The situation of Robert Ben Rhoades serves as an great example of the style and mother nature of situation to which VICAP’s providers would present crucial support and help. Rhoades is deemed 1 of the most dangerous and notorious serial intercourse offenders and killers in the United States. Some investigators feel that he is accountable for at least fifty, but probably hundreds, of fatalities. However, he has only been convicted of 1 homicide, for which he is serving a daily life sentence.

Rhoades was a professional lengthy-haul truck driver, and his situation substantially demonstrates the sophistication of a prison predator who can successfully defy legislation enforcement by taking advantage of fragmented legislation enforcement initiatives, disconnected and detached knowledge means, and inconsistent investigative approaches.

On April 1, 1990, Trooper Mike Miller, an Arizona highway patrolman, observed a semi-tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder of I-10. As Miller approached the automobile to present support, he appeared inside the 18-wheeler and observed a certain, nude, white woman in the sleeper berth of the taxi. A horse-style bit and bridle was in the mouth of the terrified victim, who was chained to the inside of the truck. Also in the sleeper berth was Robert Ben Rhoades, who, when amazed by the trooper’s progress, right away exited the truck and experimented with to convince Miller that almost nothing was improper. Rhoades said that the gatherings becoming found out ended up consensual and a private matter.

When Miller experimented with to type via the circumstance, he positioned Rhoades less than arrest, at which time he found out Rhoades was in possession of a loaded .25 Caliber automated pistol (Brandel, 1966). Rhoades was positioned in the trooper’s automobile and secured with a seat belt. By the time Miller experienced checked on the victim and returned to the squad auto, Rhoades experienced managed to get the seat belt off and slip his handcuffed fingers in front of him. Miller questioned Rhoades if he experienced a handcuff essential, to which Rhoades affirmatively replied. Miller took the essential, re-cuffed Rhoades driving his back and via his belt, and stayed with him till backup officers arrived at the scene to help.

Following the terrified victim (later on recognized as Lisa Pennal) was unveiled, she recounted her story of abduction and torture. She said that she experienced acknowledged a trip with Rhoades at a espresso store in Buckeye, Arizona. While Pennal was tough to job interview and spoke in fractured sentences, the investigators learned of her transient lifestyle and existing drug abuse. The investigator observed that though she was dressed in a skirt and shirt, on her toes she wore only slippers built like a cartoon tiger.

The victim indicated that she experienced fallen asleep in the sleeper berth, only to awake as Rhoades was putting handcuffs on her wrists and ankles. She said that Rhoades conquer her with a whip, connected a chain about her neck, and connected spring-style clips to her nipples and vagina. It was unclear how lengthy Rhoades experienced stored Lisa Pennal in this torture chamber, but the actual physical accidents on her entire body indicated that various gatherings of whipping and torture happened. During this ordeal, Rhoades instructed Pennal that he experienced been accomplishing this to ladies and girls for fifteen years.

Even though Rhoades was handcuffed and in custody, he remained serene. He produced gentle of the mental capacity of the victim and experimented with to get the investigator to sympathize with him as he described her as the aggressor in the event, referring to her as a “good deal lizard.” Alva Busch rates Rhoades in the guide Roadside Prey: “‘I can tell you, this female is not enjoying with a total deck,’ laughed Rhoades, as if another person experienced instructed a joke . . ‘She ain’t wrapped way too limited,’ chuckled Rhoades, ‘you will not screw about with the girls on the road. Not except if you want your dick to fall off, ok? . . . She desired to go to mattress. . . . I was dragging anchor. She was heading back to mattress.’ I said, ‘Go ahead.’ She begun taking off her clothes, and I said, ‘What the $%^& and I allow her'” (1996, pp. 58–62).

The victim, who was hysterical at instances, confirmed proof of sustained actual physical and sexual abuse, corroborating her story of captivation. Rhoades’ rationalization began to fall aside as investigators found out big amounts of bondage-style pornography and sexual assault products in his truck. Rhoades’ account was not supported by the clues.

During the subsequent investigation, look for warrants ended up executed on the taxi of the semi-tractor truck and on Robert Ben Rhoades’ residence in Houston, Texas. The success of the lookups revealed a briefcase that contains whips, handcuffs, spring-style clips, a dildo, different objects of women’s clothing, miscellaneous paperwork, and various images of a younger white woman in different poses, both of those nude and partly dressed.

There ended up Polaroid images of various girls inside “open-roofed” vehicles, evidently taken from inside the trucker’s taxi as the girls handed him on the highway. These images ended up seized from Rhoades’ Houston condominium. There ended up also images of 1 particular victim (a teenage female) in the sleeper berth of the trucker’s taxi, in the outdoor, and in an deserted barn-style structure. In this particular set of images, the victim was handcuffed, chained, and posing with a dildo and experienced the spring-style clips connected to her nipples.

The teen in the images remained unidentified as far as the Robert Ben Rhoades situation was involved. Then, on September 29, 1990, the decomposed entire body of a younger woman was uncovered in an deserted barn close to Greenville, Illinois. The lead to of dying was determined to be ligature strangulation. The victim was later on recognized as 14-12 months-previous Regina Walters. Walters was reported as a runaway from Pasadena, Texas, approximately 8 months right before her remains ended up found out. At the time of the first missing persons report, Walters experienced been in the organization of an 18-12 months-previous white male named Ricky Lee Jones. The two ended up reportedly hitchhiking to New Mexico. Ricky Lee Jones has not been situated as of this producing.

Interestingly, the investigators operating on the Rhoades situation and the investigators operating the Walters situation in Texas and Illinois ended up just about every operating independently of 1 yet another. Ultimately, via teletype and countrywide databases, they begun operating together.

Tragically, Robert Ben Rhoades would stay a “solitary episode” till September 28, 1991, when he would be tied to the dying of Regina Kay Walters. There ended up no pics of Ricky Lee Jones in Rhoades’ selection, but there was a journal entry in a smaller notebook uncovered in Rhoades’ possession at the time of his arrest that states, “Ricky is a dead guy” (Evidence, 1990). Law enforcement also recovered various objects of clothing that belonged to Walters in the possession of Robert Ben Rhoades (1990).

Reflecting on the remark Rhoades experienced produced that he experienced been “accomplishing this for fifteen years,” investigators appeared much more intently into his trucking documents. They found out that the murderous trucker experienced traveled extensively from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the East Coast of New Jersey. He specially traveled via Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Ga, and Florida (Evidence, 1990).

All of a sudden, the several missing persons, unidentified bodies, and unsolved homicide instances in just about every of these states took on new this means. Law enforcement businesses began to share facts about related crimes and victims much more generously than at any time right before the incident. Given that the Rhoades situation broke, there have been several missing persons and unsolved homicide instances that have been attributed to Rhoades, but he has only been prosecuted for the dying of Regina Walters.

This “solitary episode,” when not neglected, joined the substantial caseload of Detective Susan Trammell, getting significantly less investigative attention as sales opportunities cooled and time handed. During this exact same interval of time, Rhoades continued to vacation from 1 state to yet another. As the Rhoades saga progressed, facts was found out about yet another victim named Shana Holts, from January of 1990, who came into get hold of with Rhoades at a truck halt in San Bernardino, California.

Shana Holts escaped Rhoades’ torture and reported the terrifying incident, mirroring the gatherings that Trooper Miller uncovered. Holts was so terrified of Rhoades that when she was faced with the prospect of determining him soon after fleeing his automobile, and then of acquiring to testify in opposition to him, she declined to cooperate any further more and the situation was dismissed.

Other related scenarios ended up found out as time went on. Law enforcement businesses in several distinct elements of the United States experienced prison abductions and attainable homicide charges in opposition to Rhoades centered on comparisons and vacation routes. In just about every of these incidents, the person businesses at first thought they ended up working with a solitary event, pertaining only to their jurisdiction. It was not till the closing chapter of the Rhoades saga was published that just about every company came to comprehend that its “solitary event” was the function of a sadistic serial rapist and assassin.

The Rhoades situation has aided legislation enforcement businesses across the United States to see, in graphic element, the benefit of cooperating, communicating, and coordinating their initiatives in fixing tough prison instances. If better facts sharing and coordination experienced happened, it might have substantially diminished the selection of victims who fell prey to Robert Ben Rhoades (Cooper & King, 2001).

This situation is reviewed in much more remarkable element in the just lately posted guide Predators: Who They Are and How to Prevent Them (Cooper, King, & McHoes, 2007). Additionally, it is cited as a situation methodology reference in the next version of Analyzing Felony Actions II (Cooper & King, 2001). Another extensive evaluation of the situation is presented in the true criminal offense novel Roadside Prey (Busch, 1996).


Cooper, G. M, King, M. R., & McHoes, T. (2007). Predators: Who they are and how to halt them. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.

Cooper, G. M. & King, M. R. (2001). Analyzing prison conduct and victimology: Predators. Odgen, UT: IQ Structure: Institute of Investigative Science.

Busch, A. (1996). Roadside prey. New York: Pinnacle Books.

The People today of the Condition of Illinois v. Robert Ben Rhoades, No. 5-98-0821, (fifth District Appellate Courtroom of Illinois. July 13, 2001). n

THE FORENSIC EXAMINER Winter season 2007

In the final challenge, Greg Cooper wrote about the Violent Felony Apprehension Plan (VICAP), explaining its intent and mission. In this challenge, he provides a situation analyze exemplifying how VICAP can aid solve crimes.

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s Mugshot of Robert Ben Rhoades

(800) 423-9737 Winter season 2007 THE FORENSIC EXAMINER

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States in which Rhoades was a suspect in killings

Arizona: The only state in which Rhoades was convicted

The Rhoades situation has

aided legislation enforcement

businesses across the

United States to see, in

graphic element, the benefit of

cooperating, communicating,

and coordinating their

initiatives in fixing

tough prison instances.”

In March of 1991, the Illinois Condition Law enforcement acquired this letter from Regina Walters’ mother:

Dear Sir:

In September 1990, the law enforcement in Illinois uncovered the remains of Regina Kay Walters. She disappeared February 3, 1990, from Pasadena, Texas. She was only fourteen years previous at the time, and my only daughter. At this time the law enforcement have not yet brought to justice the particular person who has done this to my baby. Even though we did not dwell in Illinois, this situation need to continue to be stored open. No child’s dying need to be supplied up. It could take place again.

At that time, the law enforcement in Illinois questioned us to keep this out of the media. We have done that and much more. Just because you haven’t read from us doesn’t signify we will not care. We ended up hoping to give you time to locate Regina’s killer. You should will not give up. What if it was 1 of your children? You couldn’t rest, figuring out there is another person out there who took another person you beloved, and will not at any time imagine we did not adore Regina, because she was really much beloved. So please will not stop seeking for the killer of Regina Kay Walters.


Carolyn S. Walters

(Busch, 1996, pp. 137–138)

About the Creator

ISBN 978-1-59102-506-1

THE FORENSIC EXAMINER Winter season 2007

Greg Cooper, MPA, FBI (retired), Main of Law enforcement (retired), begun his prison profiling vocation in 1986 with the FBI, Seattle Division. Just a couple of years later on, he was promoted to subject coordinator for the Felony Profiling Device at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, and then in Los Angeles, CA. In 1990 he was promoted to profiler with the Quantico device, where by he taught various courses at the FBI’s prestigious Countrywide Academy and supervised VICAP. In 1995, Cooper grew to become the main of law enforcement in Provo. At the moment, he enjoys instructing courses and serving as an expert witness.

(800) 423-9737 Winter season 2007 THE FORENSIC EXAMINER – posted by Robert L. O’Block

Source by The American School of Forensic Examiners