You ran out of gas on the Hollywood Frwy. A man in a Corvette pulled over to help. You've not been seen of since. It's been 17 years, but it's always just yesterday. Still looking for you. . . .
THE ECHO PARK DUCKS
The cryptic message, which appeared in The Times' classified section recently, caught the eye of KFI disc jockey Geoff Edwards, who read it over the air.
"It sounded so romantic," Edwards said the other day. "I wondered if anyone knew what it was all about, and I got all kinds of calls and mail. Someone even wondered if the message was a clue to the killing."
The case involved 17-year-old Robin Graham, a Pierce College student who was kidnaped off the Hollywood Freeway one night in 1970 after her car ran out of gas. No sign of her was ever found.
The young woman's family noticed the ad, too.
"One of our daughters saw it," said Robin's mother, Beverly Graham. "The funny thing is, she never looks at the personal ads. But this one day. . . . "
The writer, it turns out, was Al Medrano, a 36-year-old computer operator. The family, which still lives in Echo Park, remembers him as a neighborhood friend of Robin. Medrano said this was the first time he had run such an ad. Why this year?
"Well, it occurred to me that Nov. 15 (the day of her disappearance) fell on the same day (Sunday) this year as it did in 1970," he said. "And I just wanted to show she wasn't forgotten."
As for his sign-off, Medrano explained, "She and I were both from Echo Park, and the Echo Park Ducks was a group of our friends back then. I wanted to make it from all of us."
It was about 1:55 a.m. when Robin ran out of gas near the Santa Monica Boulevard off-ramp. When she declined an offer from CHP officers to call her a tow truck, they directed her to a nearby call box.
They checked with her afterward, and she told them she had telephoned home. Driving by again later, officers noticed a man looking under the hood of her Dodge. A light blue or green Corvette was parked nearby. CHP officers, thinking it was a relative, did not stop.
When the girl's family arrived to pick her up at about 2:30 a.m., only her Dodge was still there.
CHP handling of the incident prompted criticism from Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. The CHP changed its policy, directing officers to remain with any female motorist in distress on the freeway.
"It's strange," said Beverly Graham. "It happened right in the middle of the city, but there never really were any clues. Maybe it will turn something up," she said of the newspaper ad. "We still live with that hope."