Harsh Reality

Published 5:16 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014

GARYSBURG – Oct. 18, 2012 was exactly two years ago.

For Lola Robinson, it seems like yesterday.

Saturday marks the second anniversary of the disappearance of Robinson’s son, Shawn Cornelius Alston. The now 41-year-old Alston was last seen leaving a friend’s house, walking a familiar path towards the home he shared with his mother, two brothers and a handicapped sister.

Shawn Alston has been missing since Oct. 18, 2012.

Shawn Alston has been missing since Oct. 18, 2012.

Robinson has held strong over those two agonizing years, but deep in her heart she knows her son’s life was taken while he walked along that dirt path 24 months ago.

“I know he’s gone, but they didn’t have to take him that way,” Robinson said of those responsible for her son’s death. “All I want now is to find Shawn and put him where he needs to be; give him a proper resting place.”

Robinson said she has a pretty good idea of where her son’s body is currently located.

“I’ve heard all the talk going on around here, and I feel certain the (Northampton) Sheriff’s Office has heard the same thing,” she remarked. “I was hoping that by now that they (Sheriff’s Office) would have gotten the permission they need to search that particular area, but it’s apparent they have not.

“We need more support to get this (search) done,” Robinson added. “If that was their child or grandchild out there they would use every resource they can get their hands on to look. I feel more can be done. All they need is for one person to talk, and the rest will start singing like a bird.”

Robinson alleges there were five men that her son interacted with that fateful night. She feels one of the five, perhaps all, knows what happened.

“I just wish they would come forward with the truth,” she stated. “One of them volunteered to come in and take a polygraph test, but he backed out at the last minute; that ought to raise a red flag right there.”

Meanwhile, Robinson said she spends a lot of sleepless nights thinking about her oldest child – “my baby” as she calls him.

“It’s been real, real hard on me this week, thinking about the two-year anniversary and all the good times we had together as a family,” Robinson said, her voice filled with emotion. “I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, thinking about my son.

“I really miss him during Christmas time…he liked to do all the shopping for the family,” Robinson added. “He also loved his two brothers and his little sister. As the oldest, he would often refer to himself as the daddy of the family.”

That family gathered Saturday with friends to mark the two-year anniversary. A march took place,  starting on the path (Berry Scott Trail, located off Warner Bridge Road) where Alston vanished. The group then made their way north to Hill’s Farm, just across the state line.

“I hope this will mark the last time we gather to march on the anniversary of Shawn’s disappearance. Again, all I want more than anything is to find my baby and bring him home where he belongs,” Robinson concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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