John Edward Robinson was born December 27th, 1943, in Cicero, Illinois. John was one of five children born to an alcoholic father and authoritarian mother. As a child, John became an Eagle Scout. He traveled to London and performed for Queen Elizabeth II. He even met Judy Garland, memorializing the moment with a photo of her kissing his young cheek. At one point, John was enrolled in a preparatory school for aspiring priests.
John Robinson’s life wasn’t as squeaky clean as it appeared from the outside, however. He was kicked out of the prep school due to disciplinary infractions. John worked as an X-ray technician as an adult and was married to a woman named Nancy. The couple had four children by 1971, but that didn’t stop John from having numerous affairs. John was charismatic, however, and continued to find work. In 1969, he was working for Dr. Wallace Graham in Kansas City. He lost that job, however, when he embezzled $33,000 from the medical practice. Somehow, John faced only three years of probation for this crime.
John was later found to be embezzling from another employer, so his probation was extended. In 1975, the con man was again arrested. This time he was charged with securities fraud and mail fraud after forming a phony medical consulting company. Once again, his probation was simply extended. After his probation was completed, Robinson was again arrested for embezzlement and check forgery. Finally, he had to serve time. He was sentenced to sixty days in jail.
Throughout the seventies, John served as a Scoutmaster, baseball coach, and Sunday school teacher. He was named Man of the Year by a local charitable organization, although it was later determined he had forged his nomination and recommendation letters. After being released from jail in 1982, John formed a fraudulent hydroponics business and stole $25,000 from a friend under the guise of an investment in the business. The victim of this scheme was promised a quick return on the investment in order to pay for his dying wife’s healthcare costs. He never received anything in return.
John was a terrible person, clearly, but the depth of his depravity had not yet been realized. In 1984, John established two more fraudulent companies. He hired nineteen-year-old Paula Godfrey to work for these companies. Paula told her friends and family that John was sending her for training. They never heard from her again.
Paula Godfrey was born June 19th, 1965. She was an accomplished figure skater. She had a petite frame with brown hair and brown eyes. She accepted the position with John Robinson, eager to start what she believed would be a promising career. After not hearing from Paula, her family filed a missing person report. John Robinson was questioned but denied knowing Paula’s whereabouts. Several days later, her parents received a typed letter that stated she was safe but did not want any contact with her family. The investigation was concluded at this point, with authorities believing that Paula left on her own free will.
In 1985, John, using the last name Osborne, met Lisa Stasi and her four-month-old-daughter, Tiffany. Lisa Stasi was born April 11th, 1965, in Huntsville, Alabama. When she was eighteen, she became pregnant. She married the father of her baby and the couple relocated to the Kansas City area after the birth of Tiffany in 1985. When Lisa’s marriage began to fail, she sought the assistance of a local man running an outreach program. That man was John Robinson, who promised her an apartment, job, and daycare for her child in Chicago.
Upon meeting John, Lisa called her mother in tears. She stated that she was being asked to sign something and she was afraid the man would take her baby away. She signed several pages of blank stationary under pressure from John. She was never seen again after that. Typed letters were sent to Lisa’s family, but they doubted the authenticity because Lisa did not know how to type. The family began a long and painful search for Lisa and Tiffany.
Shortly after the disappearance of Lisa and Tiffany Stasi, John approached his brother and sister-in-law, who were having fertility problems. He explained to the couple that he knew a woman who had committed suicide and left behind a young baby girl. He arranged an adoption for $5,500 in what he called legal fees. He then delivered a young baby girl to his brother and sister-in-law, which they named Heather.
Catherine Clampitt was born May 29th, 1960, in Korea. She was adopted by American parents and grew up in Texas. In 1987, Catherine left her child with family to pursue a job opportunity in Kansas City. She was hired by John Robinson with the promise of a lucrative job that included extensive travel and a new wardrobe. She was never seen again.
In 1987, John finally went to prison. He was convicted on multiple fraud charges and parole violations. He was sent to Western Missouri Correctional Facility to serve his sentence from 1987-1991. During his time in prison, John met forty-nine-year-old Beverly Bonner, who worked as the prison librarian. When John was released, Beverly quit her job and left her husband. She followed John to Kansas City to work for him. Her family never heard from her again, but her alimony checks continued to be cashed for several years.
By the early 1990s, four women and a baby were missing and linked to John Edwards Robinson. However, no evidence proved any wrongdoing. John explained the disappearances away as traveling or the womens’ choices to leave behind family. Then John discovered the internet. Using the chatroom name Slavemaster, John was a frequent correspondent in online chatrooms geared towards BDSM lifestyle. He sought women who enjoyed being a submissive partner. That is where he met Sheila Faith.
Sheila was born February 12th, 1949, in Texas. She was the mother of a teenaged daughter named Debbie. Debbie was born November 17th, 1978, and suffered from spina bifida. As a result of her medical condition, Debbie was wheelchair bound. When she met John Robinson online, Sheila was living in California with Debbie. John promised her a job and agreed to cover Debbie’s medical expenses if Sheila relocated to Kansas City. Upon their arrival in Kansas City, Sheila and Debbie disappeared. However, Sheila’s pension checks continued to be cashed for several years after her disappearance.
In 1999, John met Izabela Lewicka in a BDSM chatroom. Izabela was born April 11th, 1978, in Poland. Her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Indiana. In 1999, Izabela was a sophomore at Purdue University. She began a bondage relationship with John Robinson, relocating to Kansas City. John bought her an engagement ring, although he was still married to Nancy. The two even filed for a marriage license but were never legally married. Izabela then signed a lengthy contract with Robinson, agreeing to be his slave in every way. She granted John control over everything, including her bank accounts. Then she disappeared. John told friends in the Kansas area that Izabela was deported after getting caught with marijuana.
Also in 1999, licensed practical nurse Suzette Trouten moved from Michigan to Kansas City to live with John. She met his online and agreed to be his submissive slave and travel the world with him. Suzette was never seen by her family again. Suzette’s mother received several typed letters from Suzette in which she described her travels with John. The letters, however, were all postmarked from Kansas City. Her mother was suspicious as Suzette often made grammar mistakes, which were not found in the letters. Eventually, John told Suzette’s family that she ran off with another man after stealing money from him.
At this point, investigators were connecting the dots between numerous missing persons reports and John Edward Robinson. They needed more than suspicions, however, to make an arrest. In June of 2000, a woman filed charges against John for battery and another woman accused him of stealing her sex toys. With these complaints, John was arrested for theft and assault. This arrest opened the window for investigators by providing a search warrant of Robinson’s farm in La Cygne, Kansas and his storage units across the river in Missouri.
While searching Robinson’s farm, police discovered two decaying bodies in 85-pound chemical drums. The bodies were identified through DNA as Suzette Trouten and Izabela Lewicka. In the storage unit in Missouri, detectives found three more drums containing three more bodies. The bodies were identified as Beverly Bonner, Sheila Faith, and Debbie Faith. Autopsies on the five women determined the cause of death to be identical: blunt force trauma to the head. Robinson was charged for the murders of Trouten and Lewicka in Kansas, and the other three murder in Missouri.
Upon his arrest, authorities announced that they had found Tiffany Stasi alive and living with an adoptive family in the Midwest. They did not disclose her identity at that time, but it was later made public that Tiffany Stasi was Heather Robinson, John’s niece. John had arranged the adoption of Heather by his brother and sister-in-law in 1985. DNA confirmed her identity. Authorities said “It’s our belief that this adoptive family had no knowledge of any criminal activity relating to the adoption of baby Tiffany. They believed they were the adoptive parents of this little girl, but it was not a legal adoption. His brother was just another victim of all this” (Strangeland, Paparella, & Francis, 2019).
In later interviews, Heather spoke of the man she believed to be her Uncle John. “He always gave me this really weird, off-putting feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s like walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night while you know someone is behind you” (Strangeland, Paparella, & Francis, 2019). With the evidence of the illegal adoption of Tiffany, John was charged with the murder of Lisa Stasi although her remains were not found.
In 2002, John was found guilty of three counts of murder in Kansas after one of the longest trials in state history. For the murders of Trouten and Lewicka, John received the death penalty in Kansas. Because the death penalty was outlawed in 1985, John was given a life sentence for the murder of Lisa Stasi. He still faced murder charges in Missouri, who aggressively seeks the death penalty. John wanted a plea deal, which the prosecutor wanted to be contingent upon John leading authorities to the bodies of Stasi, Godfrey, and Clampitt. Although John admitted to the murders, he refused to lead authorities to the remains.
Under pressure, the prosecutor eventually came to an agreement and allowed John Robinson to enter a plea for the murders of Godfrey, Clampitt, Bonner, and Sheila and Debbie Faith. The plea was devoid of remorse and did not specifically take responsibility for the deaths but confirmed that there was enough evidence for John to be convicted in the deaths. John received five life sentences without any possibility of parole in Missouri in 2003.
In 2005, John’s wife divorced him after forty-one years of marriage. John’s convictions for Lisa Stasi and Suzette Trouten were vacated by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2015, based upon technicalities. However, the supreme court upheld his conviction for Izabela Lewicka and his death sentence for that crime. He remains on death row at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas. He continues to appeal his death sentence and conviction.
Heather, who was only sixteen when her identity was revealed, remained with her adoptive family. Her grandmother stated she did not want to take Heather out of a loving home she has been in since she was four months old. Heather did develop a relationship with her biological grandmother and was legally adopted by her adoptive parents after her eighteenth birthday. She remains committed to finding her biological mother’s remains and putting her to rest.