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New book reveals terrifying phenomenon: Truckers are responsible for 850 murders on the highway

By Isabelle Stanley for Dailymail.Com

21:59 03 June 2024, updated 22:01 03 June 2024

  • In recent decades, truck drivers have killed at least 850 people
  • Some of America’s most notorious murderers were truckers

A new book offers a terrifying insight into the world of American truck drivers who become serial killers and use their nomadic lifestyle to evade the police.

According to Frank Figliuzzi's book “Long Haul: Hunting the Highway Serial Killers,” truck drivers have committed 850 murders on U.S. highways in recent decades.

According to Figliuzzi, the truckers' job allows them to “grab a victim in one jurisdiction, kill him in a second jurisdiction, dump the body in a third jurisdiction – and be gone before anyone finds out.”

Some of America's most notorious serial killers were truckers, such as Robert Ben Rhoades, known as the “Truck Stop Killer,” who set up a torture chamber in the back of his semi-trailer.

For over 15 years, Rhoades traveled across the United States, kidnapping, torturing and killing 50 suspected victims before he was caught.

Some of America's most notorious serial killers were truckers, like Robert Ben Rhoades, known as the “Truck Stop Killer,” who built a torture chamber in the back of his semi-trailer.

Figliuzzi, 61, of Houston, spent 2,000 miles with a young trucker, sleeping in his cab, to learn about the subculture.

He told The Guardian: “I would like to stress that we are talking about a tiny fraction of lorry drivers who are actually giving other lorry drivers a bad name.”

However, he said the profession appealed to a certain personality type that was prone to murder and that it also exacerbated sociopathic tendencies.

He told The Guardian: “A certain type of person might be attracted to long-distance travel because they are isolated and are perfectly happy with that isolation and lack of contact with others.”

“But in that sense, there's something that happens after years of trucking that causes clinical depression – an incredibly sedentary lifestyle, incredibly poor diet. I've tried very hard this week, but it's inevitable that it's difficult to get anything healthy at rest stops and food stalls.”

Be that as it may, the phenomenon of trucker killers cannot be ignored, he said.

He writes: “Part cowboy, part fighter pilot, and part hermit, truck drivers glide along a certain seam in the fabric of our society – the seam that separates their reality from ours. Killer truckers exploit that seam.”

The problem of killer truckers became so bad that the FBI set up a special unit, the Highway Serial Killings (HSK) Initiative, to hunt down and arrest the perpetrators.

As a result of increased efforts, 25 truck drivers are currently in prison for multiple murders.

Yet such crimes still exist today, and their victims are almost all vulnerable women who have become victims of sex trafficking.

One of Rhoades' victims was 14-year-old Regina Walters, a runaway from Pasadena, Texas. A chilling final image of Walters shows her with a shaved head, squeezed into a black dress and high heels, and looking as if she was terrified of Rhoades behind the camera.
According to Frank Figliuzzi's book “Long Haul: Hunting the Highway Serial Killers,” truck drivers have committed 850 murders on U.S. highways in recent decades.

One of the most shocking and notorious cases Figliuzzi examines in his book was Rhoades, the Truck Stop Killer.

Rhoades, described by authorities as a sadistic killer, specifically targeted runaway girls and held them captive for weeks in a specially constructed torture chamber in the back of his truck before disposing of their bodies.

One of his victims was 14-year-old Regina Walters, a runaway from Pasadena, Texas.

She disappeared in February 1990 with her 18-year-old boyfriend, who told friends they were going to hitchhike to Mexico. Her body was found months later on an abandoned farm in Illinois. Her companion was never found.

In a chilling final photo of Walters, she is seen with a shaved head, squeezed into a black dress and high heels, and looks terrified of Rhoades behind the camera.

Police later found torture devices and photographs of Walters in handcuffs and shackles and in various poses in a barn.

She had been strangled with a wire tied to a piece of wood.