'Hey, That's Me!': Woman Recognizes Herself In Photo Taken In Serial Killer's Truck
After busting “Truck Stop Killer” Robert Ben Rhoades, the FBI asked the public to ID the woman in the pic — and that's when Pamela Milliken spotted herself.
ALBERTA, CANADA — While casually perusing Facebook one day in 2015, Alberta native Pamela Milliken, now 52, came across a photo of herself that she never expected to see.
The picture, taken in 1985, depicts 18-year-old Milliken in the cab of a truck. She’s wearing a gray hoodie and she looks sleepy after a night of thumbing rides.
Thirty years later, the image was posted on Facebook by international law-enforcement agencies, in hope of identifying the woman in the snapshot. The photo, it turned out, had been removed from the apartment of Robert Ben Rhoades, a serial rapist and murderer known as “The Truck Stop Killer.”
The picture appeared on a roll of film that also contained shots of Regina Kay Walters, a 14-year-old runaway that Rhoades confessed to killing in 1990. Investigators eventually shared the image with the public to determine if its subject was yet another of Rhoades’ victims.
According to Milliken, when she came across the posting, she said out loud, “Hey! That’s me!”
Talking to a reporter, Milliken recalled, “I knew right away it was me. I was going to find my brother in Winnipeg.” Milliken said she was hitchhiking and getting tired on that particular evening, when a semi-truck pulled over and the driver offered her a lift.
As she was getting into the passenger’s seat, Milliken said, the trucker snapped a photo of her. She recalled: “I said, ‘What did you do that for?’ He said ‘Well, I am going to take your pic. If you rip me off, I can tell the cops that you stole from me.’”
Milliken said the driver called himself Robert and, after he got arrested, she positively identified him as Robert Rhoads.
The pair talked during their time on the road, Milliken said, without any intimations of violence. Eventually, she added, “He told me he was going to Florida, and he wanted me to come with him. At one point, he pointed to a sign on his dashboard that said ‘CASH, GRASS or ASS — No one rides for free.’ I didn’t have any money. I didn’t smoke pot, so I knew which one it would be.”
From there, Milliken said, she had consensual sex with Rhoades in the sleeper section of the cap. Ultimately, Rhoades dropped her off at a bus depot in Winnipeg without harm. In that sense, Milliken was insanely lucky.
Between 1975 and 1990, Robert Ben Rhoads, now 73, savagely murdered at least three victims and possibly, investigators believe, as many as 50 during his treks across North America as a professional truck driver.
During that time, Rhoades preyed largely on hitchhikers, runaways, sex workers, and other drifters he picked up along the road, thereby leading to his nickname “The Truck Stop Killer.”
Beyond his homicidal impulses, Rhoades was a sexual sadist who turned his vehicle into a rolling torture chamber, filling the sleeper cab with BDSM equipment and pain-implementation devices. He also photographed some of his victims —including, as mentioned earlier, 14-year-old Regina Kay Walters.
Walters and her boyfriend, Ricky Lee Jones, ran away from home in 1990, and Rhoades stopped to give them a ride. He murdered Jones fast and dumped his body, but he held Walters captive for weeks, repeatedly raping her and subjecting her to horrific acts of abuse.
Rhoades’ reign of terror lasted until April 1, 1990, when an Arizona Highway Patrol officer approached a semi-truck pulled off the highway with its hazards flashing. Inside the vehicle, the officer discovered a naked woman, handcuffed and screaming, being held in the truck’s torture chamber.
After arresting Rhoades for aggravated assault, sexual assault, and unlawful imprisonment, authorities obtained a search warrant for his apartment. There, searchers discovered the photographs of Regina Kay Walters, along with other evidence that indicated the suspect they nabbed was, in fact, the Truck Stop Killer.
Rhoades pleaded guilty to murdering Walters and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in Illinois. He has since pleaded guilty to two other murders in Texas, and received two more life sentences.
As noted, however, investigators and criminal experts suspect Rhoades committed countless other atrocities across multiple states and provinces, including as many as 50 murders. He remains incarcerated at present at Menard County Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois.
For more on the "Truck Stop Killer," watch the Deadly Fetish episode of Investigation Discovery's Evil Lives Here on ID GO now!
Read more: Deseret News, APTN News, GQ