She’s not lost anymore

Jacob Byk

Video by Jacob Byk.

Birthdays are always a reflective time and almost always a time for celebration. Less often, they are a painful reminder of what could have been. For Carmilla Robinson, Jan. 28 will be a day that she will forever wish to skip over. It’s the date of her daughter’s birthday, her daughter who did not live to see 20.

Kent State student Taylor Robinson, 19, had been missing for 107 days, when Carmilla got word that her remains were found in a nearby national park. The news came on Sep. 11, a day when most of the nation itself was reflecting on healing scars. 

Hikers found parts of Taylor’s skull in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, about twenty miles from the home where she had been working as a hospice nurse when she went missing. As of Taylor’s birthday, the trail seems to have run cold. Few details about her death have been released to the public.

By 8:11 a.m. on May 5, police accompanied Carmilla to the Akron house Taylor had vanished from four months earlier, ultimately forever. Carmilla described the first week of her daughter’s disappearance as chaotic.

“I told her I loved her and I’d see her in the morning, and she said, ‘Okay I love you!’ Then she waved”, described Robinson, sobbing while wringing her hand frantically.

Photographs of Taylor, and remnants from the search for her adorn Carmilla’s Akron residence. Reminders of happier times hung from the walls. Giant posters of Taylor’s smiling face hung from the walls. Wallet-sized images peeked from the corners of a framed painting of Jesus Christ.

“I can’t accept that physically I won’t see her, so this is my physical,” Carmilla says as she gestures to a poster board collage of Taylor. Carmilla is afraid to put the posters away. If she does, it means Taylor is really gone.

According to Ohio Attorney General’s Missing Person Bureau, between 50,000 and 60,000 children are reported missing annually. Parents whose children are recovered deceased aren’t given closure. They are given painful answers.

“Now you know she’s not lost anymore,” Carmilla said between sobs. “That’s the only comfort. That she’s not lost anymore.”