WINCHESTER — Police are seeking leads in a 1975 murder investigation that is the subject of a Winchester Police Department podcast.
Lenna Mae Tuttle Robinson, 71, was found beaten and unconscious on the sidewalk near her car on Peyton Street on Nov. 11, 1975. She died at Winchester Memorial Hospital — now known as Winchester Medical Center — four days later. Police believe Robinson, who was carrying packages after Christmas shopping, was robbed.
Robinson’s purse was found in February of 1976 on the 15-foot tall roof of what is now All Points Countertop Inc. at 449 N. Cameron St. The Winchester Evening Star had reported on the missing purse a day before it was found, according to police spokeswoman and “Defrost” podcast host Lt. Amanda R. Behan. The purse has been sent to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science laboratory in Manassas for DNA testing, which wasn’t available in 1975.
Robinson, who was attacked from behind, was probably targeted because of the packages, Behan said. A witness reported seeing two men on Peyton Street run to a light-colored, four-door sedan around the time of the attack.
Behan said on Wednesday that the podcasts haven’t generated any leads yet, but she remains hopeful.
Podcast co-host and retired Winchester police Detective Craig Smith said on episode three of the nine-episode, monthly podcast that the passenger door to Robinson’s car was found open by police. Smith, an officer from 1993 until retiring in July, said it’s possible Robinson may have been bringing packages into her Peyton Street apartment and surprised the robbers when she returned to her car.
Behan is a fan of true crime podcasts, but emphasized in a news release that the point of the podcast is not entertainment, but to try to generate leads.
“Our mission is to bring the Robinson family closure and peace, and to find the perpetrator or perpetrators who committed this crime,” she said. “We feel that even 45 years later, someone knows something, and we need any and all information that we can get our hands on to solve this case.”
Robinson was the mother of three children.