Family and friends remember Angie Pipkin

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Rightfully devastated is how Gail Pipkin, mother to Angie Pipkin, was feeling when she saw detectives at her door earlier Tuesday.

A DNA test confirmed the human remains found along the Big Pee Dee River belonged to Pipkin, according to officials. Pipkin had been reported missing since January.

She told our reporter the entire thing is hard to wrap her head around.

She says a part of her has closure - knowing that the search for her daughter is over, but her heart still aches.

Gail spent tonight with family and friends remembering her daughter.

Lt. Robert Kegler, with HCPD, said identifying her remains is the closure to their investigation. They believe they have the right man in custody, charged with her murder.

Randy Robinson was arrested back in February.

Multiple searches were done in the Great Pee Dee River this spring.

Kimberly Holden is an old friend of Pipkin and says the investigation has been tough, but the findings bring some closure.

"It brings me closure, but the main thing is her mother and kids. They deserve to lay their mother to rest ... we don't have that doubt that maybe she is alive, that maybe she will show up ... even though we knew, she wasn't ... we have closure now, at least," Holden said.

Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutchen confirmed the remains were Angie's about an hour after detectives informed her mother. Holden says it's hard to think about the gruesome details of Angie's death.

"All I can say, is I hope she didn't suffer," Holden confessed.

The missing report

Angela Grace Pipkin, 32, was reported missing by her family in January.

According to the Horry County Police Department report, an officer spoke with Pipkin's mother on January 22, who said the last time the family saw her was on January 16. Pipkin's father dropped her off at the IGA in Aynor to meet with a friend of hers.

The father went to get ice cream, and when he returned a short time later, Pipkin was gone. Several days went by with no contact from her, so family went to the friend's house to ask where she was going. The friend said he had not spoke to her.

That friend was Randy Robinson.

After a week without contact, Pipkin's mother called police. The report states that the mother had checked Pipkin's Facebook page to find no recent activity, and her cell phone was going straight to voicemail, with a full mailbox.

She was entered into the National Crime Information Center database as a missing person.

The arrest

In the meantime, Horry County Police had arrested 46-year-old Randy Robinson in connection with the disappearance of Pipkin. Robinson was arrested Thursday, February 27.

Gail Pipkin said she begged her Angie not to meet up with Robinson on January 16th.

"He said he hadn't seen her ... said how much he loved her and cared for her, but he had not seen her," expressed Gail Pipkin.

Randy Gale Robinson was charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the disappearance, according to a post from the Horry County Police Department Facebook page.

"The charge stems from misleading information given to Detectives during the course of their investigation," the post stated.

Gail Pipkin said police told her that Robinson admitted he did see her daughter that night and brought her to Socastee.

Robinson reportedly told officers he bought Angie items from a pharmacy in the area, but after a fight he kicked Angie out of the car by the 707 Gun Shop and returned the items to the store.

"They've been looking for her in other places. If he would have just told the truth, they could have looked for her on Highway 707," said Gail Pipkin.

Robinson is from Murrells Inlet, and was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center, according to jail records, but was released on March 1 on a $5,000 bond, five days before he would be arrested for murder.

Meanwhile, there was a candlelight vigil held for Pipkin, and others missing from Horry County at the Aynor Town Park, held the same day Robinson checked out of the jail.

The search

Just hours after police began searching an area in Darlington County for evidence in the disappearance of Pipkin, Horry County Police served a warrant on a home in the Murrells Inlet area.

Lt. Kegler, confirmed the search warrant was served at the home on Sullivan Drive in Murrells Inlet in relation to the Pipkin case but that no one has been arrested at the time.

Earlier in the afternoon, Horry County Police officers began a search for evidence at the Pee Dee River landing in Darlington County based on a tip in the investigation.

Lt. Kegler said the Darlington County Sheriff's Office was in charge of the search. HCPD had been in contact with the sheriff's office and the Department of Natural Resources since the tip had been received.

The tip indicated something was thrown over the bridge, Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd said.

The search was conducted along the Pee Dee River landing on Highway 34, between Darlington and Marlboro counties. Divers with DNR were called by county authorities to aid in the search for a body near the landing, the alert stated. The landing closed while the search took place..

"Well there is still some question about what was thrown over, how it was thrown over and what location. It's a matter of getting some better information. They've looked given the information they had and not located anything," Sheriff Byrd said.

Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd informed the public through Twitter, posting pictures of the searches. Meantime, Robinson remained in jail, unable to receive bond until he saw a circuit court judge.

The arrest warrant for murder

Horry County Police Department's Major Crimes Unit took Robinson into custody for a second time on Thursday, March 6 after the initial search warrant.

Warning: The following paragraph contains graphic details regarding the alleged murder of Angie Pipkin.

According to an arrest warrant for murder obtained Friday, March 7 from the Horry County Police Department, Robinson "did with malice aforethought strike Angie Pipkin, victim, about her person which resulted in her death." The warrant claims that on January 17, 2014, Robinson struck Pipkin at the home on Sullivan Drive, dismembered the victim's body, and then disposed of it in a body of water in Darlington County. The claims were based on witness statements and physical evidence gathered through the course of the investigation, the warrant stated.

View the arrest warrant here: (PDF Format) - WARNING: Contains graphic details.

Police were on scene of the home on Sullivan Drive until about 11 p.m. Thursday. Our reporter at the scene saw investigators spraying the home's entryway and shining black lights in the area.

"As a result of our investigation, we determined a homicide had taken place," said Lt. Kegler. "Robinson was responsible, and we charged him with murder."

Read more about that obstruction arrest here:

The search for Angie continues

The search of the Pee Dee River for evidence in the case of Pipkin continued. Despite the murder arrest, Pipkin was still missing.

Searches were pushed back due to the height of the water and strong currents. However, water levels eventually lowered, and officials continued to search the waters and areas.

The discovery of remains

On May 14, human remains were found in Florence County.

The Florence County Sheriff's Office investigated the discovery of human remains off Papermill Road in Florence County.

Officials with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office were on the scene, in addition to Florence County Coroner Keith Von Lutcken. The Horry County Police Department was also on the scene, Lt. Kegler confirmed.

"Yes, we went there based on the proximity of where the remains were found and the information we obtained during the course of the Angie Pipkin case," Kegler said. "Obviously it is way too early to assume anything, and we can not confirm any identity at this time," he added.

Authorities had been in wooded area where remains were found since 11 a.m.

People who work at campground off Papermill Road found the body and called authorities.

The DNA test results

A DNA test confirmed the human remains found along the Big Pee Dee River belonged to Pipkin, according to officials on Tuesday, May 20.

Randy Robinson remains in jail awaiting his trial.

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