Robin Trivisonno was 28 years old when she went missing. She was the mother to three young boys and separated from her husband.
Robin lived in Ventor, New Jersey. In 1994, she picked up a job as a dancer at Heartbreakers go-go bar (strip club) on Route 35 in Neptune Township, New Jersey after her separation from her husband. Neptune is an hour north of Ventor. Robin was struggling to pay for schooling and support her kids. Her ambition was to become a nurse, and Robin had been attending Atlantic Cape Community College in preparation. According to Robin’s mother, she hated working as a dancer at Heartbreakers. “She hated dancing. She hated it with a passion,” her mother is quoted as saying. At Heartbreakers, she was known as Toni, and in her personal life, only Robin’s mother knew that she was dancing. Robin swore her mother into secrecy.
Centerfolds in Neptune. This location was formerly Heartbreakers.
In 1996, Robin had a boyfriend. He was lawyer, and he was married. He and Robin met at Heartbreakers when she was working there as a dancer. Clearly, he did not like her working there as a dancer, because he urged Robin to quit dancing. He offered to help her pay for college and support her financially. So, Robin quit Heartbreakers.
On the evening of January 19, 1997 Robin was studying at home, an “Anatomy & Physiology” textbook left open on her bed. Robin then went to visit her boyfriend at his office. They got into an argument after the boyfriend told Robin he had no immediate plans to leave his wife. Robin left after this argument. She ended up going to Heartbreakers to visit and drink with friends, and arrived there at 9:30pm. She spent several hours there, talking to friends and getting intoxicated. “She was telling me about her nursing, about how she wanted to be a nurse,” said one friend, “she was drinking tequila when she bought me a shot of applejack.” She had her car with her, but because she was intoxicated she asked friends for a ride to Delilah’s Den, a strip club. Robin’s friend was working at a DJ at Delilah’s Den, in South Amboy. This is about a thirty-minute car journey from Heartbreakers.
Robin was intoxicated when she left the bar around 2 in the morning on January 20, 1997. A man, who was not known to Heartbreakers employees, left with her. The man is described as white, 5’8″, around 180lbs with long dark brown hair. Authorities have been looking to speak with him but he’s never been identified, even after 20 years.
All indications were that Robin was headed towards Delilah’s Den. But no one ever saw her there that night.
Sketch of the man Robin left with; sketch of Robin’s appearance the night she disappeared
On January 21, 1997 Robin’s children arrived at her home after school. It was a Tuesday. The weekend had been a long weekend which the boys had spent with their father. When the boys got to Robin’s house, they noticed she was not at home.
It was not unusual that Robin did not come home at night. When she worked at Heartbreakers she would drink while working, to help her ease the embarrassment she felt at being a dancer. Robin would never drive her car while intoxicated, and she would always call her mother to let her know she would be home the next morning.
It was out of character, however, for Robin not to be home when she was expecting her children. So, Robin’s mother started calling around looking for her. Robin’s mother called Heartbreakers looking for Robin. It was then that Heartbreakers staff realized that Robin had left her black 1994 Jeep Cherokee in the Heartbreakers parking lot.
Friends and family realised Robin was missing. They did not think she would walk out on her life as she was a devoted mother. Pictures of her boys were displayed all over her house, and Robin even had a magnet reading ‘1st Prize Mom’ proudly displayed on her fridge. Robin’s mother had to tell the boys that their mother was missing, and teachers were briefed on how to help the boys cope.
The last clues in Robin case came some four months later, around June 1997. Robin’s purse, wallet and jacket were found near Delilah’s Den, the same place that Robin had asked friends for a ride to. The items were located behind a fence in a wooded area in the back of the Delilah’s Den parking lot. The purse still had $500 in it.
Delilah’s Den exterior, 2007; Satellite image showing Delilah’s Den and the extent of the wooded area behind it.
Note on Delilah’s Den: Apparently there are two locations of Delilah’s Den in South Amboy, however this one definitely has more of a ‘wooded area’ behind it whereas the other location is in a more built-up area. Also one article said Delilah’s was in Perth Amboy, and this location is closer to Perth Amboy.
It’s been twenty years and there has been no trace of Robin. Police investigated the case as a homicide and foul play is strongly suspected. Robin’s family never had a funeral. In 2003, six years after her disappearance, the family held a memorial service to commemorate what would have been her 35th birthday. Her children grew up in the care of their father.
Events leading up to the murder: Robin’s mother said she hated dancing with a passion, yet on the night of her disappearance, Robin was at Heartbreakers. She supposedly quit dancing a year before her disappearance but I have to wonder if she still picked up shifts now and then for a little extra cash. That may have been the real reason she was at Heartbreakers that night. Also, it could be the real reason she wanted to go to Delilah’s, another strip club. Perhaps she occasionally danced there too? Though I have not found any evidence of this. I’m not sure that her dancing played a role in her disappearance anyway. But maybe it played a role in the thoroughness of the police investigation?
Robin went around asking for a ride to Delilah’s Den. She eventually left with an unidentified man. Did she accept a ride from this stranger? It seems likely since her things were found near the back of the Delilah’s Den parking lot.
The murder: To me, it seems like Robin and her male companion made it to Delilah’s Den. What happened next? My thought was perhaps the driver made sexual advances on Robin or even demanded sexual favours in return for driving Robin to Delilah’s Den (half hour drive). He may have known Robin was a former dancer and had inappropriate expectations. In my theory, Robin would refuse this, and then there could have been a struggle leading to Robin’s death. I don’t believe Robin’s murder was planned at all. If the murderer wanted to kill her from the start, why drive her to Delilah’s? (This is assuming they made it to at least the Delilah’s parking lot since her belongings were found there, even though no witnesses saw her there that night).
The findings at Delilah’s: Robin’s purse, wallet and jacket were near found Delilah’s Den. The purse still had $500 in it. I do wonder where Robin got this amount of cash, surely she did not bring this amount of cash just for a night out. The cash being left in the purse indicates the crime was not financially motivated. More than likely it was a sexually-motivated crime. Robin was beautiful, and she was also small. She stood at 5’2″ and weighed only 105lbs. This could make her an easy target.
Also, the fact that the belongings were found there indicates a lazy or inexperienced killer. No smart killer would leave his victims belongings in the exact area she was overheard telling everyone she was headed. The chances of finding these belongings are very high. This is another reason I think the killing was spur-of-the-moment.
I would guess that Robin was killed there and her body left nearby. There is a wooded area behind Delilah’s. It took four months for Robin’s belongings to be found, her body could still be there but even more hidden. I wonder if cadaver dogs have ever been through the area. Not far beyond this wooden area is the water. The end of the Raritan River, which leads to Raritan Bay and finally, the Atlantic Ocean. The killer may have put Robin’s body into the water and got lucky that her body never washed up on shore.
Seriously, this killer is incompetent. Firstly, he leaves with Robin in plain view of everyone at Heartbreakers. Now, this is assuming that the killer is the man she left with, it’s always possible that this guy is completely innocent, but I’m going with the simplest explanation. Next, he takes her to the exact place she told everyone she wanted to go, so everyone would know where to look. Then he leaves behind her coat and purse at this same location. And I’m supposed to believe he effectively hid her body for twenty years? I would really like to know how thoroughly the area behind Delilah’s Den was searched. Is this another case of a lack of police action because the victim was a dancer? Did they think she left of her own free will and did not thoroughly investigate until it was too late and the trail cold?
The suspect: The man who left with Robin is described as white, 5’8″, around 180lbs with long dark brown hair. Another description states: the 5-foot, 9-inch white male suspect as suntanned with noticeably white teeth. He has shoulder length brown hair and light blue eyes. The most distinctive characteristics are the ‘noticeably white’ teeth and long hair. Could his white teeth indicate that he was wealthy? If so, it’s not likely he had a typical office job, considering his long hair. Heartbreakers employees state that they did not recognize him. This makes me wonder if it was his first time visiting Heartbreakers, and if so, was he from out of town? Also, I doubt he ever returned to Heartbreakers, or employees probably would have noticed. Another thing I am wondering if it is possible that Robin knew the man. I don’t really know what to think about this suspect. Twenty years on, I am doubting that he will ever be identified.
Jane Doe: An unidentified female body was located 30 minutes north of Delilah’s Den, on January 20, 1997. The woman had died on January 20, 1997 from being hit by a vehicle. She was in an unrecognizable state and described as ‘partial remains’. This woman is still unidentified. Similarities to Robin: Died the day Robin disappeared, 30 minutes north of where Robin’s belongings were found, hair colour dark brown to black while Robin has brown or auburn hair, age 25-45 while Robin was 28. Differences to Robin: race black/hispanic, though Robin is described as having African ancestry through her grandmother, Jane Doe is a size 6 and weighed 140-150 while Robin is described as 105lbs.
Jane Doe was wearing: Green long sleeve sweatshirt, white T-shirt with multi-colored logo “Puerto Rico” and a symbol, a black leather hooded zippered jacket, green sweatpants with pockets, purple and green floral Fruit of the Loom underwear (size 6), a brown sock, and white Nike sneakers. Robin was wearing a brown coat that was later found, so she probably would not also be wearing the black leather hooded zippered jacket. You can find out more about Jane Doe here: http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1014ufnj.html
Could Jane Doe be Robin? I’m not too sure. I would have thought the police would have ruled this out already, however on Jane Doe’s NAMUS page, Robin is not listed as a rule-out. I don’t think Robin would be mistaken for Black/Hispanic and the details of the appearance of Jane Doe, such as weight, don’t quite match up. Also, there is no mention on the leather hair barrette Robin was said to be wearing that night. However, I am going to submit a match on Doenetwork and see where that gets me. I will update when I hear back. Readers, what do you think?
Description of Robin
Date Of Birth: June 27, 1968. Age at Time of Disappearance: 28 years old. Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5’2; 105 lbs. Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown or auburn hair; hazel eyes. A grandmother had some African ancestry. Marks, Scars: Scar on her right eyelid. Clothing: She is reported to have been wearing a brown waist coat when last seen; she wore a leather hair barrette with a wooden pin and press-on nails. Dentals: She had at least two capped teeth.
Description of Jane Doe
Date of Discovery: January 20, 1997. Location of Discovery: Hudson County, New Jersey. Estimated Date of Death: Minutes prior. State of Remains: Not recognizable – Partial remains with soft tissues. Cause of Death: Auto/pedestrian accident.
Physical Description ** Listed information is approximate** Estimated Age: 25-45 years old. Race: Black/Hispanic. Gender: Female. Height: Unknown. Weight: 140-150 lbs. Hair Color: Dark brown to black, straight and 4 to 5 inches in length. Eye Color: Brown. Distinguishing Marks/Features: Scar on the back of her right hand. Z-shaped scar on the right side of her torso. Three ear piercings in each ear. Residual red-pink fingernail polish. Dentals: Available. Fingerprints: Available. RT: 11 10 14 16 12; LT: 13 CI 13 14 CI. DNA: mtDNA and nucDNA available in CODIS and UNT.
Clothing & Personal Items Clothing: Green long sleeve sweatshirt, white T-shirt with multi-colored logo “Puerto Rico” and a symbol, a black leather hooded zippered jacket, green sweatpants with pockets, purple and green floral Fruit of the Loom underwear (size 6), a brown sock, and white Nike sneakers. Jewelry: Unknown. Additional Personal Items: Unknown.
Case History: The victim was walking along Route 280 when she was accidentally struck by a car and suffered fatal injuries. She had no identification with her.
More pictures of Robin