Bobbie Joe Long known as "the classified ad rapist"
"Long before there was a craigslist or dot-com dating, there were places where men and women who were too shy or busy to meet face to face could find romance. Calling themselves "matrimonial bureaus," these organizations were known mostly as the "lonely hearts clubs,"
Bobbie Joe Long (born October 14, 1953), also known as Bobby Joe Long, Robert Joe Long and Robert Joseph Long, is an American serial killer, as of October 2007 on death row in the state of Florida.
Long abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered at least 10 women in the Tampa Bay Area during an eight month period in 1984. He released his last victim, after sexually assaulting her for a period of 26 hours. She provided information to the police that enabled them to track him down.
Long was born in Kenova, West Virginia. He was born with an extra x chromosome, because of which he grew breasts during puberty, for which he was severely teased. He also suffered multiple head injuries as a child. He had a dysfunctional relationship with his mother; he slept in her bed until he was a teenager, and resented her multiple short-term boyfriends. He married his high school girlfriend in 1974, with whom he had two children before she filed for divorce in 1980.
Prior to the Tampa Bay areas murders, Long had committed at least 50 rapes as the "Classified Ad Rapist" in Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, Miami and Dade County. Starting in 1981, Long answered classified ads for small appliances, and if he found a woman alone at home, he would rape her. He was tried and convicted for rape in 1981 but requested a new trial which was granted. The charges were later dropped.
Long moved to the Tampa area in 1983. Hillsborough County had been averaging about 30 to 35 homicides per year in the eighties. Then, in 1984, the murder rate escalated. During one eight month period, a killer with a unique method of binding, raping and killing his victims, then dumping them in unusual positions and poses, was averaging a murder every other week. The first victim was discovered in May 1984, when the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) was called to a crime scene where the body of a nude woman had been found.
This began an intensive investigation into the abduction, rape, and murder of at least 10 women in three counties in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas) involving the personnel from the HCSO, the FBI, the Tampa Police Department (TPD), the Pasco County Sheriff's Office , and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The bodies were found usually long after the murder in a state of decomposition, dumped near a rural roadside and dragged into the woods.