Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John E. Robinson, Sr.: The Slavemaster


Suzette Trouten, victim
Suzette Trouten, victim

Izabela Lewicka disappeared at about the time Robinson convinced a lonely health care worker from Michigan to come to Kansas, where he would take care of her. Suzette Trouten was a bored licensed practical nurse who lived a double life, nurse by day, submissive slave by night. She frequented many of the same Web sites and chat rooms where John lurked and it wasn't long before the two found each other. Few who knew her outside the BDSM world would ever have suspected she wore a silver chain that hung from rings through her nipples and that other, more intimate parts of her anatomy were pierced, as well.

Robinson was passing himself off as a mysterious well-to-do businessman who needed a full-time caregiver to look after his elderly father. He told Suzette that if she came to Kansas, he would pay her more than $60,000 per year and that the three people, Robinson, Trouten and the mysterious "father" would be traveling the world.

Trouten, 27, was particularly close to her mother, Carolyn, and the two talked by phone almost every day. Suzette also had a number of e-mail and chat-room friends that she spoke with on a regular basis and they all knew she had come to Kansas to work for a man who frequented the chat rooms and was known as "JR."

Before she left Michigan in February, Suzette left John Robinson's telephone numbers and name with her mother, giving police a link to follow when in March, Suzette's family reported her missing. Police visited Robinson, who by this time had aroused suspicion in authorities in two states because his name kept coming up in missing persons investigations. Law enforcement has a long memory, and the police quickly tied Robinson to Stasi, Lewicka, Trouten, Godfrey and another woman, Catherine Clampitt, 27, who disappeared in 1987 after moving to Overland Park to take a job with John Robinson.

Suzette's last e-mail to a friend before she was to leave expressed contentment and hope for the future: "We all finally find what we want and need and I found mine," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Robinson was losing control and getting sloppy. Like so many other serial killers, he was increasing the frequency of his killing and for whatever reason -- perhaps overconfidence, psychosis or an unconscious will to be caught was doing a poor job at covering his tracks.

Carolyn Trouten received several typed letters from Suzette which that were allegedly written while she traveled abroad but had Kansas City postmarks and were uncharacteristically mistake-free. Carolyn later testified that Suzette was a poor speller and never typed notes to friends or family.

After contact with Suzette dropped off, Carolyn called the telephone numbers her daughter gave her and was surprised to have Robinson answer the phone. After all, the letters she received from her daughter said they were traveling together. Robinson denied this and said she had run off with an acquaintance and stolen money from him.

This was so unlike her daughter that Carolyn contacted the Lenexa police and filed a missing persons report. It was too late to save her daughter, but Carolyn's plea for help from the police would provide authorities with enough evidence to get warrants to tap Robinson's phone and monitor his online activities.

The authorities were closing in.

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'