Skip to content
The alleged ‘pillowcase rapist’ is charged with a series of sexual assaults in Florida in the 1980s



CNN

Aided by advances in DNA technology, Florida authorities said they have identified and charged the so-called pillowcase rapist accused of sexually assaulting multiple women in the 1980s.

Robert Koehler, 62, is charged in six sexual assault cases that investigators say were conducted with “diabolical precision,” according to a press release from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO).

“Detectives from BSO’s Cold Case Unit worked with prosecutors from the Broward State’s Attorney’s Office to bring charges against Koehler in a total of six sexual assault cases,” BSO said, although that he did not detail the specific charges he faces.

“On at least eight occasions in 1984 and 1985, detectives believe Koehler broke into Broward County homes late at night or in the early hours of the morning through unlocked doors and attacked his victims while they were sleeping or getting ready to go to bed,” the statement said. .

The suspect allegedly covered his victims’ heads or his own, sometimes with pillowcases, and threatened to kill the women or their families before assaulting and robbing them, the statement said.

Koehler is already in custody in neighboring Miami-Dade County on separate charges of sexual assault related to a 1983 rape, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He was arrested on those charges in January 2020, CNN previously reported. After the Miami-Dade case goes to trial, Koehler will be brought to Broward County to face the additional charges, BSO said.

CNN has reached out to Koehler’s public defender in the Miami-Dade case for comment.

Shortly after his 2020 arrest, the Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s Office announced that the DNA analysis used to charge him in the 1983 assault also matched DNA samples collected during several other assaults allegedly committed by the pillowcase rapist.

For decades, assaults allegedly linked to the pillowcase rapist have gone cold as investigators hit dead ends with no meaningful leads, Cold Case Unit Sergeant Kami Floyd said in a released video by BSO.

In 2019, Floyd began sifting through thousands of sexual assault cases from the 1980s and narrowed down a handful of alleged pillowcase rapists.

“At the time (of the assaults), all we had was the blood type,” Floyd said in the video. “Thanks to this new technology we have, we were able to retest the specimens and obtain a full DNA profile of our suspect.”

After Koehler was arrested in Miami-Dade County, Broward County investigators obtained a new DNA sample from him that matched original specimens from several of the alleged pillowcase rapist cases, said Floyd.

“Based on the DNA that we were able to extract from our evidence, with 100% certainty, Robert Koehler’s DNA matches the DNA of each of our victims,” ​​Floyd said. “Each of these women, I can’t imagine what they went through initially. But having to relive that many years later, I am amazed at their ability to remember, at their ability to talk about it freely and in such detail.

DNA analysis also led investigators to Koehler in the Miami-Dade case for which he is currently being held.

A “key breakthrough” came after Koehler’s son was arrested in an unrelated case, CNN previously reported. Her son’s DNA was similar enough to that of the pillowcase rapist that investigators believe the unknown assailant was his father. After arresting Koehler in 2020, police obtained a search warrant that allowed them to obtain a DNA sample from him to confirm the match, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine said at the time. Fernandez Rundle.

Broward County officials believe there may be more victims unknown to law enforcement and have encouraged anyone with information to contact the BSO Cold Case Unit or the Broward Crime Stoppers Hotline.

“Based on the number of similar cases that occurred in South Florida in the 1980s and the gaps in reported attacks, detectives and victims believe there may be more victims of the ‘pillowcase rapist’. pillow “who haven’t come forward yet,” BSO’s video said. .


cnn

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.