https://newsmakingnews.com

CONTENTS AUGUST 10, 2000

Click. Robinson, mother of missing Xiana Fairchild to testify before federal grand jury.


Robinson to testify

By Matthias Gafni, Vallejo Times-Herald staff writer
8/10/00

An FBI agent knocked on Antoinette Robinson's door Tuesday night and served her with a subpoena to appear in front of a federal grand jury. The mother of missing 8-year-old Xiana Fairchild told the Times-Herald on Wednesday that the parents and brother of her boyfriend, Bobby Turnbough, were also summoned to give testimony on what they may know about events surrounding the girl's disappearance.

Also Wednesday, Vallejo police chief Robert Nichelini hinted that evidence reviewed by the FBI over the past several months may have led to the first round of subpoenas since January. But Nichelini and other law enforcement officials remained tight-lipped about the case, and have yet to publicly name anyone as a suspect in Xiana's disappearance.

Wednesday marked the first time in more than six months that Robinson had spoken to the media about the case. She addressed the Times-Herald about her pending grand jury appearance, her day-to-day life, her daughter Xiana, and the rift between Xiana's great-aunt Stephanie Kahalekulu and child advocate Kim Swartz.

Meanwhile, Robinson's mother, Diane Raymundo, confirmed that Turnbough's parents - Robert and Mary Smith of Vallejo - and Turnbough's brother were called to testify in front of a grand jury in Sacramento on Wednesday. Raymundo said that contrary to published reports, she didn't know if Bobby Turnbough had been subpoenaed.

Neither Turnbough nor his parents could be reached for comment.

Robinson said, however, that she received her summons Tuesday night.

"(The FBI) knocked on my door last night," Robinson said. The agent told her she was to appear in Sacramento at 9 a.m. Friday, asked her if she had any questions and then left, she added.

"I was blank. I just had a weird stare," she said of her response. She added that she talked to other people who were summoned in the past and they said they felt "very uncomfortable" during the questioning.

But she said, "I'm not worried. I don't have anything to be worried about."

Robinson, speaking from the garage of her Vallejo home, said the intense public scrutiny she and Turnbough received since Xiana's Dec. 9 disappearance has not stopped.

"It's never been put behind me," Robinson said. "Until she's found it won't. Whether it's good, bad or indifferent, she needs to be found.

"I've tried to pick up with my everyday life. I don't go out in the daytime. I've got social anxiety disorder. I just don't go out during the day time. I have panic attacks in the public.

She continued: "I'm tired of walking down the street and people screaming obscenities. One time I was walking to a taco truck on Florida and Sonoma and some woman stopped her car and yelled at me: "Hey bitch, why aren't you looking for your daughter?!'

"I didn't have anything nice to say. So I told the bitch to give me a ride and we'd both go looking for her."

Turnbough was the live-in boyfriend of Robinson in their Georgia Street studio apartment at the time of Xiana's disappearance. Neither Turnbough nor Robinson has been named a suspect in the Xiana case, but they have been under close public scrutiny after providing misleading information to the police.

Initially, Turnbough told police that on Dec. 9, the day Xiana was reported missing, he woke up early and dropped off rent money at his parents' home. He said he left their house 10 minutes later, then returned home and took Xiana to her bus stop.

Weeks later, however, Turnbough admitted he lied about dropping Xiana off to hide from police his 1994 conviction and subsequent two-year prison term for child abuse. Shortly thereafter, police searched Turnbough's parents' home for a black diary and pornography after a former girlfriend told officers that Turnbough molested their infant son.

Turnbough has denied the existence of such a diary.

Robinson said Wednesday that she holds a job in Vacaville. She added that Turnbough, who was first thrown out by Robinson only to reconcile with her later, no longer lives with her.

Robinson says her search for Xiana is constant.

"I look every day. When I'm in the car I look down every street. I look at every passing car. I look every day," she said as a tear rolled down her cheek. "On her birthday (July 8), I had a private vigil with a cake-cutting ceremony."

Xiana is safe, Robinson asserts. She knows this, she said, because she hasn't gotten the "motherly feeling" that would make her believe her daughter is dead.

"Until I get that gut-wrenching feeling, I won't give up."

She also commented on the recent falling-out between Kahalekulu and Swartz, who both used to occupy the now-defunct Xiana Fairchild Volunteer Center in the Target Center.

"Kim and Stephanie need to finish this mess off," Robinson said. "But I'm glad they went their separate ways. Kim should have more compassion. I think Kim is a heartless bitch and you can quote me on that."

Robinson named three people who already testified in front of a federal grand jury in January: Robinson's friend Tina Martin, her mother Diane Raymundo and Raymundo's former boyfriend Necko Carter.

Raymundo confirmed those three and named others back in January: Eddie Fox, a friend of Raymundo and Robinson and a part-time handyman; Will Perkins, a friend of Carter who slept at Robinson and Turnbough's apartment the night before Xiana was reported missing; and relatives of Perkins.

"New developments" apparently sparked this week's subpoenas, according to a Vallejo Police Department press release. Police officials were mum on details of those developments, however.

Vallejo Police Lt. JoAnn West said Xiana case evidence was sent to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., for examination, but only some results have returned. She would not say whether results from the evidence were pertinent to the latest developments.

In June, during Vallejo City Council budget talks, Police Chief Nichelini hinted there could be a major lead in the Xiana case in 30 to 60 days.

Asked Wednesday if this were the break he anticipated, Nichelini said: "Probably."

"Obviously, we plan and plan and plan," he added. "We know when evidence is going to come back from the federal crime lab, we know when grand jury sessions are scheduled and so forth, well in advance.

"So sometimes we can anticipate when something will happen. It may turn out to be nothing, but we'll see," Nichelini said.

Nichelini would not go into any details regarding the case, saying it could jeopardize the investigation.

Kahalekulu, ensconced in her new volunteer center at 153 Plaza Dr., said she has heard nothing from police regarding the new developments. But the center was bustling Wednesday with a swarm of media representatives and regular volunteers.

"I've always said the police have had focus and direction. I've always felt more answers were coming," said Kahalekulu, who said she slept only three hours Tuesday night after hearing the news. "We're happy that there are new developments and that police are optimistic that this could be a big break."

The volunteer center held a small vigil Wednesday night to mark the eight-month anniversary of Xiana's disappearance.

You can reach the new Xiana Fairchild Volunteer Center at 558-9212.