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Archive for Sunday, July 16, 2000

KC-area murder case touches Alabama mother

July 16, 2000

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— A Huntsville woman waits for word on the fate of her daughter and granddaughter, both missing since the 1980s after having contact with a man charged in the deaths of five women in the Kansas City area.

Lisa Stasi, 19, and her 5-month-old daughter, Tiffany, vanished from the Kansas City area in the mid-1980s.

Authorities have said Stasi and her daughter had contact with John E. Robinson Sr., the man charged with two counts of capital murder in Kansas and three counts of first-degree murder in Missouri.

Robinson is charged in the deaths of five women whose bodies were found stuffed in barrels.

Stasi's mother, 54-year-old Pat Sylvester, has kept the day of Stasi's and Tiffany's disappearance written in a white address book among the phone numbers: Jan. 11, 1985.

Stasi had been in Hope House, a Kansas City-area shelter for battered women after separating from her husband. She met Robinson at the shelter, and he apparently promised her housing and job training through a program for single mothers.

From the shelter, Stasi called family. In phone conversations just before disappearing, she told her family she had gotten an apartment, had been set up with job training and had found a new way to take care of Tiffany.

"That's the last we heard from her," Stasi's aunt, Karen Moore of Kansas City, told The Huntsville Times in a story Friday.

By Jan. 8, 1985, Stasi and Tiffany had left Hope House and checked into an Overland Park, Kan., hotel. A credit card issued to a company called Equi-II was used to pay for the hotel room.

At the time, Robinson owned Equi-II, a management consultant business. Relatives believe Tiffany is alive and with a family in a suburban neighborhood near Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star reported Saturday that authorities believe they have found Tiffany. The Star said it also believed it had located the family, but family members declined to comment on the situation.

The Star also said it had received a letter from Tiffany's natural father in which he said he would like to see her, but would not force the situation if she did not want to meet him.

When Stasi made contact with Robinson in January 1985, she was in perhaps her greatest moment of need: no job, no home and an infant daughter to support. She fit the profile of most of the women police have linked with Robinson.

"He promised to give her a good job and give her a good life," Moore said. "That's the only reason she had anything to do with him."

Stasi's life had been marked by a series of tragedies: a father who committed suicide in 1975, and a grandfather and great-uncle murdered in a contract killing in Detroit in 1976.

In 1995, Stasi's brother, Marty, living in Hartselle, committed suicide. Before he died, Marty and his wife had a daughter, Erin.

Now, Sylvester wants Erin to meet Tiffany.

"She's beautiful," Sylvester said, looking at a computer-generated photo of what Tiffany is supposed to look like now, at 15.

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