August 19, 2022
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DNA technology connects man to Florida serial rapes


MIAMI (AP) — Superior DNA expertise helped detectives hyperlink the instances of six ladies to a person accused of being the “pillowcase rapist” for a string of rapes again within the Eighties.

Robert Koehler is presently jailed in neighboring Miami-Dade County, the place he faces fees for assaulting a lady within the early ’80s as effectively, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony mentioned in a Tuesday morning information convention.

Authorities consider Koehler, 62, might have dedicated 40 to 45 rapes, terrifying victims by breaking into their properties at evening, the sheriff mentioned. The assailant used a pillowcase or different material to cowl his face — or the face of his victims — earlier than assaulting them, tying them up and stealing gadgets from their properties.

The assaults by the pillowcase rapists attracted in depth media consideration in South Florida and the creation of a activity pressure to research the intercourse crimes, sheriff’s officers mentioned.

However the path ultimately turned chilly and the instances ended up within the chilly case unit. Nevertheless, sheriff’s officers mentioned the meticulous record-keeping on the unique instances offered detectives the power to check the proof many years later.

They dug by means of 500 bins of proof and 1000’s of sexual assault instances to hyperlink the instances to Koehler, mentioned Sgt. Kami Floyd.

Floyd started wanting by means of the information in 2019 and located the case of a lady who was assaulted in her Pompano Seaside house in June 1984. That led her to a number of different related crimes in Broward County.

“It was a hunch,” Floyd mentioned linking the primary case she discovered to Koehler. “It was a hunch primarily based particularly on this case, that he used a pillowcase to cowl his face, and at no level was she capable of establish who he was as a result of she didn’t know what he regarded like.”

Across the similar time, in 2020, prosecutors in Miami-Dade County introduced Koehler’s arrest and mentioned he was regarded as the “pillowcase rapist” whose knifepoint assaults put ladies throughout South Florida on edge starting in 1981.

Floyd bought a search warrant for Koehler’s DNA and testing performed by the sheriff’s workplace crime lab discovered it matched the proof within the instances she was investigating, she mentioned.

Detectives labored with prosecutors to convey six sexual assault fees in opposition to Koehler.

“When I discovered my first case, it really saddened me to have to succeed in out to that sufferer and have her relive what had occurred so a few years in the past,” Floyd mentioned.

It was heartbreaking in lots of instances, she added, as a result of some ladies had not even informed their households what had occurred to them. She mentioned among the victims informed her they would wish to speak it over with their households earlier than discussing it along with her.

“However after they did determine to come back again and had been courageous sufficient to debate it with me, I used to be very happy with them,” she mentioned.

Their tales had been all related. They lived alone. They had been assaulted at evening, and the attacker apparently knew their habits, together with in some instances the format of their residences.

Now, these victims are very relieved to know the person who attacked them could also be dropped at justice, she mentioned.

“A number of of them have commented that they hope extra ladies will come ahead,” Floyd mentioned.

Floyd defined there are such a lot of sexual assault instances within the chilly case information, many from a time earlier than data had been computerized, making it troublesome to match them.

“For individuals who have not come ahead but, this may convey you some closure,” she mentioned.

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