The Sheriff’s Botched Investigation

Robbin Brandley

  • The Orange County Sheriff’s lead detective, Sgt. Stephany, told us they have no clues and the investigators began questioning concert attendees, family, school officials, fellow students and friends.
  • Stephany ignores or overlooks leads, he overlooks the obvious, and he did not use standard investigative curiosity and practices. For example, Stephany did not advise us to secure Robbin’s bedroom and prevent friends from entering and taking mementoes; he only mentioned it days later when we advised him that her room was open. Robbin kept a diary of daily events and wrote short stories. Stephany had no interest in examining any of Robbin’s documents; he had no interest in looking for clues, names or motives among her personal possessions.
  • During the investigation at the crime scene, the Sheriff’s officers fail to have the sprinkler system turned off, thus losing valuable evidence. Reporters at the crime scene tell us that much evidence was overlooked. Reporters say the investigation was a joke, unprofessional and not thorough.
  • Stephany told us that if the crime is not solved in a couple of weeks, it probably won’t be solved. Upon retrospect, he was setting us up to accept his failure and the decision to declare the murder a cold case.
  • We definitely knew the murder would not be solved when Stephany told us a few weeks after the murder that, “your best revenge was to live well.”
  • Stephany and his superiors encouraged the “unknown murderer” theory it because it facilitated the cover-up and required minimal detective work on their part.
  • A male student asked Robbin if she needed an escort to her car. She said, “No thanks, I’m leaving with (the suspect).” Robbin and the suspect were seen leaving together. The suspect waited until Robbin was ready to leave the reception.
  • Stephany originally told us that Robbin and the student suspect left the reception together then later recanted his statement. Many students and attendees saw them leave the reception together. Stephany lied to protect the suspect and facilitate the cover-up.
  • The suspect claims that immediately after exiting the theater, she and Robbin split up and went their separate way to their cars. This is inexplicable since the suspect arranged the mutual escort and waited until Robbin was ready to leave the reception.
  • The campus was dangerous. A young woman was abducted five months earlier. She was raped, stripped and thrown onto the freeway. Campus authorities did nothing to improve security; they ignored the danger to students, faculty, visitors and employees.
  • The suspect gave conflicting stories about where she went after leaving Robbin: she told a private detective that she immediately went home; to Genelle she said she went to the office of her instructor accomplice to work on a computer. Stephany had no curiosity or explanation about the conflicting statements.
  • We believe that the suspect planned Robbin’s murder and participated in the stabbing. We believe she was wielding the knife. She walked out with Robbin to identify her to Urdiales, who was hiding in the parking lot.
  • The student claims she was unaware of Robbin’s murder because she did not communicate with anyone or listen to the radio or watch television. She “disappeared” for several days.
  • During this mysterious absence, the suspect got rid of her car, saying she returned it to the person she bought it from. To our knowledge, there was no follow-up on her story, or examination of the car for evidence, by Stephany.
  • We were told by a retired FBI investigator that the car should have been found and examined immediately since the suspect was the last person seen with Robbin. The murder could have been solved or the suspect cleared quickly. He was baffled by Stephany’s non-action.
  • We believe the suspect used this time to dispose of her car and clothes, both of which contained Robbin’s blood, and to clean her lodgings. To our knowledge, the suspect;s home was never searched for evidence or traces of blood.
  • When the suspect finally resurfaced for Robbin’s memorial, she was hysterical, incoherent and erratic. Genelle said her hands felt rough, like they had been soaking in cleaning fluid or some strong chemical.
  • Stephany did not follow-up immediately with the suspect; he had no curiosity about the suspect. He said he did not have the suspect’s phone number and could determine where she lived or contact her.
  • Stephany’s lack of enthusiasm for questioning the suspect fits the cover-up scenario. Most murders are committed by persons known to the victim. When school officials and students identify a suspect with a motive, normal investigative practice dictates the detective jump on the lead immediately.
  • When Genelle asked Stephany if he interviewed the student suspect, he replied, “I liked her, she is the only one who made any sense.” It was obvious to us that Stephany was covering up for the suspect, trying to distract attention away from her. It was a clumsy, stupid statement and ploy that clearly indicated the direction the investigation was going --- a predetermined, unsolved cold case
  • Shortly after the murder, Stephany told Jack that he believed an innocent male friend and fellow student had murdered Robbin. This was a reckless and dangerous thing to say. Fortunately Jack is not a violent person, quick to take revenge, despite his grief. Upon reflection, this was an attempt to set up a straw man theory and to make us think that the detective was working on the case, to distract us with a theory he knew was not true and would result in a dead end. We dismissed the theory immediately because it was so absurd.
  • About a year after Robbin’s murder, the suspect approached a student, a stranger, at a different campus; this student had a strong resemblance to Robbin. The suspect began talking wildly to this student about Robbin’s murder. The suspect claimed she knew facts about the murder that had not been discovered or made known. The suspect indicated that the murderer was Robbin’s boyfriend! Robbin had no boyfriend.
  • When the mother of the student accosted by the suspect was told of the confrontation, she became so alarmed by the suspect’s behavior that she contacted us after reading about Robbin’s murder in a newspaper article. The mother and her daughter were upset over the suspect’s unusual behavior and insistence on discussing Robbin’s murder. We immediately contacted Stephany. We were never told of the outcome of Stephany’s questioning of the mother…another lead glossed over.
  • We began to get information and leads from the public and students, which we passed on to Stephany. He seemed irritated when contacted with new information and by our inquiries. Stephany already knew the investigation was not going to be solved, he had his instructions. The leads only complicated this instruction to end the investigation as an unsolved murder, a cold case destined to be forgotten.
  • Stephany understood his assignment. He ignored, even ridiculed, questions about the suspect, the $10,000 motive, her public anger and contemptuous attitude toward Robbin, her insistence on escorting Robbin to her car, her unexplained disappearance and her missing car, her untrue stories of a mysterious man looking for Robbin, her hysterical semi-confession to a student stranger.
  • Stephany said the $10,000 motive was no motive! In 1986, that much money was a large amount for any cash strapped student, especially the suspect. The suspect had already publicly expressed her rage and anger about having the concert project taken from her by the Dean of Students and assigned to Robbin. The $10,000 fee was cancelled.
  • Stephany rebuffed student, faculty, public and family leads, stating they interfered with his investigation and that the Sheriff’s detectives had too many things to do, chasing down leads was a waste of their time.
  • When Genelle contacted Stephany about a follow up to a newspaper article on the 1st anniversary of Robbin’s death, he became agitated and began to vilely curse us. He said the investigation was, “none of our business!” Genelle was upset and asked Stephany what he would do if it were his child. Stephany went ballistic, yelling, “Oh, now you want my child murdered! That’s really nice of you Mrs. Reilley, that’s really nice of you!” Of course, Genelle said no such thing. We were highly offended, confused and upset by Stephany’s profanity and comment. We contacted the Sheriff’s office and Stephany was taken off the case. We believe the pressure on Stephany to abort the investigation made him crack.
  • When Genelle asked Stephany if she could have the jewelry Robbin’s was wearing, he replied, “why, its not worth anything.” A cruel statement to the mother of a murdered child.
  • A few months after Robbin’s murder, Genelle began receiving obscene phone calls over a long period of time. Stephany offered no help to us; we were on our own tracking down the caller. Fortunately we enlisted a sympathetic phone company investigator who helped us. The calls were traced to a Saddleback student who had a class with Robbin. Stephany told us he scolded the caller, nothing else. Stephany was not going to waste his time to determine if the caller was implicated in Robbin’s murder. He wanted no questions raised, no new leads to complicate his assignment to wrap the murder up as a cold case.
  • We determined that the Sheriff was no longer actively investigating Robbin’s murder. For ten years we had sporadic contact with the Sheriff.
  • In 1995, Genelle traveled to Washington state to confront the suspect in her home. Genelle came unannounced. Genelle told the suspect why she believed she murdered Robbin. The suspect said, “well, maybe I blacked out or something.” This is a strange, incriminating comment for an accused murderer to make to the mother of her victim. As stated earlier, the suspect is a heavy drug and alcohol user.
  • We could not let the case end unsolved. We used print and television media to plead to the public for information about the crime, with no result.
  • We have discussed with other homicide survivors their relationships with their investigators and prosecutors. With few exceptions, they were highly complimentary about the involvement given them and the cooperation they received. In fact, one of the victim groups we belong to gives annual awards to Los Angeles DA prosecutors for their exemplary work and achievement. Jack Reilley was always one of key presenters.
  • In 1997, Andrew Urdiales confessed to Robbin’s murder. He repeatedly used the word “we” while describing the crime. He does not say “we” in any of his seven other confessions. Urdiales is stating exactly the truth, he was not the only person involved in Robbin’s murder. We believe he was an accomplice but not the person wielding the knife.
  • To our knowledge, the Sheriff and District Attorney investigators disregard and ignore Urdiales’ confession because it destroys their carefully constructed, bungled investigation and cover-up of lies.

 

Copyright 2014 whomurderedrobbinbrandley.com       Website Design by Zeus Media