WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — On the night of November 11, 1975, 71-year-old Lenna Robinson was taking her family’s Christmas presents out of her car when she was hit on the head and robbed outside of her Peyton Street home. She died four days later. The case was rediscovered decades later and brought back on the Winchester Police Department’s radar.
Lieutenant Amanda Behan was recently telling her colleagues about her love for true crime podcasts when she decided to take a look at the City of Winchester Police Department’s archives room. That’s when she discovered the unsolved Robinson case. “When I opened that box I was immediately drawn to that case file. I haven’t looked at any other cases that are in that file box because immediately I was drawn to it.”
Behan has worked for the police department since 2001. She worked with retired Detective Craig Smith for many years, and together they’ve launched a podcast called DEFROST: Winchester’s True Crime with Behan & Smith.
“When you retire, there’s always a part of you that misses that aspect of being involved in the cases and so this was just this awesome opportunity to jump back in and kind of do what I’ve known for 20-something years,” Smith said.
Lenna Robinson’s family has declined to take part in the podcast, but Behan says they were OK with the podcast’s production. “I wanted them to understand that this was about their loss and about Lenna and not about the podcast,” Behan said. She’s stayed in touch with them and leaves a voicemail once a month.
“The challenges with cold cases, which are really fraught with obstacles, is that every turn there’s an obstacle. Policing-wise, the way we do things has changed, technology has changed. So the way they did things back then is very different from the way we do things today,” Smith said. “The positive aspects of it are that you might find somebody who’s willing to talk now that wasn’t willing to talk 40 years ago. So that could be the one break you need to solve a cold case.”
New episodes will be released on the 11th of each month until the season finale on November 11: the 45th anniversary of the crime.
“Law enforcement professionals make mistakes. We’re not perfect,” Behan said. “We’re hoping that this helps see law enforcement – the human side of it – and that we do have emotion and oftentimes that emotion does drive us to try and solve these cases.”
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