When 16-year-old Meghan Landowski was found sexually assaulted and stabbed to death inside her house, the police wasted no time in launching a full-scale investigation. However, six months after the murder, an unexpected tip led the police straight to Meghan’s murderer, Robert Barnes. ‘Dateline: The Call’ takes the audience through the gruesome incident and follows the investigation that brought Barnes to justice. Let’s take a look at the case details and find out where Barnes is at present, shall we?
Who Is Robert Barnes?
Robert Barnes was just sixteen at the time of Meghan’s murder and resided in Portsmouth, Virginia. Interestingly, Barnes seemed like an ordinary schoolboy, as he attended the same school as the victim. Local residents stated how Barnes was a regular sight in the community and even took the school bus to school along with the other kids. Moreover, the show mentioned that people were shocked when the police began investigating Barnes as he was generally considered to be a quiet yet brilliant student.
Meghan’s stepfather discovered Meghan’s deceased body on April 10, 2008, and was quick to inform the police. When first responders arrived on the scene, they found Meghan brutally stabbed to death. While an autopsy confirmed that she died from more than 40 stab wounds, a medical examination also proved that she was sexually assaulted before being killed. Once the police got around to investigating the crime scene, they realized that Meghan was attacked in the living room, and although she fought for her life valiantly, the attacker dragged her through the house before murdering her in cold blood.
However, much to everyone’s surprise, there was no sign of a forced entry, making detectives wonder if Meghan knew her assailant. Authorities left no stones unturned in their investigation and sat through hundreds of interviews for the initial few months following the murder. According to the show, they even looked into Meghan’s stepfather’s colleague, Robert Hicke, but stopped pursuing him when his DNA sample did not match the one extracted from the crime scene.
Unfortunately, progress was relatively slow, and detectives were met with dead ends at every turn. However, a sudden phone call about six months after the murder asked the police to look into Robert Barnes. Upon investigating further, detectives learned that Barnes, who attended the same school as Meghan, had a crush on her. However, Meghan seemingly rejected his advances and was not interested.
Where Is Robert Barnes Now?
When Robert Barnes was questioned, he mentioned that he and Meghan were quite close. Yet, he was adamant about not being involved in the murder. Nevertheless, when asked for his DNA evidence, Barnes handed over a piece of chewing gum that had a female DNA on it. Suspecting him of trying to hide something, the police brought him in for questioning a second time and finally made him confess. Barnes claimed that on the day of the murder, he saw a mystery man with Meghan, who forced him to sexually assault and kill the sixteen-year-old girl. Unwilling to believe his story, the police arrested Barnes and charged him with murder.
Once produced in court, Robert Barnes accepted a plea deal that ensured that he would be tried as a juvenile. As a part of that deal, Robert pled guilty to sexual assault as well as murder and was sentenced to 42 years in prison. Since then, Robert has tried to get his conviction overturned but to no avail. Thus, he remains incarcerated at the Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, Virginia.
Read More: Where Are Meghan Landowski’s Parents Now?