Sabrina Limon had no idea her husband, Robert, had been murdered the night he died, she told a detective during an interview aired in Kern County Superior Court Tuesday.
Instead, she assumed he had gotten into an accident at work when two Burlington Northern Santa Fe employees — Superintendent Danny Rodriguez and supervisor Ray Torres — drove to her home to deliver the news, she said while recounting the August 2014 day her husband was murdered to a Kern County Sheriff’s Office detective.
“They looked at me and said that Robert got hurt and that they were sorry,” Limon recalled. “I just said, ‘is he OK?’ They wouldn’t tell me. They said he had a wound on the back of his head … They wouldn’t tell me anything.”
She told the detective, Robert Randall Meyer, she couldn’t remember what happened after that. It was all a blur, she said.
“I don’t feel like any of this happened. I don’t feel like the funeral happened,” Limon said. “I felt numb. Unreal.”
The police interview, which Robert’s confessed murderer, Jonathan Hearn, suspected was a set-up to draw information out of Limon, lasted less than an hour and outlined the last day Limon saw her husband.
Driving to Tehachapi for work wasn’t unusual, and offered Robert, a carman for BNSF, a good way to make overtime pay, Limon told Meyer. She was familiar with the rural hamlet about 45 minutes east of Bakersfield — she’d visited her husband at work there with the kids several times.
On Robert’s final day, he ate a tuna melt for lunch from the Apple Shed and ate it in his work truck. Limon was heading to visit her mother, who had broken her hip recently. She texted Robert around 5 p.m., but didn’t get a response. She called, but he didn’t answer.
That was normal, she said. He would get busy at work, so she wasn’t alarmed when it seemed like he would be coming home late.
But then she called again at 8 p.m. Her kids were going to bed and getting worried.
“I kept calling and calling him and calling him,” Limon said. “After 8 p.m. — that’s the time he’d get home — after that time, I wasn’t freaked out, I was just like, what’s the story going to be?”
Then, Meyer asked Limon if she had an open relationship, or had ever engaged in an affair. She shook her head and answered no both times.
“I just heard some rumors that little town was a little crazy sometimes,” Meyer said, referencing Robert’s hometown of Prescott, Ariz.
“I know how rumors go,” Limon said, adding that she would head to Arizona with a group of friends, and that’s how the rumors probably started.
“I think they typically call it swinging,” Meyer said, trying to draw information out of Limon.
“I’d say, ‘let’s give them something to talk about,’” Limon said. “But my attitude sure has changed a lot.”
Limon met with Hearn after that interview. The interview wasn’t too inquisitive. Hearn felt good that he wasn’t the target of the investigation, he testified.
“We agreed maybe some of our paranoia leading up to that period of time was just that. Maybe we were safe,” Hearn said. “I seem to remember that evening having a generally – I don’t want to say ‘celebratory’ mood – but a feeling of relief.”
This story was updated Sept. 20 to reflect the correct Robert Randall Meyer's name.
Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce