Police were gathered in the backyard as well, she said. "What is going on?" Robyn demanded to know. "I was hysterical."
"They told me there was a murder-for-hire plot that Jacob had done with this man they had in custody. I was in utter shock."
Robyn recalled the encounter. "They asked me, 'do you have a security system?' 'Yes.' 'A Jaguar?' 'Yes.' 'Were you missing some money out of your checking account last month?' 'Yes.'"
Robyn said each successive question was a like a body blow.
"Do you have missing guns?"
She says she collapsed in tears, overwhelmed as one cop after another flooded into her home. They led her son away without his shoes.
"He couldn't find his shoes and there was a pair of mine sitting by the door and he was trying to get his feet into them, and I was saying, 'honey, those are my shoes.' And they took him away," she said, her voice cracking.
"They wouldn't even let me say goodbye."
"My husband wasn't home and they were taking my boy away and they were just saying, 'You have to believe this. This is real. He tried to kill you. You're in danger.' They didn't know who else Jacob may have hired to finish the job. I was just sitting there going, 'are you kidding me?'"
Since the arrest, the Parnells have not been able to talk to their son, in part because they are victims of the alleged plot and their son has apparently been restricted from contacting them. They are scheduled to meet with him at the jail today. They have contacted a defense attorney to represent their son.
Throughout an interview that lasted several hours, the Parnells never expressed doubt that their love for their son was mutual, and yet displayed few signs that they were the kind of naive parents who were more out of touch with their child than they may have realized.
"What crushed me was when the policeman I talked to said, 'did he call you?'" Richard said, referring to his son.
"And I said 'no, could he have?' And the policeman said 'yes.' That crushed me. I was a basket case. I couldn't go to work that night. I called my boss and I couldn't even put a sentence together."
But they said they later learned he had, in fact, tried to reach them.
"We haven't been able to speak to him, but he got a message to us through a family friend," Robyn said. "He said he tried to call but that both our cell phones and home phone were blocked."
"But he said 'mom and dad things are not the way they say they are.
"And I love you very much.'"