Notorious 1980’s Florida Serial Rapist Caught After 40 Years

Authorities have arrested 60-year-old Robert Eugene Koehler who was identified as the “Pillowcase Rapist” in the 1980’s. Koehler was a registered sex offender in Palm Bay, Florida. Koehler attacked around 40 women who range from age and job profession, like ages 17 to 43 and jobs including a nurse, a teacher, air flight attendant, artist, student, model and many more. Koehler would break into homes and apartments and used a pillowcase or shirt to hide his identity, he then threatened with a knife before attacking them and sometimes even stealing money. In the 1980’s Police used stakeouts, checked hundreds of leads, they even made a sculpture of the man by Tony Lopez but still no luckThe police were able to finally catch Koehler due to a DNA hit. The news of Koehler’s arrest made way towards to retired Sexual Battery Detective Dave Simmons and commented on the arrest as “tremendous.” Simmons wrote a statement to Tampa Bay Times “Thank goodness for the victims. I’d talked with most all of them over the years,” Simmons said. “They would call periodically to check on the progress of the case. It’s good for them to have closure.” “He was careful not to leave physical evidence — hence how he was able to escape detection for so long,”. Simmons also said a statement to the Miami Herald I feel as though I know him,” “He is the cleverest rapist I have ever investigated and definitely the most prolific in Dade County history. The first reported attack was in Alisian Lakes Apartments, May 1st, 1981. The second, third, and fifth attack were also in this area. A victim of the attacks wrote a statement to the Miami Herald in 1985 “I would like to see him slowly die, piece by piece,”. Detective Sgt Christine Echroll said to the Miami Herald in response to the struggle of locating Koehler “He’s not invisible,” “but he might as well be.” The police noticed a pattern from Koehler, he would at first wake up his victims at dawn by placing a pillow on them but now he assaults the women when their awake early in the morning. Simmons commented on this “He’s taking more chances,” Simmons says. “He’s becoming bolder.” The police know of Koehler covering his face with a pillowcase and covering the victims with a blanket, pillowcase, or other objects whilst telling them to not look him in the face. Simmons created a theory “I have a feeling that maybe something about his face is unusual, a scar, a physical deformity of some kind, something highly distinctive.” In March of 1986 the creation of the Pillowcase Rapist task force had up to 20 strong detectives on the case. Police Spokesperson Cmdr. William Johnson wrote to the Miami Herald At one point we had up to 1,800 leads,” “It will be interesting to see what breaks it,” With all our technology, it may eventually be some fluke that breaks the case.” As the months went on, in September there were only four full time detectives working on the case. Johnson wrote to the Miami Herald “If there should be a major break,” we would put the manpower back on it.” As the years went on, the task force disbanded in April 3, 1987 and Koehler was still out there. Simmons wrote to the Miami Herald “There are a variety of opinions of what might have become of him,” Simmons said, “ranging from whether he might be incarcerated somewhere for an unrelated crime or might have left this area entirely and gone elsewhere, or he might have sought counseling or psychiatric help for his problems.” Koehler was finally caught January 18, 2020 and is being held in Brevard County Jail to later be transferred to Miami-Dade Jail. One source has claimed Koehler is being charged with one rape but more are expected to come.  

 

 

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