Coming Home to Murder: Robin Marie Nuss and Her Unborn Child

Those of you who are paying attention know that two and a half years ago, I moved back to my hometown after being away for nearly thirty years. Over the last couple months, I’ve been researching the murders of three teenaged girls that happened here in 1984. I’ll share more about that at a later date.

Yesterday, while googling the name of a witness, I happened upon another murder that happened five years after the one I’m researching. Google, man. I can’t tell you how many times during this process that I’ve googled a name, only to stare in open-mouthed surprise at the results. In an area this small, I suppose some overlap of crime and violence is to be expected, but it catches me off guard every time.

The Murders of Robin Marie Nuss and her Unborn Child

On June 10, 1989, Stacey Estes met the man of her dreams. From the beginning, Charles Alarid treated her like a queen, and within within days of their first encounter, they became romantically involved. Soon after their affair began, Alarid, who worked on a horse ranch in Diamond Springs, took her horseback riding on a remote forest trail near Georgetown. Less than two weeks passed and he proposed to her on July 4. Estes accepted and he presented her with a ring two days later.

Placerville Union Cemetery

On July 10, a woman’s partially buried body was found along a hiking trail off Bottle Hill Road in the Georgetown area. The pregnant woman’s throat had been slashed and there was evidence she suffered bruising and a skull fracture. Authorities publicized her death and description widely, but no one came forward to identify her, nor was she ever reported as missing. State Department of Justice personnel finally identified her as Robin Marie Nuss when they matched her fingerprints and dental charts. Her parents were subsequently informed of her death and told investigators her husband’s name was Charles Alarid.

Stacey Estes was unaware of her fiancee’s double life. Then, on July 17, Alarid’s boss at the horse ranch told Estes he was involved with another woman. A woman who happened to be eight months pregnant with his child.

Upon learning Alarid (who was on parole for auto theft) was Robin Nuss’s husband, detectives moved quickly to investigate his activities. On July 20, a special unit of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department tracked Alarid to his parents’ home, where, after a nine-hour stand-off, he was arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife and her unborn baby. Detectives believed that on July 5, 1989, the day after proposing to Stacey Estes, Charles Alarid took Robin to the same area where he and Estes had gone horseback riding and killed her by slashing her throat.

It’s worth noting that Charles Alarid (26) and Robin Nuss (21) got married on May 21, 1989. Less than three weeks before he became involved with Stacey Estes and about six weeks before he murdered Nuss.

A kitchen knife, believed to have been the murder weapon, was found about thirty feet from Nuss’s body. At Alarid’s trial, his boss’s wife, Jeannine Smith, testified that the knife was part of a set she owned and that it was missing from her kitchen. Recalling the first time detectives showed her the knife after Nuss’s body had been found, Smith said, “It physically made me very sick. I was nauseated.”

During the trial, a ring was presented to the court and Robin Nuss’s mother and grandmother claimed they’d seen Nuss wearing it in the six weeks between her May 21 marriage and her death on July 5. Estes identified that same ring as the one Alarid had given her on July 6, two days after their engagement on July 4. He’d also given her a wrist watch Robin’s mother identified as belonging to her daughter.

After six days of deliberation, a jury found Charles Lawrence Alarid guilty of two counts of first degree murder–Robin Marie Nuss and her unborn child, Gale. He was sentenced two two life sentences for each of the lives he took. Robin and her children, Sara (d. 1985) and Gale, are buried in Placerville, California at the Placerville Union Cemetery.

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As tragic as this story is, there’s a terrible prequel. Read about the murder of Terri Lynn Deschamp here.

Holly West

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