The following story is reportedly derived from an audio interview with 45-year-old Byron Robertson from El Paso, Texas… who is currently on death row following his conviction for the murder of his five-year old daughter Nancy.
A psychiatrist employed by Texas State Police has been conducting an examination of this case to determine if Robertson — who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia following his arrest, but ruled competent to stand trial — may have one last shot at an insanity plea when his case comes up for hearing early next year.
The following is a summary of that interview transcript, with quotes edited slightly for length.
“Dolls have a creepy nature in them,” Robertson told the doctor. “It’s like us humans trying to be God, creating something in our own image. I don’t know why kids play with those things… dressing them up, feeding them and even talking to them as if they’re alive… then I found out they were right all along… we didn’t know it, but these dolls are pretty much alive… I should have known better.”
He goes on to lament having ever bought a doll for his daughter Nancy as a present for her fifth birthday.
“We didn’t really have the money to throw her a big birthday party, but me and my wife tried our best,” he recalls. “We really love our Nancy, and we wanted to give her the best birthday she could have.”
The couple ended up taking up a collection from friends and coworkers in order to afford a modest party for their daughter, complete with a cake and one special present.
That present turned out to be a large plastic doll the Robertsons bought at a surplus store in Pecos. It was nothing fancy, but cute enough that they were sure Nancy would love it… and they were right. Robertson recalls how delighted his daughter was to receive the doll, describing that birthday as “the happiest day our family ever had.”
Little did he know at the time that day would be the last birthday Nancy would be celebrating in her short lifetime.
For a while, everything was right in the world, as Nancy spent virtually every moment of the day with her doll — bringing it to bed every night, giving it a place at the kitchen table, and bringing it to school to show her friends.
But after a few months, Nancy’s parents began to notice their daughter’s love for the doll was growing into an obsession. The girl began to ignore her friends and classmates in favor of the doll, and eventually spent more time talking to it than to her own family. When Nancy’s teacher told the Robertsons about the girl’s uncomfortable attachment to the doll, they began to wonder if they’d made the right choice after all.
But Nancy’s behavior became even stranger at home — she was soon dressing the doll in her own clothes, and even changed its hair to look more like hers.
“But the worst part was, every day and every night, she just talked with that doll,” Robertson told the doctor. “Not just pretending to talk to it — she was having long conversations with it… like that the damn thing was actually responding to her.”
The Robertsons’ concern grew until they finally decided to take the doll away from Nancy — at least temporarily, until they could find a counselor who might be able to help them sort out this strange obsession. During this time, the doll remained locked in the hall closet. As you can probably imagine, this provoked a violent reaction from the girl… but it was worse than her parents could have possibly imagined.
“Nancy got angry at us,” Robertson said. “Not just angry, but violently pissed off that we took her doll away from her. She started throwing tantrums, yelling, ‘Where’s Lil’ Nancy? Where’s Lil’ Nancy?’ She started throwing and breaking stuff in our house, demanding we give her the doll back.”
But the child’s frenzied reaction didn’t stop there; soon, Nancy was cursing at her parents, spouting incredibly hateful and obscene language — profanities her parents had never themselves spoken in her entire life.
The girl’s increasingly aggressive fit forced the parents to banish her to her room, which they had to enforce by physically dragging her — biting, kicking and screaming all the way — down the hallway. But when they reached their daughter’s bedroom, they were shocked to discover the doll was laying on Nancy’s bed.
Nancy’s parents were terrified… because they knew they had locked the doll in the hall closet, and had not opened that door since then. But Nancy, of course, was overjoyed to be reunited with her plastic friend.
“She ran up to it, caressed it and asked if it was all right,” Robertson recalls. “Then Nancy laid beside it on her bed and told it that she would never let it out of her sight again… my wife and I just stood there, scared shitless at what just happened.”
In the coming weeks, a second attempt to remove the doll from the house ended up with the same result — it inexplicably returned to the girl’s bed within a matter of hours. Finally, in mounting terror and desperation, the Robertsons decided the only remaining solution was to destroy it.
“We waited until near dawn before we went outside,” Robertson told the doctor. “Throwing it in the trash and watching the truck take it away was the best bet we had of finally getting rid of it. To make sure though, I broke its little plastic arms and legs. For a safe measure, I also pulled its head off and it went down the trash together with all the other parts. Then we watched the garbage truck take it away, thinking that we would never see it again.”
But the next morning brought no relief to the Robertsons… instead, it brought a grim visit from the local Police, who brought nightmarish news:
“They told us that the mutilated head, torso and limbs of our daughter were found in a garbage truck,” Robertson said.
At first, they denied such a thing was possible… because they were certain their daughter was sleeping in her own bed.
But when they brought the officers to the girl’s room to show them, Nancy was not there… and something else was.
The doll was sitting on the girl’s bed, looking completely undamaged, its large blue eyes staring vacantly back at them.
The Robertsons were arrested and charged with the murder of their own child. Throughout their arraignment and trial, the couple insisted on their innocence, swearing they had not even laid a hand on the girl in anger, and that they had only tried to get rid of the doll. But as you can imagine, their pleas didn’t convince the prosecution or the jury.
Toward the end of the interview, Robertson’s tale becomes more and more sorrowful as he recalls the day he learned his wife committed suicide in her jail cell… but even then, he continues to maintain their innocence, begging the doctor one more time to believe him.
“I would never in my life try to kill my own family,” he insists. “You can put me in the electric chair, inject me or hang me for all I care. Murder me and make me the third victim of that doll. But please, hear me out. You have to destroy that thing. You can get rid of me… but for the love of God… get rid of that doll too…”