R.I.P. Rochelle Robinson

June 27, 1994—That was the date that my daughter’s good friend, Rochelle Robinson, was brutally murdered in the countryside near Tacoma, Washington. To this date, June 27, 2020, 26 years later, no arrests have been made.

Rochelle was only 19 years old. She had bright red, curly, shoulder-length hair. She had an effervescent smile. She was outgoing, opinionated, and a free spirit.

On the night she was killed, she and some friends were playing the card game, “Magic.” She left her friend’s home about 11pm and, not long after, her secret lover, Michael Johnston, also left the game. They met in a school parking lot where Michael parked his car and then got into Rochelle’s car.

They drove out into the deserted countryside for a tryst. Someone, or possibly more than one person, discovered them and routed them out of the car.


Michael’s body was discovered in the morning by a jogger. He had been briefly handcuffed then shot, stabbed, had his throat slit, and was left by Rochelle’s car.


Rochelle’s body was found in the late afternoon about five miles away. Someone spotted a white flattened cardboard box among some trees and brush. Rochelle’s lifeless body was underneath. She had multiple stab wounds and her throat was slit. Evidence indicated that she tried to run away, but was caught and killed.

The crime scene was first investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. A year late, when seemingly no headway was made, Michael’s wife hired a private investigator. When the investigator ran out of resources, he called upon a psychic who had helped in other criminal investigations. She said she thought it had to do with the occult, which then people seemed to talk more about than the murders.

It was common back then for young adults to play “Magic” or “Dungeons & Dragons” and have crystals and wizardry figurines. It did not portend that they practiced any of the dark arts. It was a fad. The murderer(s) was/were people with ill intent. There was nothing magic about it.

The case has been featured on “Unsolved Mysteries.” It first aired on March 15, 1996. Click on the following link for more information about the episode: https://unsolved.com/gallery/michael-johnston-rochelle-robinson/

The original story that ran in the “Seattle Times” newspaper can be found here:

https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19940628&slug=1917909

Rochelle and Michael, you are gone but not forgotten.

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