Officers seek cause of death

EAST LIVERPOOL – It could be weeks before authorities know what caused the death of Joseph “Joey” Robinson on Saturday, police said.

St. Clair Township police Chief Donald Hyatt acknowledged the “buzz” on social media about Robinson’s death but said he would not speculate on a cause.

“Until I know for sure what was in his system, I just don’t want to say,” Hyatt said. “It will come down to the toxicology report. That should indicate the manner in which he died.”

Robinson’s body was found early Saturday morning on the side of Grimms Bridge Road, about three-quarters of the way down from Calcutta-Smith Ferry Road, Hyatt said. A passerby reported the “clearly visible” gruesome discovery to police.

St. Clair Township police are treating Robinson’s death as suspicious and have received assistance from the Ohio Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Columbiana County coroner’s office.

“We don’t know what the young man died from,” Hyatt said. “We do not suspect foul play.”

Blood work from Robinson has been sent to the BCI crime lab, but a toxicology report could be weeks away, he said.

Meanwhile, investigators are interviewing known associates of Robinson and are asking for the public’s help.

“We need to know his last patterns leading up to his death – where he was, who he was with,” Hyatt said. “We’re backtracking his last steps.”

Robinson’s mother, JoAnn Robinson, said she last saw her 38-year-old son on Thursday, when he left to go to a friend’s house. He sometimes stayed with her on Cannons Mills Road and sometimes with a friend, she said.

“He’d come and go,” she said.

Robinson attended East Liverpool High School and enjoyed working on and detailing cars, his mother said. He had worked at the former Serettis car dealership in Calcutta.

JoAnn Robinson described her son as “a sweet kid and funny. He made people laugh.”

She said he was a hard worker who also enjoyed working on people’s yards, landscaping and fishing.

“He was loving,” she said. “He was always telling me he loved me.”

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Dawson Funeral Home. Calling hours are from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Police are asking anyone who may have had contact with Robinson between Aug. 28 and the morning of Aug. 30 to contact the department at 330-386-3585, ext. 109.