Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Woman’s family, co-workers still affected by death

September 14, 2006

As the anniversary of Robin Bell's murder approaches, her family and co-workers continue to try to move on with their lives.

Bell, a manager at the Dollar General in north Bonner Springs, was found dead Nov. 12, 2005, murdered after she'd closed the store the night before.

Bell's widower, Don Bell, has moved from the Tonganoxie house of Robin Bell's mother, Kay Bundy, where Don and Robin Bell had lived together, to Edwardsville. He works as a security guard at Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Mo.

"It's easier to not live there, Don Bell said. "I still have pictures of her around. I meet new friends now that I moved."

What has also made his life easier, Bell said, was being cleared as a suspect in his wife's death. Besides the stress and sting his status as a suspect brought him, it also prevented Bell from collecting life insurance for his wife's death.

"Of course we all miss her -- we always will -- but you got to go on with life," Bell said.

Bell said he's still hopeful that Robin's killer will be caught, but "it seems like the longer it takes, the harder it will be."

Bell said he had his own ideas as to the motives of the murderer.

"I don't think it was robbery. I think it was something else ... something personal, beat as bad she was," he said.

Police determined Robin Bell's death resulted from severe head trauma.

Still, Don Bell said his wife had no enemies he knew of.

Don Bell said another benefit event to raise money for a reward for information leading to the arrest of Robin Bell's murderer would be "noon to whenever," Nov. 10 at Muddy Waters Restaurant, 6720 1/2 Kaw Dr., Kansas City, Kan. There will be bands, an auction of goods donated by local businesses and individuals, and a raffle.

Robin Bell's daughter, Melissa Davis of Basehor, is likewise still hopeful her mother's killer will be caught.

"It just takes one of those little tips," she said, for the police to solve the case.

To that end, on her way to a hot-air balloon festival in Albuquerque, she plans to post flyers at highway stops and at the festival itself.

Bonner Springs police Chief John Haley said there were no new developments in the case, but "we're invested in it on a regular basis. It's not a cold case. It's treated as ongoing, and we get new leads every week."

Ameristar Casino, Kansas City, Mo., where Don Bell works, last June donated $1,000 to bring the reward money for information leading to the arrest of Robin Bell's killer to $15,000. The bulk of it, $10,000, came from Dollar General and the remainder from friends and family of Robin Bell.

Of the increased reward size, Haley said, "I think it's only going to help."

A former co-worker of Robin Bell, who still works at the store, said all the other employees who had worked with Bell had been "weirded out" by the crime had transferred to other stores. The co-worker didn't want to give her name, but said that working at the store had been "weird" for some time afterward for her as well. She just started back at the Dollar General store a few weeks ago, and said working there does not feel as strange now.

The store implemented new security precautions and procedures after Bell's murder, but employee couldn't explain what those were.

Bell's death brought the community together, the employee said.

"Everybody was really sweet," she said.

The employee said she missed Bell, though she didn't know her well.

"She was a good person," she said.

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