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Police believe train death was suicide

Alissa Widman Neese • Jan 13, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Robyn Hodgkinson, 45, of Huron died at about 10:20 p.m. Saturday after apparently walking in front of the train near the Rye Beach Road crossing, Huron police Chief Bob Lippert said Sunday.

While investigating, all evidence led police to believe the act was a suicide, Lippert said.

“Every indication is this was an intentional act, and no other person was involved” he said.

Hodgkinson’s car was parked in the grass near the tracks, which are located near BGSU Firelands.

Nicole Rodriguez, of Sandusky, a close friend of Hodgkinson, said she will remember her as a genuine, loving person who always put others before herself.

The pair met 25 years ago while working at the Food Town deli as young girls, and Hodgkinson was a bridesmaid in Rodriguez’s wedding. They hit it off because both enjoyed artistic projects, which they’d often make at each other’s homes.

“Those were the days when you made your own door spread instead of going out to K&K to buy one,” Rodriguez recalled Sunday. “We’d hang out and laugh, and always get through the rough days together”

Although they drifted apart a bit in the past few years, they reconnected in recent months.

Hodgkinson had obtained a biology degree from BGSU Firelands and was working for a dermatologist, Rodriguez said.

They’d been talking daily recently, as Hodgkinson and her husband had recently separated, and she was experiencing depression.

“She was doing so much better this past week and seemed so optimistic, so it still doesn’t seem real right now,” Rodriguez said. “She took a trip to Myrtle Beach over Christmas, because she loved the warm weather, and said she felt like she was finding herself again. I thought we almost had the real Robyn back”

Hodgkinson did not have any children, but loved her three stepchildren as her own, she said. Her mother died of cancer when she was young.

But no matter what sadness she felt, Hodgkinson always put her stepchildren and others before herself, Rodriguez said.

“She always wanted to fix everyone else’s hurt, even though she was hurting,” she said. “She always wanted to hear your problem first and she had a smile for everybody. She was a genuine person”

On Saturday, after police released Hodgkinson’s name, many individuals on the Register’s website and Facebook page expressed sympathy for Hodgkinson’s family and friends.

“So saddened by her death, really thought she was on the upside of things,” Julie-Josh Hoch said on Facebook. “Rest in peace Robyn, you are loved!”

Huron police and firefighters and Erie County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the train crossing Saturday, where the train blocked traffic for about half an hour.

The Erie County coroner transported Hodgkinson’s body from the scene and will provide the final ruling of Hodgkinson’s death at a later date, Lippert said.

Local, national hotlines offer help

Hodgkinson’s death is the second train-pedestrian suicide the local community has endured in two months.

On Nov. 10, Ryan Boldman, 26, also of Huron, walked in front of a moving train near a crossing on Berlin Road. She was the mother of two young children and had made suicidal statements earlier that day, Huron police said.


If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.


The local Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services mental health hotline is 1-800-826-1306.

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