This week on ID, Evil Lives Here has a one-off special where it investigates the serial rapist and killer known as The Tampa Bay Slayer, aka Robert Joseph Long, aka Bobby Joe Long.
Throughout the 1980s, Long inflicted tremendous suffering on women across Florida. He began his criminal career as a serial rapist in the Miami area, but after moving to the Tampa Bay area, he started murdering his victims.
Long is believed to committed at least 50 rapes before he graduated to murder. In the early 1980s, he was the ‘Classified Ad Rapist’ who spread terror throughout the Miami-Dade area. Long would answer classified ads for small appliances, and if he found a woman home alone, he would rape them.
He would generally visit the women’s homes during the middle of the day, while their husbands were at work, and would rape them at knifepoint; he would then rob the houses.
Long was tried and convicted for rape in 1981, but on appeal, he was awarded a new trial; unfortunately, the charges were subsequently dropped, meaning he walked free. The rapes continued.
From 1984 Bobby Joe Long began to murder
Things took a much deadlier turn in 1984 when Long began adding murder to his list of crimes. The killer had by now moved to the Tampa Bay area, and over a period of 8-months, he attacked sex workers predominantly. He raped and strangled his victims.
On November 3, 1984, Long kidnapped 17-year-old Lisa McVey as she rode her bicycle home from work. He raped and held her hostage for 26 hours, but then, surprisingly, he let go.
His decision to show mercy ultimately led to his capture. McVey was able to give a description to the police of Long and his car. The cops finally caught up to him on November 17; unfortunately, it was too late for Kim Swann, who he killed two days after releasing McVey.
Long was charged with nine counts of first-degree murder, plus felony counts of abduction, rape, and sexual assault. In early 1985 he was sentenced to death. In May 2019, he was put to death by lethal injection, two of his surviving victims attended his execution.
More serial killers on Investigation Discovery
Follow the links to read about more serial killers profiled on ID.
John Edward Robinson was a serial killer who operated in Kansas and Missouri; he is known to have murdered at least eight people during the 1980s and 1990s. He gave the daughter of one of his victims to his brother and wife to raise as their own.
Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins was convicted of nine murders spanning the 1960s to the 1980s in South Carolina, but he claimed to have killed up to 110 people. His attacks were particularly sadistic as he liked to keep his victims alive and torture them for as long as possible.
Tampa Bay Slayer: Evil Lives Here airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.