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Man charged with murder, tampering with evidence in missing Austin woman's death

Robin Hatcher was officially reported missing on Aug. 23, 2019.

AUSTIN, Texas — A man has been charged with murder and tampering with a corpse in the death of an Austin woman who was reported missing in August 2019.

According to affidavits obtained by KVUE, 37-year-old Paul Ray Adams has been charged with first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony tampering with a corpse in the death of Robin Hatcher.

On Aug. 23, 2019, Dominique Hatcher called the Austin Police Department to report that her mother, Robin Hatcher, was missing, the affidavits stated.

An officer met and interviewed Dominique Hatcher, who said she had last seen her mother on Aug. 9 at her mother's residence, located at 8912 North Lamar Blvd. She said she had been back to the residence several times looking for her mother, but couldn't find her.

Dominique Hatcher expressed concern because of what she had learned about her mother's boyfriend, Adams, according to the affidavits. Adams had lived with Robin Hatcher prior to her going missing. Dominique Hatcher said when she couldn't find her mother, she spoke with Adams, who told her that Robin Hatcher had "gotten tired of him" and kicked him out of the apartment and he hadn't seen her since. Dominique Hatcher told the officer who interviewed her that she heard Adams had a history of domestic violence and had strangled his last ex-girlfriend. She said she was worried Adams may have hurt her mother, according to the affidavits.

Credit: Austin PD
Paul Ray Adams faces charges in the case of a missing Austin woman.

Dominique Hatcher also told the officer that she spoke to her mother regularly on the phone but had not done so in two weeks and that it appeared her mother's phone service had been disconnected. The affidavits stated Robin Hatcher was entered into the state and national missing persons databases as missing since Aug. 23.

Credit: Austin PD
Robin Hatcher was last seen walking along North Lamar Boulevard.

According to the affidavits, early in the investigation, officers discovered that both Robin Hatcher and Paul Adams had a history of violent disturbances, including several involving one another. Numerous police reports also informed investigating officers of Adams' history of drug use and possession and use of edged weapons.

On Sept. 6, 2019, police issued a call for the public's help locating Robin Hatcher. According to the affidavits, on Sept. 9, Adams went to the main APD station, saying he thought a detective may want to speak with him since news outlets stated he was the last person seen with Robin Hatcher. The following day, officers conducted an interview with Adams, who said he had last seen Robin Hatcher on what he thought was Aug. 9. He said the two of them argued about their relationship, mutually agreeing to separate. Adams said he packed up his belongings but Robin Hatcher told him he could leave the next morning. He said when he woke up, she wasn't there, so he left with his things. Adams said that was the last time he saw her but he knew she had been missing for some time.

RELATED: Austin police searching for woman last seen Aug. 9

Over the course of further investigation for several months, including a search warrant for Robin Hatcher's phone records, police learned that Adams had pawned Robin Hatcher's phone on Aug. 15, according to the affidavits. They also learned that Adams had used Robin Hatcher's Lone Star EBT card on Aug. 13 and 15.

The affidavits stated that on Nov. 13, APD officers drove to Port Arthur, Texas, where Adams had relocated, to conduct follow-up interviews with him. At the time, Adams denied using or pawning any of Robin Hatcher's property without her present, despite records and surveillance footage that showed he had done so, according to the affidavits. He claimed that he found the phone he pawned "at a bus stop." Adams suggested the officers take him to jail and ended the interview shortly after he was confronted about selling Robin Hatcher's phone several days after she went missing, the affidavits state.

Then, during a 911 call APD responded to on April 2, 2020, Adams told officers that he had been involved in the murder of Robin Hatcher, according to the affidavits. In an interview with those officers, he said he "personally asphyxiated" Robin Hatcher and disposed of her body in a dumpster. In an interview later that day, he initially stated that he had argued with Robin Hatcher at her apartment, briefly left to go to a convenience store and returned to find her dead. He said he placed her body in a bag and disposed of it in a dumpster instead of calling the police because he thought he would be blamed for her death. He also admitted to pawning her phone and using her Lone Star EBT card after her death.

The affidavits state that Adams was evasive about how Robin Hatcher had stopped breathing and told police that if he could talk with someone first, he would come back and tell the story. Officers took him to his mother's house, leaving one of the officer's numbers with him.

On April 3, Adams called the officer, saying he had told his parents what happened and agreeing to meet with the officer that day. According to the affidavits, in an interview, Adams told police that he and Robin Hatcher had been using drugs on the day of the incident. He said they got into an argument and he grabbed her and choked her. He said he did not know how long his hands were on her neck, but he put a pillow over her face "to make sure she wasn't breathing." He then disposed of her body in the dumpster.

Police believe the incident occurred on or about Aug. 13, 2019. Adams was booked into the Travis County Jail on April 3 on a combined bond of $1 million.

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