Her daughter has yet to come home.
Carmilla Robinson wants no one to forget that.
Two weeks have passed. Mother’s Day has come and gone, and yet 19-year-old Taylor Robinson remains missing.
On Saturday, a crowd nearing 200 or more joined the Akron mother and her family at the Summit Lake Community Center to rally for the return of Taylor Robinson, who was last seen by her mother May 3.
A tearful Carmilla Robinson addressed the crowd, as did Taylor’s stepfather, Jeff Rucker. Joining the family at the podium during the hour-long event were several local ministers, Akron police Det. Dalvin Horton, Mayor Don Plusquellic and Councilman Ken Jones.
“You all are my hopes,” Carmilla Robinson said, her face awash in tears.
“You all are just the light. I know she’s going to come home. I’m just asking for you all, please don’t forget, in a month, if she don’t make it tomorrow ... I’m not asking you all to spend every waking moment. I’m just asking you, please, don’t forget she’s not at home with us.”
Taylor Robinson’s family has been looking for her for 16 days, ever since Carmilla Robinson returned to a Kipling Street home where she had left her daughter the night before to work as a health care aide.
That morning, when Carmilla Robinson drove up, Taylor was gone from her patient’s house. Ominously, her coat and shoes were left behind. Her cellphone was shut down that same morning and has not rebooted since.
Akron police detectives have pledged to make the case a top priority. Just last week, 38 officers and detectives searched a series of vacant houses and garages near the Kipling Street neighborhood. The FBI has joined the investigation, providing at least four agents to the case.
Rucker, Taylor’s stepfather, said he has spent most every day walking the city streets, handing out fliers to anyone he may have missed the days before. Rucker reminded everyone that — but for the grace of God — they could be standing at the podium and not him.
Family members say Taylor is an aspiring nurse, who works two jobs while attending classes at Kent State University’s Stark campus. She has never been in trouble, never run away, shirked her school or work responsibilities or dismissed her family.
“We never thought this would happen in our household,” Rucker told the gathering. “But this could happen to anybody, you just never know. No matter how much you pray for it, no matter how much you talk to your kids, anything can happen.
“[But] I need you all’s help. We need all your help. I know there’s a lot of people out there working, but sometimes I feel so alone ... Please, somebody tell us something.”
Minister Michael Starks implored the crowd to help Taylor Robinson’s family. He said her disappearance is a community dilemma, not a single family problem. Someone somewhere knows something, he said.
“We need to be responsible and accountable for what’s happening in our community. It’s on us,” Starks said.
“We have a family here that’s in disarray and they’re grieving ... But they need more than our prayers. They need our action.”
Rev. Sharon Wilson, Taylor Robinson’s cousin, said she believes the college student is being held captive somewhere by someone. And she forgives the abductor.
But now, she said, it’s time for her cousin to be set free so she may rejoin her family and bring “victory in Akron for Taylor Robinson.”
“God is a forgiving God and we have to be forgiving people,” Wilson said. “And we are sending out a message to them today to let them know: We forgive them. Even though they haven’t released her yet.
“The forgiving has to start today with us. So we forgive them. But there’s one thing I do know, they’ve got to release her and let her go.”
Plusquellic assured the Robinson family and the community that detectives and the FBI are working the case every day, fielding tips and talking to friends and family of the missing woman.
Carmilla Robinson, he said, could symbolize any mother, at any time, in any neighborhood. But the mayor, as the ministers preached before him, said the police are only as good as the support it receives from members of the community.
He said this case needs a Charles Ramsey-like moment, an instance when someone in the community sees something and takes action, just as the Cleveland man and his neighbors did May 6 in helping free three Cleveland women held captive in a house for 10 years.
“[Taylor] is our daughter, in a way,” the mayor said. “And specifically for her mother, we all hope we can make this turn out to be a great news story when we welcome back Miss Robinson.”
Crimestoppers has offered a reward for helping locate Taylor Robinson.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Akron police at 330-375-2490. Anonymous tips may be left at http://ci.akron.oh.us/ASP/tip.html.
Information may also be provided anonymously by calling Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS(2677).