In 1970, Robin Graham vanished after her car broke down in Los Angeles, California. Nearly 53 years later and no trace of Robin has ever been found. What happened to Robin and is her case connected to several similar crimes in the area?
In 1970, 18 year old Robin Ann Graham was living in Los Angeles, California and attended Pierce College. On November 14,1970, she dropped her car off at the Pier 1 Imports where she worked part time and left in her boyfriends car and left for a night out with friends.
At approximately 2:00 AM on the morning of November 15,1970, Robin was driving southbound on the Hollywood Freeway near Santa Monica Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, when the car stalled. She called her parents and asked them to pick her up. She was then seen by a California Highway patrolman standing next to the disabled car. The officer then saw Robin talking to a white man in his mid twenties who was driving a blue 1957-1960 Chevy Corvette hardtop. The man helped Robin start the car and they then rode off in his car, and Robin vanished soon after.
The officer thought that Robin knew the man in the car as she seemed to go willingly with him. He had talked to Robin earlier and offered her a ride but she refused.
At 2:30 AM, Robin’s parents arrived at the scene and found the car locked and abandoned with no sign of Robin nearby.
After the Los Angeles Times did a story about Robin’s disappearance, a woman wrote a letter to her family and said that she too had been having car troubles when a man driving a Corvette, who claimed to be a police detective offered her a ride but she refused. It’s not known if this man is the same person seen with Robin. The woman later identified the man who offered her a ride as Bruce Davis, who was a former member of the Manson Family. Davis was never charged with Graham’s disappearance.
It’s also been theorized that Robin may have fallen victim to a serial killer. The two serial killers most commonly suspected in her disappearance are Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer, but this has never been proven.
Also In my research about this case I found several other cases of women who went missing and were later found murdered across California during this time period, most of the victims vanished after having car troubles.
The first victim was Rose Tashman, a 19 year old student at San Fernando Valley State College who went missing on May 29,1969, and her car was found with a flat tire only a few miles from where Robin Graham vanished. She was driving from a friends home in Van Nuys to her home in Hollywood when she got a flat tire on Hollywood Boulevard at around 2:00 PM. Her body was found in a ravine in the Hollywood Hills at 6:00 PM that night, having been strangled to death with a wire
Then there is Cheri Jo Bates. She was found stabbed to death on the grounds of the Riverside City College in Riverside on the morning of October 30,1966. Her Volkswagen Bug was found in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition and it was found that the distributor coil and engine condenser had been torn out. It’s theorized that her killer had disabled her vehicle and then waited for her to return to the vehicle. Just like Robin Graham, Cheri Jo Bates’s case has always been loosely linked to the Zodiac Killer case, despite no evidence linking them.
Cindy Lee Mellin, 19, was last seen alive at the Buenaventura Shopping Center in Ventura, California on January 20,1970. She was last seen at 9:40 PM standing by her car and was accompanied by a white man who was about 30 to 40 years and drove a light colored vehicle. He appeared to be helping her change left rear tire in her car. She never made it back from the mall and her father found her car at the mall the next day with a bumper jack and flat tire still in place. The spare tire was found near the car. A sharp object had perforated the side of the tire. No trace of Cindy Mellin has ever been found.
Christine Marie Eastin, 19, vanished from Hayward, California on January 18,1971. She left her home to go to a car wash and pick up her friend from a restaurant but never showed up. Her car was found abandoned at the car wash in Hayward. Her purse was found inside the locked car. In 2019, a witness came forward and said she saw Christine being abducted from the car wash by two men in a white van. Christine’s case is still unsolved but her case is currently being investigated as a homicide.
Ernestine Francis Terello, 43, was driving her yellow 1969 Plymouth when she got a flat tire near Agoura, California on April 28,1972. Her husband reported her missing later that day and her car was found locked and abandoned near Agoura Road and the Ventura Freeway. Her body was found on May 27th by Boy Scouts hiking near Yerba Buena Road off the Pacific Coast Highway, about a mile north of the Los Angeles County Line and 6 miles from where her car was found. Due to the level of decomposition, no cause of death could be determined.
The final victim was Mona Jean Gallegos, 19, who went missing on June 19,1975 after visiting a male auto salesman friend in Alhambra, California with regards of purchasing a new vehicle. She left his residence at around 1:00 PM to return home to her home in Covina. In the early hours of the morning her car ran out of fuel near Santa Anita Avenue on the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway in El Monte. Her car was found hours later and police believed she was abducted by someone who offered her a ride. Her skeletal remains were found 6 months later in a Riverside ravine. No cause of death could be determined.
It’s been over 50 years since Robin Graham went missing and over 50 years since the other women were murdered. All the cases are currently unsolved