Superior DNA expertise helped South Florida chilly case investigators hyperlink a person often known as the “pillowcase rapist” to a string of sexual assaults stemming again to the Eighties.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Workplace introduced Tuesday that Robert Kohler, 62, had been tied to 6 rapes after its chilly case unit, shaped in 2019 to deal with about 350 circumstances with dead-end leads, was in a position to hyperlink the crimes utilizing DNA.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony stated Koehler, who has been incarcerated in Miami-Dade County since January 2020 on fees of sexual battery towards one girl within the early Eighties, could have dedicated between 40 and 45 rapes within the better Miami space.
Koehler is accused of breaking into the houses of girls at evening or early within the morning as they both ready for mattress or slept, usually along with his face lined by a pillowcase or different material and carrying a pointy weapon, in line with Broward authorities.
Authorities stated he would threaten victims and their households in the event that they stated something or screamed. He usually would tie their palms and or their toes in the course of the assaults, stated cold-case Sgt. Kami Floyd. The suspect would then steal from the condominium earlier than making his getaway, authorities stated.
The Broward Sheriff’s Workplace believes Koehler struck at the very least eight occasions between 1984 and 1985, in line with a information launch.
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Whereas the circumstances garnered intensive media protection within the Eighties, even inflicting officers to launch a brand new South Florida legislation enforcement job pressure to research them, the path went chilly within the Nineties.
The blood-typing expertise accessible on the time was not sufficient to resolve the crimes, Floyd defined.
“The duty pressure that was put collectively … had no new data coming ahead. There have been no new circumstances, no witnesses, no victims and no person who might present something,” stated Floyd, who led the workforce that cracked the chilly circumstances.
She helped launch an initiative in 2019 to reexamine the division’s sexual battery circumstances over time and take a look at all of its sexual assault kits, she stated in a video interview launched by Broward County Sheriff’s Workplace.
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Floyd, who’s labored with the sheriff’s workplace about 9 years, stated she ran throughout a newspaper article mentioning the “pillowcase rapist” and 40 to 45 unsolved circumstances in Broward and Miami-Dade counties in the course of the Eighties and it piqued her curiosity.
With no dates and no sufferer names, Floyd stated she had little or no to work with. It took months of investigators digging by means of 500 bins of proof, every containing a whole lot of circumstances. Then she discovered a match: A lady who was assaulted in her Pompano Seashore condominium in June 1984. Quickly, she had a listing of circumstances and victims.
“I fortunately did find one which matched,” Floyd stated of the primary case. “With the assistance of our crime lab, (I positioned) in a freezer some specimens that belonged to different victims that had a listing of (eight) names that we believed to be associated to the ‘pillowcase rapist,’” Floyd stated.
Developments in DNA expertise allowed the lab to retest the specimens and kind a full DNA profile of the suspect, Floyd stated.
Across the time her workforce started testing, Miami-Dade authorities introduced the arrest of Koehler in early 2020.
In keeping with an arrest warrant, investigators obtained their breakthrough after they obtained a DNA pattern from Koehler’s son following an unrelated arrest. That pattern was then linked to an assault in 1983, main detectives to Brevard County the place they adopted Koehler to acquire DNA samples from objects he touched.
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“At that time, since we knew we had an identifiable particular person, we have been in a position to write a search warrant and acquire one other swab from Robert Koehler that matched our DNA kind that we have been in a position to pull from our specimens within the freezer,” Floyd stated.
It was a match, she stated.
Broward County’s chilly case unit detectives labored with Broward State Lawyer’s Workplace prosecutors to cost Koehler in six sexual assault circumstances, in line with the sheriff’s workplace.
“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 stated.
It was heartbreaking in lots of circumstances, she added, as a result of some ladies had not even instructed their households what had occurred to them. She stated a number of the victims instructed her they would wish to speak it over with their households earlier than discussing it together with her.
“However after they did resolve to come back again and have been courageous sufficient to debate it with me, I used to be very happy with them,” she stated.
Their tales have been all related. They lived alone. They have been assaulted at evening, and the attacker apparently knew their habits, together with in some circumstances the format of their flats.
Now, these victims are very relieved to know the person who attacked them could also be dropped at justice, she stated.
“A number of of them have commented that they hope extra ladies will come ahead,” Floyd stated.
Floyd defined there are such a lot of sexual assault circumstances within the chilly case information, many from a time earlier than data have been computerized, making it tough to match them.
“For individuals who haven’t come ahead but, this may deliver you some closure,” she stated.
Contributing: The Related Press
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: DNA hyperlinks man to South Florida ‘pillowcase rapist’ circumstances: cops
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