Deseret News Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 12:30 a.m. MDT
OZONA, Texas — The ongoing drama in Eldorado and San Angelo, Texas, involving the YFZ Ranch and the FLDS Church has captured the attention of Utah and the nation. But the legal battle surrounding the polygamist sect isn't the only court case in the Lone Star State with Utah ties.
About 45 minutes outside of Eldorado along I-10 is the town of Ozona. There, prosecutors are preparing their case against alleged serial killer Robert Ben Rhoades, 62, accused of murdering two people 18 years ago. The badly decomposed body of one of those victims, Patricia Candace Walsh, 24, was found by hunters in Millard County months after she had been murdered.
Rhoades' travels are the subject of a book, "Roadside Prey," by Alva Busch.
Rhoades, a former truck driver, is believed to have equipped the cab of his truck as a type of dungeon with handcuffs on the ceiling used to incapacitate his victims. He is accused in the book and by investigators of sexually assaulting and systematically torturing the women he held captive before killing them.
A story in the Tucson Weekly in 1996 quoted officials as saying they believed by early 1990, Rhoades was kidnapping and killing an average of three women a month. He allegedly carried a briefcase of torture items with him on the road, according to the article.
Robert Ben Rhoades
“Whips and Chains”
Born in Counsel Bluffs, Iowa
Raised initially by his mother and then by his mother and father after the father
returned from overseas.
Had few problems in school. Played football, wrestled, and was in the boy’s glee
club, choir, and French club
Arrested for tampering with a motor vehicle during his sophomore year in high
Arrested for fighting
Enlisted in Marine Corps after graduating Monticello High School
Father arrested for performing lascivious acts on a 12-year old girl. Father
committed suicide after being arrested.
Arrested for robbery and was discharged from the Marines
Attended college, but dropped out
Applied for a job as a police officer but was not hired
Got married after returning to Council Bluffs had one son
Married two more times
Worked in stores, supermarkets, warehouses, restaurants and drove long haul truck
First kill in series
Picked up Candace Walsh and her new husband, Douglas Zyskowski. Rhoades
killed Zyzkowski and dumped his body. He kept Candace for seven more days
before killing her and dumping her body in Millard County, Utah.
Douglas Scott Zyskowski’s body found in Texas but they were not able to identify
it until 1992.
Final kill in the series
Last marriage to wife Debra
Arrested in Arizona for aggravated assault, sexual assault, and unlawful
The body of 14-year old Regina Walters was found in a barn off Interstate 70, 220
miles southwest of Chicago
Body of Candace Walsh (24) was discovered by deer hunters need Fillmore, UT
Pleads guilty to first-degree murder for the murder of Regina Walters
Convicted in Illinois and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of
Admitted to Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois
Extradited to Utah to be tried for the murder of Candace Walsh (24)
Returned to prison in Illinois
Rhoades is still serving his sentence in Illinois.
Number of victims
At least four
Country where killing occurred
States where killing occurred
Multiple locations (Utah, Washington, Texas, Illinois)
Cities where killing occurred
Type of killer
Both Organized and Disorganized
Date of birth
November 22, 1945
Council Bluffs, Iowa
out of 4
Number of siblings
Mother at first, Father came later from overseas
Parent’s marital status
Father arrested for performing lascivious acts on a 12-year old
girl. Father committed suicide after being arrested.
Age of family event
Problems in school?
No. Played football, wrestled, boy’s glee club, choir, French
Teased while in school?
Age of first sexual experience
Age when first had intercourse
Father abused drugs/alcohol
Mother abused drugs/alcohol
Highest grade in school
High School Diploma
Grades in school
Source of IQ information
Served in the military?
Type of discharge
Saw combat duty
Killed enemy during service?
Applied for job as a cop?
Yes, but application was rejected
Worked in law enforcement?
Fired from jobs?
Types of jobs worked
Stores, supermarkets, warehouses, restaurants and drove long
Employment status during series
Number of children
Lives with his children
Killer Psychological Information
Been to a psychologist?
Time in forensic hospital?
Killer Criminal History
Committed previous crimes?
Yes, he was arrested for fighting, tampering with motor
vehicle, and robbery
Spend time in jail?
Spend time in prison?
Killed prior to series? Age?
Number of victims
Prostitutes, transient women, Missionaries, young women w/
Killer age at start of series
Date of first kill in series
Date of final kill in series
February 3, 1990
Gender of victims
Both males and females
Race of victims
Age of victims
14, 18, 24, 28
Type of victim
Prostitutes, Transient women, Missionaries, Young women w/
Method of killing
Tortured, sexually abused, shot, strangled
Killer brought with him, Had torture chamber in back of truck
Was gun used?
Yes, only used on the married couple
Did killer have a partner?
Name of partner
Sex of partner
Type of serial killer
Organized lust and disorganized thrill
How close did killer live?
Drove to Crime/Crimes committed in his truck
Location of first contact
Location of killing
Back of truck on Interstate
Killing occurred in home of victim?
Killing occurred in home of killer?
Victim abducted or killed at contact?
Behavior During Crimes
Yes, all female victims
Yes, had torture chamber in the back of his truck
No, Contacted families after killing victims
Yes, shaved hair and posed the bodies
Quick & efficient?
Bound the victims?
Yes, used a horse bit
After Death Behavior
Sex with the body?
Ate part of the body?
Drank victim’s blood?
Posed the body?
When he took victims
Took totem – body part
Took totem – personal item
Yes, Articles of clothing, pictures
Robbed victim or location
Disposal of Body
Left at scene, no attempt to hide
Left at scene, hidden
Yes, young female victim was left in a barn
Left at scene, buried
Moved, no attempt to hide
Yes, Dumped bodies in random places
Cut-op and disposed of
Moved, too home
Date killer arrested
April 1, 1990
September 11, 1992
Life without parole
Did killer plead NGRI?
Was the NGRI plea successful?
Name and state of prison
Killer committed suicide?
Killer killed in prison?
Date of death
Still alive today