(A post circulating on Facebook. Photo: Courtesy Pamela Milliken)
Milliken, now 52 said she was browsing through Facebook and she came upon a post asking for help identifying a young Indigenous woman in a photo found left in the semi-truck of “The Truck Stop Killer” Robert Ben Rhoades.
Rhoades is currently serving life sentences in Illinois for three murders. He pled guilty to the first degree murder of 14-year-old Regina Walters in 1992 after investigators found haunting photos of the teenager in his apartment.
His truck is said to have contained a homemade torture chamber.
(Robert Ben Rhoades)
Milliken was first referenced publicly in a 2012 GQ article by Vanessa Veselka.
She wrote about escaping a trucker like Rhoades herself and writes of how retired FBI investigator Mark Young gave her the photo.
One paragraph in the GQ story written relates a conversation Veselka had with Mark Young.
“Young pulled out one last picture and slid it across to me The photo was of a beautiful young girl, possibly Native American.
“She was on the end of the roll with Regina,” he said.
She’s shown sitting in Rhoades’s truck wearing a gray hoodie. Her eyes are partly closed, as if she’s stoned or sleepy. Rhoades must have just picked her up, because he hasn’t cut her hair yet. It is glossy black and long. No one knows who she is.”
Veselka confirmed that the photo in question was given to her by former FBI investigator Mark Young during her research for the 2012 GQ article.
She explained that the photo Milliken believes is her was found on alongside another of Rhoades victim, Regina Walters, at the end of same roll of film. That’s according to what Young told Veselka at the time.
However, the incidences were five years apart from one another.
When asked to explain how that could be, she said there were a lot of photos attached to the case.
“To me that inconsistency of where or when the photo was taken does not rule out her story. All of the photos came out of Rhoades apartment.” she said. “If that is her in the photo, that’s her in the photo. And that photo came out of Rhoades apartment.”
“He took a lot of photos.” she said. “To me it doesn’t matter if it was Rhoades or not, these guys are so common. If it wasn’t him it was someone like him.”
“I knew right away that it was me.” Milliken said. “I was going to find my brother in Winnipeg.”
She says she started hitchhiking from Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan in the spring of 1985.
After a series of successful rides, she met up with a semi-truck driver she identifies as Rhoades in the town of White City just outside of Regina.
“The sun was setting, It was 8:00 or 9:00 at night. I was walking a ways and it was getting dark. I stuck my hand out and waited for someone to pick me up,” she said.
When a flat-nosed, white semi-truck stopped on the highway and she went running after it.
“I opened up the door and I looked at him,” she said. “ He said, ‘Hey jump up on in here.’ I said I have a really heavy bag you are going to have to help me with it. I put my bag on the seat and he said, ‘Yeah I’ll help you with that and he put it in the back.‘”
Just as Milliken was turning around to climb up onto the passenger seat, she says the driver took her photo.
“I said ‘What did you do that for?’ he said ‘Well I am going to take your pic. If you rip me off I can tell the cops that you stole from me.’”
She and the driver who introduced himself as “Robert” chatted on the way to Brandon, MB.
“He told me he was going to Florida and he wanted me to come with him,” she said. “At one point, he pointed to a sign on his dashboard that said ‘CASH, GRASS or ASS — No one rides for free.’”
“I didn’t have any money. I didn’t smoke pot so I knew which one it would be.” she said, adding that she and the driver had consensual sex in the back of the truck.
(Pamela Milliken in Feb., 2019)
She said she was dropped off without harm in Winnipeg, MB at the bus depot.
Fast forward 30 years and she came across the Facebook post.
“I knew it was me but I didn’t have a photo of myself from that time to prove it to anyone,” she said. “But then I was at my niece’s a few months back and she had one on the wall.”
Milliken has reached out to the FBI at their toll-free number in the US. The dispatcher said she would research it and suggested she phone the RCMP in St Paul where she is currently enrolled in a camp preparation program.
RCMP K division confirmed Miliken’s call to APTN Investigates. Miliken said they are sending out a constable to speak with her tonight and confirm her identity.
“I was pretty freaked out when I saw it but I just want them to know I am OK,” she said.
APTN reached out to the FBI in Houston, former FBI investigator Mark Young and Milliken’s niece.
More to come.