm not going to hold my breath anymore."

David Knobling (L) and Robin Edwards (R)

It all started in mid-September 1987 when Robin went on a date with  David's cousin. David drove them in his pickup truck. Michael joined along, and the group went to an arcade. They dropped Robin back off at home, but her family says it appears she snuck out of the house and met up with David. The next day, no one heard from the two. "I said, 'What about Robin and David?' and there was no sign of them." Dodson, Robin's mom, remembered.

A few days later a sheriff's deputy found David's beloved pickup truck at Ragged Island with the keys still in the ignition and the wipers running, but there was no sign of the couple. Not long after that, a jogger discovered Robin's body, and then David's father found his. "I just think they were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Santiago said.

As time dragged on, the families say hope began to fade that a killer would ever be caught. "That's the worst part about it all," Michael said. "Having nobody to blame, nobody to take your anger out on, not knowing why, that's the worst part of it all."

Now on this anniversary, the families are thinking about what could've been. "He missed out on my marriage, my kids, everything," Michael said. "I miss her potential. What she could've been. What she should've been," Dodson said.


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