BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Palm Bay man who has been linked to the Pillowcase Rapist kept a room excavated under his house where he kept several safes containing women’s possessions, according to investigators
Robert Koehler, 60, has been linked to DNA samples matching as many as 25 sexual assault cases from as early as the 1980s, the Miami-Dade state attorney announced during a news conference Thursday.
The Pillowcase Rapist is accused of sexually assaulting more than 40 women from South Miami to Deerfield Beach in the 1980s. His name came from allegedly using a pillowcase, towel or shirt to hide his face when he broke into victims’ homes and raped them at knifepoint. Victims also told investigators that he blindfolded them.
“Koehler is the source of that male DNA that was found in so many of these Pillowcase Rapist cases,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez said.
Koehler was arrested in Palm Bay over the weekend on charges of sexual battery with a deadly weapon from a single 1983 rape case in Miami-Dade County. On Thursday, he was extradited to Miami.
Detectives tracked down the suspected serial rapist using new DNA evidence from his son, who was arrested in an unrelated case. Detectives followed Koehler and swabbed samples off grocery carts and door handles, Fernandez said.
While searching Koehler’s Palm Bay home, investigators found what they called a “dungeon in progress” that was a room excavated under his house. Inside his home, they found safes that contained several items of women’s jewelry, and “things that looked like trinkets,” prosecutor Laura Adams said.
“Possible souvenirs, if you will, of his prior offenses,” Adams said.
A metal nail file was also found wrapped in protective covering.
Officials urge any other victims of Koehler to call 305-547-0441.
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