VHS tapes inside safe among items confiscated as evidence from home of accused ‘Pillowcase Rapist’
Robert Koehler, 60, charged in connection with 1 case so far
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – VHS tapes found inside a safe were among the items confiscated from the Brevard County home of a man whose DNA authorities said matched DNA evidence linked to at least 25 rapes in Miami-Dade County.
A search warrant return stated numerous other items were also taken from the Palm Bay home on Jan. 18, including dozens of floppy disks, multiple laptops, thumb drives, SD cards and a hard drive.
The document did not disclose what was found on the devices.
Prosecutors said detectives found trinkets from Robert Koehler’s victims and a metal nail file similar to the weapon his victims’ had described.
Prosecutor Laura Adams said even more concerning was that Koehler also had a “dungeon” in progress.
“He had excavated a little room underneath the floor of his house,” Adams said.
Prosecutors said officers first took DNA from Koehler’s 29-year-old son, Robert Koehler Jr., in September. The charges included a felony, so his DNA was included in an FBI database that included DNA from a 1983 rape kit in Miami-Dade County.
The DNA was the tip that would lead them to his father, a 60-year-old registered sex offender who was convicted of a 1990 rape in Palm Beach County, where at the time DNA collection was not mandatory.
Detectives followed the suspected serial rapist and collected DNA samples from a cart that he used at a grocery store and a door handle that he had touched, prosecutors said. The samples’ match to the 1983 rape kit was enough to arrest Koehler earlier this month.
Another DNA sample was taken when he was extradited to Miami-Dade County. Again, it was a match to the 1983 rape kit, authorities said.
The Pillowcase Rapist was initially suspected of 44 rapes.
Koehler is so far charged with two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon stemming from that one 1983 case, but Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said earlier this month that there will be more charges filed against him, although it will take time.
“This offender will never, ever be free again,” she said.
Terry Gonzalez-Chavez, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, told Local 10 News reporter Christina Vazquez that they have fielded numerous calls through their hotline from victims of sexual assault since Koehler’s arrest and are looking into each accusation.
The number to the hotline is 305-547-0441.
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