MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that DNA evidence has linked the suspected “pillowcase rapist” to at least 25 cases.
Robert Koehler, 60, appeared in court Thursday morning where his attorney asked for more time to go over a warrant.
Later in the day, Koehler faced a judge a second time where he was denied bond.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle said they took a DNA swab from Koehler while he was in jail Wednesday.
It was sent straight to the crime lab, where technicians worked through the night.
They said his DNA was an exact match to at least 25 rape cases.
“He terrorized, literally terrorized, women from South Florida throughout Florida,” Fernandez Rundle said. “He assaulted them from South Miami all the way up to Deerfield Beach.”
Authorities said he used a pillowcase, a towel or a shirt to conceal his identity when he assaulted more than 40 women between 1981 and 1986 at their homes across South Florida.
Now, more than 30 years later, detectives are tying him to the crimes by using his own son’s DNA.
“A key break in this case came when Koehler’s son was arrested last year and his DNA provided a close familial match for the unknown rapist,” said Fernandez Rundle.
Police said DNA from a rape kit from one of the cases matched his son’s DNA.
Although the 60-year-old Palm Bay resident was a convicted sex offender, the state attorney said his crime was committed before there was mandatory collection of DNA from felony criminals.
The state attorney said detectives followed Koehler for months at grocery stores and on daily errands, taking samples from everything and anything he touched.
In addition to the DNA, detectives said when they went to Koehler’s home they found a safe containing jewelry that belonged to his victims.
“We feel confident that there are a number of efficient cases we can prosecute and we want to reassure that this offender will never ever be freed again,” said Fernandez Rundle.
If you believe you were a victim of Koehler, call (305) 547-0441.