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BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Florida cold case detectives armed with a DNA profile and advanced technology have once again filed charges against a man they believe is responsible for up to 45 violent rapes throughout the 1980s.

Robert Eugene Koehler, 62, of Palm Bay, has been tied to six Broward County rape cases in 1984 and 1985, but authorities believe many more as-yet-unidentified victims are out there. Koehler is being held in the Miami-Dade County Jail awaiting resolution of a 1983 sexual assault case there.

“The investigation shows that Koehler carried out his attacks with diabolical precision,” Broward County Sheriff’s Office officials said. “On at least eight occasions in 1984 and 1985, detectives believe Koehler snuck into homes in Broward County late at night or in the wee hours of the morning through unlocked doors and attacked his victims while they slept or prepared for bed.

“He sometimes covered the heads of his victims or his own head, sometimes with pillowcases, and threatened to kill them or their family members before raping and robbing them.”

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The intruder’s method of disguise led investigators to dub him the “Pillowcase Rapist.” Koehler was first tied to the infamous cold case in January 2020 after his son was arrested in a different case.

The son’s DNA was obtained at the time of his arrest. According to court records, the genetic profile was entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.

A “hit” from the database led authorities to Koehler.

‘He didn’t kill me … but he did kill me’

One victim, identified only as Carolyn, spoke out in a video released by Broward County officials. In the footage, the woman talks about the way Koehler interacted with her after breaking into her home.

“He did say to me, ‘I’ve been following you,’” Carolyn said. “And I tried to talk to him a little bit, you know, and keep him calm. He had a knife at my throat.”

Another victim, Catherine, said her rapist went through her wallet.

“He knew where I lived. He knew my name,” she said. “I didn’t know him.”

Catherine struggled to express how her rape changed her life for good.

“He didn’t kill me … but he did kill me,” the tearful woman said.

Listen to some of the Pillowcase Rapist’s victims speak below.

After dozens of women reported remarkably similar sexual assaults, authorities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties created a task force to investigate the cases.

“Despite intensive work by detectives at the time of the attacks, the trail of the Pillowcase Rapist went cold,” authorities said in a statement.

In 2019, Sgt. Kami Floyd of Broward County’s Cold Case Unit began the arduous task of digging through thousands of sexual assault cases from the 1980s. In the stack was a June 1984 attack in Pompano Beach in which a woman was raped at knifepoint in her apartment.

Details of that sexual assault, which police officials described as “sudden, cruel and violent,” led Floyd to several other cases in Broward County that had been attributed to the then-unidentified serial rapist.

“Sgt. Floyd’s timing was serendipitous,” the police statement said. “Around the same time, prosecutors in Miami-Dade announced the arrest of Koehler for a sex crime in that county.”

Read the 2020 warrant for Robert Koehler’s arrest below.

Koheler Arrest Report by Lizandra Portal

In the Miami-Dade County case, Koehler is charged with sexual battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and burglary. At the time of his arrest, authorities said his DNA profile had linked him to as many as 25 sexual assault cases.

Investigators also found what they called a “dungeon in progress” under Koehler’s home. Several safes in the excavated room contained women’s possessions believed to belong to his victims.

“Following that arrest, Sgt. Floyd got a search warrant for Koehler’s DNA and subsequent testing done by BSO’s crime lab found that his DNA matched the evidence in BSO’s cases,” officials said.

Catherine said she was “floored” when she learned that a suspect had been identified in her case.

“I didn’t think for a second that that evidence would still be there,” she said.

>> Related story: Florida police arrest man suspected of being ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ from 1980s

The woman wiped tears with a tissue as she talked about how the nightmare she endured might have helped solve so many other women’s cases.

“I know they want to catch criminals and all that kind of stuff, but it made me feel like it was worth it, and to a degree, that my life could make a difference,” she said. “All these years of going through terrible stuff could make a difference.”

A third victim, whose image was blurred to protect her identity, said the charges against Koehler have given her a sense of closure.

“It gives me a little piece of mind,” she said. “Hey, you know, he finally got caught.”

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“He deserves to be put away and never come out,” Carolyn said. “Why should he walk around? I mean, I got over it pretty well, but I’m sure a lot of women didn’t.”

Floyd expresses sympathy for the victims.

“Every one of these women, I can’t imagine what they went through in the initial instance,” the detective said. “Having to relive it this many years later, I am amazed at their ability to recall, their ability to speak freely about it, and so detailed, and I’m proud of them.”

Anyone with information on Koehler or one of the cases attributed to the Pillowcase Rapist is asked to contact Broward County Sgt. Brian Tutler at 954-321-4200. If a caller wishes to remain anonymous, they can contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477), online at browardcrimestoppers.org, or dial **TIPS (8477) from any cellphone in the United States.