[*] Robert Ben Rhoades was a truck driver who is suspected of raping and murdering over 50 women between 1975 and 1990. He had rigged a mobile torture chamber in the back of his semi and cruised the highways looking for victims. He was convicted of three of those murders and is serving life without parole in prison.
[*] Regina Kay Walters was his last victim.
[*] Rhoades may have picked his sadistic tendancies up from his father, who molested a 12-year-old girl and killed himself before he could be put on trial.
[*] Like many serial killers, Rhoades at one time tried to become a police officer. His attempt to join a law enforcement agency was never successful, however, and he became a truck driver instead.
[*] Rhoades has a son and was married three times. One of his wives confirms that he was abusive to her emotionally, verbally, physically, and sexually.
[*] His ex wife also says that Rhoades became sexually arroused by seeing her suffer, specifically when she was hospitalized for Lupus.
[*] Rhoades was really into BDSM and he involved himself and his wife in the BDSM “scene” during the 80’s, though his wife did not want to participate. His nickname during this time was “whips and chains”. There are photos:
[*] At one point Rhoades bought his wife a male “sex slave” whom she refused to see.
Robert Ben Rhoades: Known Victims
[*] Douglas Zyskowski and Candace Walsh. The couple were hitchhiking on their honeymoon when Rhoades picked them up. He killed Zyskowski immediately and kept Walsh in his truck’s built in torture chamber for a week so he could continually rape and assault her.
[*] Rhoades abducted an 18-year-old Houston woman who he tortured and raped. He cut her hair and shaved her pubic hair before she escaped. Because she believed no one (even the police) could protect her from Rhoades, she refused to identify him or cooperate with police building a case.
[*] Regina Kay Walters was a 14-year-old runaway who was traveling with her boyfriend, Ricky Lee Jones. It is believed that he killed Jones immediately while holding onto Walters for as long as possible. Police deducted this based on photos Rhoades took of Walters in which her hair grew and bruises appeared and faded.
[*] Because Rhoades’ preferred victims were hitchhikers and sex workers, it’s hard to know for sure how many victims he actually has. Crimes against people like this are very underreported both by the victims themselves and by their limited support systems as their family may not be accostumed to them checking in every day and have no idea for days, weeks, months, or even years that they’ve gone missing. Knowing that he was already going to jail for life without parole, families of his other alleged victims did not wish to go through the emotional trauma of additional trials.
[*] Police believe he killed three women each month he was active.
[*] On April 1, 1990 Robert Ben Rhoades was arrested during a routine traffic stop (much like Ted Bundy) when the officer was investigating why Rhoades’ truck was pulled over. He discovered the mobile torture chamber in the back of the truck where Rhoades was holding a woman. She was naked and screaming for help. Police didn’t even know they should be looking for Rhoades.
Regina Kay Walters
[*] Regina Kay Walters is remembered among Robert Ben Rhoades victims because of the extremely disturbing photos he took of her.
[*] The most disturbing photos, are those of Walters minutes before her death in the abandoned farmhouse where her body was eventually found:
[*] Rhoades had cut her hair and forced her to wear a black dress and heels. These are not the clothes she was hitchhiking in:
[*] You can see more of Robert Ben Rhoades’ photographs here.
[*] In Rhoades’ truck police found his murder kit along with whips, chains, cords, dildos, leashes, and clips, pins, and fishhooks he used on his victim’s genitals.
[*] Through the photos and the recovery of her body, police figured out that Rhoades had shaved Regina’s pubic hair.
[*] Rhoades would also call Walters’ father from payphones along his truck stops and torment him about his missing daughter. Police belive the caller was Rhoades because the caller told the father about cutting Regina’s hair.
[*] An in-depth look at Robert Ben Rhoades was featured on FBI Files
[*] Robert Ben Rhoades is now 72. He is serving life without the possibility of parole in Menard Correctional Center in southern Illinois.