How 29-Year-Old's Arrest Led to Alleged 'Pillowcase Rapist'

Authorities believe Robert Eugene Koehler was building a 'dungeon' under his Florida home
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2020 9:05 AM CST
How 29-Year-Old's Arrest Led to Alleged 'Pillowcase Rapist'
Robert Eugene Koehler.   (Florida Department of Law Enforcement, via CNN)

More details are trickling out on a Florida man police believe raped more than 40 women in the Miami area over a five-year stretch in the '80s. In a Thursday presser, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said the DNA of registered sex offender Robert Eugene Koehler has been linked to at least 24 sexual assaults believed to have been carried out by the "Pillowcase Rapist." Per CNN, when investigators searched the 60-year-old's home, they made a disturbing find underneath: a dug-out area they think Koehler was prepping to be a "dungeon," according to Miami-Dade County prosecutor Laura Adams. "We feared very much that if we had not gotten him into custody that he may have had other plans even worse than what he executed on all of these women," Adams said.

She added that investigators also found safes at the home, one of which housed jewelry and other items that authorities suspect may have been mementos from his alleged attacks. The Washington Post reports the big break in the case came when Koehler's 29-year-old son was recently arrested for domestic violence; the DNA authorities collected from him closely matched the Pillowcase Rapist's, so investigators started focusing on the elder Koehler. They obtained his DNA by tailing him to a public area then swabbing objects he'd touched. "This familial contact was ... just what we needed to be able to piece this all together," Rundle said, per the New York Times. Koehler has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual battery related to a 1983 attack on a 25-year-old woman. He's being held without bond in Miami-Dade County. (More serial rapists stories.)

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