Suspect in ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ Attacks Is Convicted in 1983 Cold Case

Author: Yuvi January 26, 2023

Suspect in 'Pillowcase Rapist' Attacks Is Convicted in 1983 Cold Case

The conviction came decades after a series of similar sexual assaults led the police to call the unknown assailant who was terrorizing South Florida the “Pillowcase Rapist.” He used a similar tactic during his crime spree: confronting women with a sharp object and raping them while he covered their faces or his own with a cloth.

At the time, 50 investigators chased more than 1,000 leads, but there were no suspects for decades.

A key break in their investigation came in 2019, when Mr. Koehler’s son was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge, requiring him to submit a DNA sample to a criminal database. That sample gave investigators a close familial match with samples collected from the “Pillowcase Rapist” cases in the 1980s. Investigators matched the results with DNA collected from a shopping cart and door handle when they followed Mr. Koehler into a grocery store.

When investigators searched Mr. Koehler’s home, they discovered a dungeon in progress that he had been digging, the authorities said. They also found women’s jewelry and a metal nail file wrapped in a protective covering — items that investigators believed Mr. Koehler kept as souvenirs from his crimes.

Those discoveries renewed hope for prosecutors and victims who had long sought to place the perpetrator in prison. For years, the news media in South Florida had tenaciously covered the crimes and investigations. The sexual assaults and attacks had long haunted communities in Miami-Dade and surrounding counties, where frustration had mounted over the lack of an arrest.

Mr. Koehler faces charges in six cases in Broward County, said Paula McMahon, a spokeswoman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office. She said prosecutors would request that he be transferred to their jurisdiction after proceedings in Miami-Dade County are complete.

One victim in Broward County reported that she was woken up while she was in her bed just after midnight on June 23, 1984, according to court documents. “She explained that he jumped on her back, put a knife to her neck and stated ‘If you see my face, it’s all over,'” court documents said.

In another Broward County case, court documents state that Mr. Koehler moved a victim from her bed, where she had been sleeping beside her 5-year-old daughter, and attacked and sexually assaulted her.

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at

26 January, 2023, 9:30 am

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Thursday, 26th January 2023

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