Joylynn Martinez, a single mother with two sons, had thought she’d met her prince charming when she first met Robert Howard Bruce in 2001 in a bar in Alberquerque, New Mexico. The man she described as “a Ben Affleck” look-alike swept her off her feet, showering her with gifts and affection.
Unfortunately, her new beau, known as Howard, was living a double life and had some very dark secrets.
Joy and Howard lived apart for two years conducting a long-distance relationship; the pair finally decided to tie the knot in 2003, and Joy relocated with her two children to Pueblo, Colorado, so that they could be together.
Joy says that she noticed a change in Howard once they were married; he became very controlling towards her and was continuously making derogatory comments about other women. He referred to any woman in tight clothing as a slut.
One day, Joy discovered a video recording of Bruce having sex with her while she was unconscious. Shocked and disgusted, she packed her bags and left him; however, he supposedly “morphed” back into the guy who had initially wooed her, so she returned to the relationship.
However, she remained suspicious of her husband’s erratic behavior. When she saw reports on TV about a serial rapist who the police called “Ether Man” alarm bells began to ring in her mind. Police were looking for a man linked to sexual crimes in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado who used chemical-soaked rags to disable his female victims.
Joy noticed that the timeline of the sexual crimes tied in with the movements of her husband. The rapes in Alburquerque had started when Bruce had moved to the area and ended when he had left. She knew he was in Austin, Texas, for work on the night a rape occurred there in 2006.
Joy voiced her suspicions to investigators who arrested Bruce, and DNA evidence tied him to the crimes.
“I couldn’t understand how I could be married to someone, who could be this person,” Joy later said.
In 2011, Robert Howard Bruce was sentenced to 64 years for attempted murder, followed by a total of 333 years for his various sex attacks.
Watch the details of the case in Evil Lives Here at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.