Shirley Gibbs Russell
Missing since March 4, 1989 from Quantico, Virginia
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
On March 4, 1989, Shirley Gibbs Russell, a captain in the United States Marine Corps, disappeared from her married officers' quarters on the Quantico, Virginia, military base. Her husband, Robert Peter Russell, was subsequently charged with her murder.
Shirley had separated from her husband just a few weeks earlier, after having been married for about a year and a half. Though Robert Russell was living off base and Shirley Russell had moved to the Quantico bachelor quarters, they returned the weekend of March 4th to the apartment they had shared on base to finish cleaning it out, according to law enforcement officials.
The Government's case against Russell comprised only circumstantial evidence. Neither the victim's body nor a murder weapon was ever recovered, and there were no witnesses to the crime. The Government's theory was that Russell, a former Marine Corps officer who had recently been discharged for disciplinary reasons, shot his wife behind the ear with a .25 caliber pistol while the two were in a storage shed adjacent to their quarters, and then dumped her body into a mine shaft in Pennsylvania. The jury apparently accepted this theory; it returned a guilty verdict on May 3, 1991. Russell was sentenced to life imprisonment on August 2, 1991.
Gibbs' credit card, savings, and checking accounts have all been inactive since her disappearance, and the property that she placed in storage has remained undisturbed. Exhaustive searches for Gibbs' body in Quantico, Virginia, and St. Clair, Pennsylvania, have been unsuccessful. Her drivers license and passport are also missing.
Investigators Naval Criminal Investigative Service Headquarters, Washington, DC
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Naval Criminal Investigative Service Headquarters, Washington, DC
Agency Case Number: 93-0003
The Washington Post
Robert Peter Russell
Court Opinions and Actions Taken
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