Vanessa Robinson knew something was wrong when she didn’t hear from her son on Saturday. Sammy Robinson II and his mother talked on the phone every day, so when she didn’t get her regular call, she launched a search.
She checked the parking lot of their apartment complex for his car. She went to hospitals and called police. Her family blasted pleas for help on social media.
It wasn’t until hours later that Vanessa Robinson learned from detectives the painful truth. Her youngest child had been found dead on the street, killed after a fender bender escalated to an argument and then fatal gunfire.
“My son was a good man,” she said. “I feel like somebody took my son away from me for nothing.”
Prince George’s County police on Thursday announced an arrest in Sammy Robinson’s killing, charging George Bell, 37, of Forest Heights, with first- and second-degree murder.
After getting into a crash involving Sammy Robinson, 31, sometime Saturday or early Sunday, Bell said he didn’t have his insurance information on him and instructed him to follow him about a half-mile to a home in Forest Heights, police and his mother said. Soon after, the two men got into an argument and Bell shot Sammy Robinson, said Jennifer Donelan, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s police.
“This is over nothing,” Donelan said. “Now a mother has lost her son. It’s senseless.”
Online court records did not list an attorney for Bell.
Sammy Robinson’s body was found in a yard in the 5600 block of Woodland Drive on Sunday morning.
Vanessa Robinson said her son was dropping off a friend after they had attended a party Saturday. The friend had offered to use Uber, but Sammy Robinson had insisted on giving him a ride, his mother said.
“He took him home, and he never did come back home himself,” she said.
She said she and her son were so close that they were “hip to hip.” He moved into his mother’s Oxon Hill neighborhood and often performed community service at the nursing home where she has worked as a cook for nearly 40 years.
“There wasn’t a day that goes by that my son did not call me,” Vanessa Robinson said. “That’s what raised my alarm.”
She searched the neighborhood and even sent her daughter-in-law to check with the county jail in the off chance that her son might have been arrested. Family members posted messages on social media for friends to be on the lookout.
“MY COUSIN Sam Robinson was last seen early Saturday morning at 2am between 23pkwy and Oxon Hill md driving a dark gray Nissan Altima...” one relative said Sunday on Facebook in a post that received more than 300 shares. “...please if anyone see him or a suspicious car like his please contact 911 !!”
When Vanessa Robinson returned home from searching on Sunday morning, two detectives were waiting at her son’s girlfriend’s house to speak with her. She thought they were going to tell her they found her son alive, perhaps at a hospital somewhere.
“This man told me they found my son and my son was dead,” she said. “He said, ‘I’m going treat your son like he was my family, and I’m going find out what happened to your son.’ ”
Days later, detectives called her about an arrest. She said she was grateful for the news. She didn’t want to bury her son without some answers as to what had happened.
Vanessa Robinson said her son worked two jobs to support himself and his family. Early in the day, he drove for Uber and then worked afternoons at a home that helps the elderly.
He and his girlfriend had recently moved in together, and he treated her children as his own, taking them to the zoo and museums, his mother said. Sammy Robinson did so much with his girlfriend’s children, his mother said, that they sometimes asked what would happen to them if he ever left.
It’s a question Vanessa Robinson now struggles to answer herself.
“Sam was my last-born child,” she said. “That was my heart. He did not deserve this.”