Miami-Dade

Suspected ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ Booked Into Miami-Dade Jail, Makes First Court Appearance

Robert Koehler, 60, charged with two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon, jail records show

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A man who police believe may be the infamous "Pillowcase Rapist" responsible for attacking dozens of women in South Florida in the 1980s has been brought back to Miami.

Robert Koehler, 60, was booked into the Miami-Dade jail Wednesday on two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon causing serious injury, records show. He was being held without bond.

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Koehler made a brief appearance in Miami-Dade bond court Thursday morning, where he was appointed a public defender. The hearing was re-scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office had also scheduled a Thursday afternoon news conference to discuss the case.

Police believe Koehler, who was taken into custody over the weekend near his home in Palm Bay, is responsible for attacking at least 44 women in Miami-Dade and Broward between 1981 and 1986, according to an arrest warrant. The suspect earned the "Pillowcase Rapist" name after he became known for covering his face and the faces of those he attacked with towels, shirts and pillowcases, the warrant said.

According to detectives, the break in the case came when Koehler's son was arrested on drug charges last year. A DNA test conducted by police during the son's arrest matched the same DNA found at a crime scene and within the rape kit for one of the Miami victims, the warrant said.

The match led to police following Koehler over a single day and collecting DNA swabs from objects he had touched, according to the warrant. The warrant said Koehler was living in Miami-Dade in the early 1980s.

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The warrant details a 1983 case in which a 25-year-old woman was confronted inside her home by a suspect, who was armed with a sharp object, possibly an ice pick, who put his hand over her mouth and pushed her to the floor before stabbing her in the abdomen. The victim was forced to cover her face with a blanket before the suspect raped her, the warrant said.

During an appearance Tuesday before a judge in Brevard County, Koehler said "I'm not guilty." Attorney information wasn't available.

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