Regina Walters – The Hitch Hiker’s Fate final

How many more steps do you need to take to get where you are heading? You may want to consider spreading your arms and give that thumbs-up sign on the road for a ride.


                             It may sound really just fine to do the thumbing or hitching for a ride when you get lost out of somewhere and gets tired of walking not knowing where you are heading. At this scenario, your mind is just preoccupied by the thought of making your way to that particular place you long to be. You get a bit desperate and so you do that thumbing until someone gives you a ride. Of course you will be grateful a lot for that stranger who picks you up! By the way, what must have been the cause why you needed a hitch?


                             Rooting back in history, hitchhiking became popular in the early nineties when automobile is not yet that common on the road, this has become an autonomous mode of transportation ease all over the world. But due to implemented laws and regulations that inhibits people to hitchhike for the safety of everyone, this activity has decreased over the years but there are still people who does this up to date, and here are the few reasons why people get caught in this situation;

1. SEEK ADVENTURE – Many people specially the youth have that adrenaline rush to do hitchhiking just to get that particular excitement that seems to be addictive to them.

2. OUT OF BUDGET – Many do the hitchhiking to save from transportation cost. Frequent Travellers, Tourist or backpackers will relate to hitchhiking activities very well as they are the ones who are masters of managing travel expenses.

3. EXPLORE NEW PEOPLE AND NEW PLACES – This is very true for many foreign travelers, they enjoy socializing with people they don’t know as they humble themselves and practice kindness for them to befriend strangers they meet along the way.

4. NO OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION – As though one may opt to walk, it is by human nature to get tired and could not keep up with just walking to reach a place that is miles away and so they sort out to hitchhiking to move from place to place a bit faster.

5. RUNNING AWAY HOME – There are many reasons for running away from home, others may have debts, others may want to escape abuse from their parents, there are also those who walks away from home because of poverty issues and the most common among teenagers during the earlier years between 70’s to 90’s is running away because of love and relationship that is being controlled by strictness of the parents which most teenagers could never understand. The reason or intention you have as to deciding to hitchhike may really be good and beneficial to you in your own opinion. But did you know that in 1990s, a teenage girl with her boyfriend had found their final destination being a hitchhiker? They faced an unimaginable death beyond their innocent minds.


                             In February 1990, there was this couple who were so in love with each other, and that running away together from home may have been a decision for them to make. But many of you specially the teenagers may have fondled your thoughts into this idea of running away from home and from your strict parents to satisfy your longing to always be with your boyfriend and/or girlfriend, at times we cannot blame you, that has been a common teenage behavioral issue that only few was able to control. With the kind of societal set up before, and if you were at that era, you may have been a ran away hitchhiker too just like this young couple who may had hopes perhaps of a fairytale ending as they both decided to ride a stranger’s truck only to have faced a fate that took their life.

Figure 1: Regina Kay Walters’ photo moments before she was murdered.
Figure 2 : Scene of the crime. The photo shows a cropped image of a bound victim believed to be Regina Kay Walters, but the FBI could not still identify the exact location where this photo was taken by Rhoades on the day he murdered Walters at an old and abandoned barn in Illinois.

                             Based on the police reports, this young couple was identified as none other than the 18 year old guy named Ricky Lee Jones and his girlfriend Regina Kay Walters who was only 14 at that time. According to the findings of the investigation, Jones death had been unknown and his body was never found but they presumed that he was killed before Walters had been abducted, strangled, raped and eventually killed as well by their perpetrator Robert Ben Rhoades, a.k.a. The Truck Stop Killer or what he calls himself the “Whips and Chains”. Earlier before the Jones-Walters murder incidence, a newlywed couple identified as Douglas Scott Zysknowski and Patricia Candace Walsh has also been murdered with the same modus operandi by Rhoades who was an American rapist, torturer, and a serial killer of young women who hitchhike thus he was known to be a hebephilic perpetrator in that state. A hebephilic perpetrator is someone who have a strong desire for sex with adolescents, And as an adult, Rhoades had used his autonomy and power as the one older to rule over his victims and does what pleasures him. With Walters’ death, Rhoades was finally convicted of murder and later on found to have been associated as well with other 50 more killings adding up to the previously murdered newlyweds that were a “cold case” under investigation which had happened in the recorded routes Rhoades had taken as a trucking driver.

                             The thought of why Rhoades have done such hideous crimes to young people such as Walters is bothering and may have us develop the fear to refrain us from exploring new places specially when we are travelling alone and hitchhiking is definitely one of our options to get where we plan to go. We cannot deny the fact that befriending a stranger now to hitch a ride places a risk in our safety, hence the reason why hitchhiking has been banned years ago. Yet as the same scenario happens out of stubbornness to laws and regulations, only then we realized our mistake when we get ourselves in trouble when we have been warned beforehand. Criminals may have a strong knowledge about the behavior of their target victims aside from mastering their crime, and I presume that there is always a common trait and attitude their victims possess.

Figure 2 : Scene of the crime. The photo shows a cropped image of a bound victim believed to be Regina Kay Walters, but the FBI could not still identify the exact location where this photo was taken by Rhoades on the day he murdered Walters at an old and abandoned barn in Illinois.


                             Serial Killers have this unique ability to see through you as their victim whom they are planning to devour at their right timing. Do you even wonder what a serial killer could be looking for with their targets? Here are some of the possible traits you may have to be qualified as a serial killer’s victim.

Serial Killers take advantage of you being stubborn, and because being stubborn give you the gap between you and your parents and/or the authority as they seem to inhibit you from doing what you like and what pleases you the way you want it, a serial killer comes to scene and can become a real hero to you who totally understands what you are going through and influences you with thoughts you wanted hear, thoughts that agrees with what you like most until you are conveniently trustful of his presence around you. And with this, you are caught off guard by the security your parents or the authority provides you, because you believe the serial killer now more than the ones who truly care for you.

In addition, Serial Killers love to see people crying, and asking for help. This creates happiness and satisfaction to them, hence seeing you in that fragile state of yours greatly attracts them to you. When you become all emotional and get out of your head at times because you are just human and could not avoid making mistake. Serial killers are on the lookout for you, as you are to them because they have the sympathy you are looking for as an emotional person. But only in the end when you get sober of your own stupidity that you realize you are trapped in a real deep shit and to escape from it is but a mere chance of faith and luck.


                             The young and beautiful Regina Kay Walters was abducted, raped, strangled, tortured and killed by no other than Mr. Robert Ben Rhoades who was born in November 22, 1945 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Raised by her mother alone at his early age, but his father had returned and live with them when he was already in high school. Rhoades, like what is common to most known serial killers, has been involved with teenage crimes for which he was arrested for tampering a vehicle and involving himself in troublesome fights. A typical behavior one can have for being abandoned by their parent at an early age. Although Rhoades father did not really abandon him for He was then, a US Army stationed in West Germany and needed to leave his family for work, Rhoades was still raised without the guidance and discipline that a father must do to his son. Rhoades graduated at Monticello High School, soon after He joined the Marine but was not able to last as he was dishonorably discharged from service due to his involvement in robbery.

                             Rhoades became fatherless once again, and this time, it will be for his lifetime as his father committed suicide during his stay in the Marine. His father was under trial for molesting a 12 year old girl and eventually killed himself. For Rhoades, if you are to be in his shoes at that moment his father died, you may have really felt bad inside, and this is something we can look at why not later after Rhoades father’s death, He got himself into college but dropped out, tried to get a decent job but was rejected. The pain of these events in Rhoades life may have been ignored that he subconsciously developed a criminal mind as the years gone by. Rhoades was married thrice, He had a son with his first wife and with all his work activities done, He landed to being a full time Overhaul Trucker. He was known to have developed a psychological impairment called BDSM, a sexual dysfunction or an abnormal urge of sexual pleasure arising from the concept of bondage, submission, masochism and the like which Rhoades had implemented to his third wife Deborah Rhoades, who was allegedly been abused verbally, physically and sexually by Him. It is no wonder he introduced himself to one of his victim who survived named Vanessa Veselka as the “Whips and Chains”.

                             Rhoades with his interests in BDSM, had been allegedly targeting Hitchhiking young prostitutes on the road and preys on them.  The death of Regina Kay Walters had become the gateway for Rhoades to finally be convicted in 1994 with a first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois.

                             Years had passed and in 2005, Rhoades was extradited to Utah for the court trial with the murder of the newlywed couple Zykowski-Walsh in 1990, but the victim’s family requested charges be dropped hence Rhoades was put back to prison in 2006. Rhoades later on pleaded guilty and received a second life sentence in exchange for dropping the death penalty given to him for murdering Jones and Wash. Rhoades is now 74 years old and is still serving his life sentence with no parole in Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois. Justice for Walters and all his victims has been served. May their stories serves as a warning to Hitchhikers enjoying this dangerous and unsafe mode of transportation.

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