COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was March 11, 1997, and Robin Stepp was about to be released from prison. But what flashed on the TV screen that night during the 11 o’clock news would change her world forever.
“All my dreams were coming true, and then, in ’97, my dreams come to an end,” she said.
On that television screen, Stepp saw a picture or son’s face. Aaron “Cody” Stepp had been reported missing, while in the care of her mom and sister.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said. “I missed him so much, love him. He was my world.”
She immediately called her then-partner and now best friend, Pam Taylor.
“I threw the phone and fell out to the floor,” Taylor said. “It’s something you never think will happen to you in your lifetime, or why it would. It’s horrible.”
Investigators searched and conducted interviews, but there was no sign of Cody. At the time, 10TV interviewed several neighbors who said they actually hadn’t seen Cody in months, long before he was reported missing. And the timing was suspicious to both Stepp and Taylor as well. They wondered whether it was a coincidence that Cody was reported missing the day before Stepp was set to be released from prison.
“I just want somebody to come forward,” Stepp said. “I mean, whether you’re family, friends, stranger, somebody knows something. I just want them to come forward and please let me know, let us know something.”
And Stepp is hoping for answers soon. After being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, she doesn’t have much time left on this earth.
“It’s been like a bad dream I just can’t wake up from,” Stepp said. “I mean, people say it gets easier. It don’t get easier. It gets harder, and it stays hard. And I’m going to keep feeling this way until I know something or have him home with me again.”
Taylor feels the same. She not only misses the boy she considered a son, but she’s also heartbroken by her best friend’s pain.
“I’m watching my utmost, lifelong best friend dwindle right in front of my eyes, and this is all I want to do for her,” Taylor said. “I can’t take away her pain, but I want to be able to give her answers and some kind of closure.”
The Columbus Division of Police released this statement to 10TV:
This investigation remains open. Any new information from the public is welcome, and will be followed up on. Please direct anyone with information to call the Missing Persons Unit at 614-645-2358.