ROSEMONT -- Robin Brooks left her job at Donut Time in the Rosemont area of Sacramento County around midnight on Wednesday, April 24, 1980, and was found sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her apartment the next evening.
While Brooks’ case has gone unsolved for more than 36 years, homicide detectives have the suspected killer’s DNA.
“It's very frustrating because we have our suspect,” said retired Sgt. Micki Links with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. “We have his DNA, and it's a full profile. We know who he is. We just need his name. We need to find who he is."
Links came back from retirement a few years ago to work on a number of unsolved cold case murders in the area, but she said the Brooks case is especially troubling.
“We're really leaving no stone unturned in this case, and this is one for me that I don't want to leave the department until it's solved,” Links said.
Brooks’ front door at the Garden Club Apartments, just a short walk from where she worked off Kiefer Boulevard, was chained shut from the inside. Links said detectives cannot rule out the possibility that Brooks may have known her attacker and had let him inside.
There are currently more than 350 unsolved murders in Sacramento County since the late 1950s.
For the first time since her murder, Brooks’ older sister has come forward to talk about how the brutal slaying has changed the course of her life.
"I was the older sister, and I always felt like I was her protector,” said Maria Arrick, as tears rolled down her cheeks. “When she came out here, she was just having fun. She was 20."
For many years, Arrick blamed herself for Robin’s death. The two had moved from New York to the Sacramento area only months before the death of Robin, but they lived separately because Maria was involved with a controlling boyfriend at the time.
“She didn't have fear, not like I had,” said Arrick. “I was more anxious, a little more careful.”
Just days before the murder, the two sisters had an argument over Robin’s personal safety since she lived alone. On the last night Robin was seen alive, Arrick said she became physically ill and couldn’t explain the episode until after detectives came to her house.
"They didn't say what happened, they just said she was deceased,” said Arrick. “And then they called my mother, and that was a nightmare, and then they just gave me the phone and she was screaming. It was horrible. It was a nightmare.”
After a long battle with depression and alcoholism, Arrick said she decided to make a change and to lead a life in Robin’s honor.
"I always said 'Before I die, this needs to be solved,' but more importantly, not before I die,” said Arrick. “I feel like it needs to be solved, and solved now."
So far, the cold case unit has eliminated more than 40 possible suspects with DNA.
“I just feel like someone knew what happened that night,” Links said. “And they need to come forward. It's time for that.”
Arrick is now offering up to a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Brooks’ killer.
If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office main homicide line at (916) 874-5057. Or you can go to a special website set up for the victims of unsolved homicides in Sacramento County.