Fla. Police Use DNA to ID Man Behind Bars as 1980s 'Pillowcase Rapist'

June 8, 2022
Broward County sheriff's investigators linked a 62-year-old man to sexual assaults in the '80s in which he allegedly covered his sleeping victims with a pillowcase before raping them.

By Kate Feldman

Source New York Daily News

The so-called “Pillowcase Rapist,” who terrorized South Florida in the 1980s and may have sexually assaulted dozens of victims, has been identified as a 62-year-old man already behind bars, according to police.

Robert Koehler, who was arrested in 2020 on armed sexual battery charges tied to a 1983 rape, has been tied to six sexual assaults in Broward County, the sheriff’s office announced Tuesday.

“Koehler carried out his attacks with diabolical precision,” officials said in a statement.

Police linked Koehler to at least eight assaults in 1984 and 1985 alone, during which he allegedly snuck into homes through unlocked doors and attacked his sleeping victims, covering theirs or his head with pillowcases and threatening to kill them or their family members, then raping them.

Despite the national attention, the case went cold until 2019 when Cold Case Unit Sgt. Kami Floyd began digging into the archives.

“At the time (of the assaults), all we had was blood typing,” Floyd said in a video shared by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday. “With this new technology that we have, we were able to retest the specimens and get a full DNA profile of our suspect.”

After Koehler’s 2020 arrest, investigators did a DNA swab and matched it to the evidence left behind by the Pillowcase Rapist.

“From the DNA that we were able to pull from our evidence, with 100 percent certainty Robert Koehler’s DNA matches the DNA from every one of our victims,” Floyd said.

“Every single one of these women, I can’t imagine what they went through in the initial instance. But having to relive it this many years later, I’m amazed at their ability to recall, their ability to speak freely about it and so detailed.”

Several of Koehler’s alleged victims also shared their stories, eerily similar retellings of being home alone and attacked by someone who seemingly knew their patterns and, in some cases, the layout of their houses.

“He didn’t kill me,” one victim said. “But he did kill me.”

Police have urged any other potential victims to contact BSO Cold Case Unit Sergeant Brian Tutler at 954-321-4200 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or browardcrimestoppers.org.

Koehler is still awaiting trial in Miami-Dade County for his 2020 arrest. Once that is completed, he will be brought to Broward County to face the six assault charges, officials said.


©2022 New York Daily News.

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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