It was nothing short of a nightmare -- a man obsessively tracking women, sneaking into their homes, assaulting them, and forcing them to perform a bizarre "cleansing" ritual that washed away any hint of evidence from their bodies.
Bloomington, Ill., Police Detective Clay Wheeler spent two years pursuing the first serial rapist in his town's memory.
"I've seen more brutal things, more violent things, but some of the things that happened and what he would say and tell these girls as he's assaulting them, and I mean, I get chills. It just disgusts me," he said.
The rapist's first victim was then 25-year-old Kristi Mills, who awoke to a masked intruder standing in her doorway in April 2003.
"I was in shock, absolute shock. I looked at the door and saw the light there, and something just didn't seem right. And that's when I saw him," she said. "The next thing I remember is he was on top of me in the bed."
Mills said the intruder told her he was there to burglarize her, and that he didn't want to hurt her, but if she made noise, he would shoot her.
Wearing a ski mask and gloves, he seemed oddly calm and methodical as he bound her with zip ties and duct tape, she said. Then he slipped a pillowcase over her head and sexually assaulted Mills for 45 minutes.
"He seemed very assertive when he talked and not like somebody who's, you know, panicking. He seemed like he knew what he was doing," Mills said.
Still blindfolded, he forced her into the bathroom where she heard water running. "I started to panic and I thought he was going to shoot me in the bathtub," she said. "Just over a month from my 26th birthday, and I was going to die."
Mills was forced to take a long bath and told to wash carefully, while her rapist calmly walked about her apartment cleaning up after himself.
Then he was gone, taking with him all the evidence, including the bed sheets.
She was so upset and scared that when she got out of the bathtub, removed the pillowcase, and ripped the tape from off her eyes, she actually tore out chunks of hair. Though she said she wanted to run and hide, she decided to call 911 and report it.
Two years later, the rapist found his fourth victim, 28-year-old restaurant manager Sarah Kalmes-Gliege, who also awoke to someone coming into her room in the middle of the night. She was just six weeks away from her wedding.
"It was gun to my head, knife to my throat," said Kalmes-Gliege.
He made it clear he had been stalking her, and he threatened her loved ones. "He knew everything about me," she said. "What my sister looks like to what car my [finance] drove, my work schedule. He knew where I worked out. Pretty much everything."
The intruder sexually assaulted and attacked Kalmes-Gliege for almost three hours. As with Mills, he was careful. He bound her hands and covered her head with a pillowcase.