Score another for DNA

You know how it goes: do a little web surfing, come across a news story, and the significance hits you like a big bolt of lightning. In my case, it was finding this news story and realizing, “holy shit, it’s Robin.”

Robin, sometimes known as Debbie Deer Creek or casefile 2UFMT. She was a young woman who blew into Missoula, Montana in August 1984, introduced herself around town as Robin — no last name — and hooked up with a gentleman named Wayne Nance. A month later, she disappeared, and by the end of 1984 she turned up in a creek with 3 bullet holes in her head. A year later, another unidentified girl (given the name Chrissie Crystal Creek) turned up, and by 1986, Wayne Nance was dead, killed in self-defense by the woman he’d attempted to rape and her husband (whom he nearly murdered.) Only then did the town realize what evil they’d harbored.

But they couldn’t identify Robin, and for nearly 22 years, the frustration grew. But thanks to a series airing on KPAX in August 2005 and the work of the Green River task force, Robin’s real name is now known: she was 16-year-old Marci Bachman, a runaway from Vancouver, Washington. The news is bittersweet for many reasons: though it’s wonderful that the identification is made, the news is hardly what Bachman’s family wanted to hear. And Liz Chipman, who made Robin’s plight a personal quest, didn’t get to live to hear the news.

So why does this affect me so much? Because, once again, it’s another case that haunted me for years and which I wasn’t sure would be resolved. Now that it has, maybe there’s hope for her, too…