MIAMI (KCPQ) -- A Florida man arrested last weekend is a suspect known as the "Pillowcase Rapist," thought to be responsible for a string of notorious South Florida assaults that took place in the 1980s, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Robert Eugene Koehler was arrested in Palm Bay, Florida, after new DNA analysis allegedly tied him to a rape in Miami in December 1983, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court documents show.
That DNA also matched samples from cases between 1981 to 1986 left by a suspect who became known as the Pillowcase Rapist, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a news conference.
The assailant in those cases is believed to have attacked more than 40 women in metropolitan Miami, often concealing his face with a pillowcase, shirt or towel.
In all, authorities have linked Koehler to at least 25 cases, Fernandez Rundle said.
Investigators searched Koehler’s home and found an excavated area underneath the house where they believe Koehler was building a "dungeon,” Miami-Dade County Prosecutor Laura Adams said.
Several safes were found, one of which contained jewelry and other items authorities believe could be souvenirs from his victims, Adams said. They also located a metal nail file wrapped in protective covering that Adams said could have been used as a weapon in many of the Pillowcase Rapist cases.
The Miami Herald first reported earlier this week that authorities believe Koehler was the Pillowcase Rapist.
The “key breakthrough” came when Koehler’s son was recently arrested in an unrelated domestic violence case, Fernandez Rundle said. His DNA was similar enough to the Pillowcase Rapist’s that investigators believed the unknown assailant was his father.
So far, Koehler faces two two felony counts of armed sexual battery in the 1983 case. He pleaded not guilty in an initial court appearance Tuesday in Brevard County. He was then moved to Miami-Dade County, where a judge ordered him held without bond in a hearing Friday.