Robert Ben Rhoades is also known as the Truck Stop Killer, and in a while, you will learn why that is so.
On April 1, 1990, an Arizona Highway Patrol Division member noticed a tractor-trailer on the highway.
He inspected the vehicle and tried to see if the driver required any assistance. But what the state trooper saw was no less than a plot of a horror story. He saw a nude young woman tied inside the truck with a gag in her mouth. She looked terrified.
Robert Ben Rhoades was the truck's driver, and he told the trooper that it was a private, consensual matter. However, the state trooper was not convinced and took him under arrest.
The trooper noticed that Robert Ben Rhoades had a .25 caliber automatic pistol in his possession.
Rhoades was charged with kidnapping and assault. But the authorities soon learned that Robert Ben Rhoades, nicknamed Truck Stop Killer, was known to be the most dangerous sex offender and a serial killer in American history.
Who Was Robert Ben Rhoades?
Born on November 22, 1945, Robert Benjamin Rhoades is popularly called the Truck Stop Killer. He is one of the most dangerous criminals in American history. He is both a serial killer and a rapist. Rhoades was convicted of three murders, although the actual number of murders he committed is still unknown.
Two of his murder charges were dropped because of the wishes of the victims' families. Additionally, Robert Ben Rhoades is suspected of having raped, tortured, and murdered over 50 women between 1975-1990. This accusation is based on the data received from his truck routes and women who went missing in those years. These women met the profile of his preferred victims as well.
When Rhoades was taken into custody, he claimed to have indulged himself in those activities for fifteen long years.
Early Life Of Robert Ben Rhoades
Robert Ben Rhoades was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. His mother raised him during his early years, and his father served in the United States Army. The boy was attending elementary school when his father returned from overseas. After his father was discharged from the military, he started working as a fireman.
From the information received through investigation, Robert Ben Rhoades used to be an average student except for his social problems during his formative years. He was a bright student and participated in various co-curricular activities, like football, wrestling, choir, and more.
During his high school years, Rhoades' criminal records consist of an arrest at the age of 16 for vehicle temperament and another arrest at the age of 17 for public fighting. Rhoades graduated in 1964 from Thomas Jefferson High School and joined the Marine Corps.
In the same year, his father was arrested for molesting a 12-year-old girl, and while awaiting trial, he committed suicide. A few years later, Rhoades was dishonorably discharged from the military for being involved in a robbery in 1967 or 1968.
Later, Rhoades attended college but dropped out. He then tried for a law enforcement agency but got rejected for his record at the Marine Corps. During the 1970s to 1980s, Rhoades married three times and had a son from his first wife.
Subsequently, he started shifting jobs in stores, restaurants, warehouses, and supermarkets. And finally, he settled as a long-haul truck driver. During the 1980s, Robert Ben Rhoades developed hobbies and interests, including getting involved in BDSM scenes. He also started verbally, physically, and sexually assaulting his third wife, Deborah Rhoades.
The Truck Stop Killer
Truckers used to recognize Rhoades by his Whips and Chains CB handle. This implied that he enjoyed sexual bondage and sadomasochism called Roadside Prey. The FBI confirmed this information to be his handle. Rhoades was also nicknamed "Dusty."
Rhoades was not at all shy about his hobby and was also a smooth talker. A picture shared by his family member to the law enforcement showed him dressed head to toe in leather and chains. He married a third wife in Houston who later told the detectives how Rhoades organized orgies and forced her to perform in his increasingly masochistic sexual fantasies.
Strange men used to visit them whom Rhoades hired to act as her sex slaves. A woman had escaped Rhoades in 1989 and went straight to the police. She reported to them that she was tortured and raped repeatedly. Upon being called to the police station, Rhoades went and behaved calmly and dismissively.
He said that the woman was a prostitute and was crazy. The woman withdrew her statement, thinking that would be the safer thing to do and that the police would not believe the word of a sex worker.
Robert Ben Rhoades Was Convicted Of Only Three Murders
Patricia Candace, Douglas Zyskowski, and Walsh Zyskowski, the first victims of Robert Ben Rhoades, the newlywed hitchhikers, were headed towards Georgia. Rhoades shot Zyskowski and dumped his body in Texas.
Rhoades then repeatedly tortured and raped Walsh for over a week. After months of searching, hunters later found her body in Utah, but her remains were left unidentified until 2003. A few weeks later, Rhoades abducted Regina Kay Walters (pictured) and Ricky Lee Jones, who were teenage runaways.
Rhoades allegedly killed Jones and kept Walters alive. But Rhoades was convicted of the murder of Zyskowski, Walsh, and Walters and was sentenced to life without parole. Currently, he is incarcerated in Illinois. The rest of the victims withdrew their accusations out of fear.
Robert Ben Rhoades had committed these crimes in the latter part of his life. Yet, he was not caught very soon. The actual number of murders at his hands is still unknown. However, according to data received, his truck routes and the missing women in the nearby areas connect the strings somehow.
Such violent assaults were done by the ruthless criminal Robert Ben Rhoades that a detective suspected him of being a homicidal maniac.