Cleveland bus driver indicted for 4 murders, may be a serial killer

An Ohio truck driver has been indicted for the murder of four individuals- one in 1997 and three this year.

“Robert Rembert is a serial killer. So far, we know he’s purposefully executed five people,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty . “An investigation of his activities as an over-the-road truck driver is currently underway.”

Robert G. Rembert Jr. is charged with the alleged murder of four people: Rena Mae Payne in May 1997; Kimberley D. Hall in June 2015; and Jerry Rembert (Robert’s cousin) and Morgan Nietzel in September this year.

The fifth murder occurred in December 1997. Dadren Lewis was killed by Rembert in a Cleveland parking lot. He was convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison.

All told, the present indictment consists of 25 charges: 10 counts of aggravated murder, six counts of kidnapping, four counts of rape, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count each of having weapons under disability, grand theft and gross abuse of a corpse.

The first victim, Rena May Payne, a 47-year-old Cleveland woman, was found strangled to death in an employee rest room at a bus turnaround at East 83rd Street and Central Avenue in May 1997. She had been beaten and raped.

Rembert had been a bus driver for the Regional Transport Authority at the time and was under suspicion for Payne’s murder because he was scheduled to be at that particular RTA stop and, as an employee, would have had the code to the locked restroom.

DNA evidence from the Payne’s body has subsequently been matched to Robert Rembert.

The next murder, that of 31-year-old Kimberley D. Hall of Cleveland, occurred on June 10, 2015. The victim’s body was found in an open field at East 83rd Street and Gill Avenue. Hall was beaten and raped before being strangled to death in a fashion similar to Payne.

Again, DNA analysis was linked to Rembert thanks to the Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) database. Also, the last calls made and received from Hall’s cell phone were to Rembert.

Investigators are deeply concerned about where Rembert was during the 18 years that separate the murders and, more importantly, what he was doing.

“The feeling is given his violent history it only makes sense to dig down into what was going on in the interim,” said Joe Frolik, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office.

So far, investigators know that Rembert traveled widely throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. They are now trying to find out if he visited any other Great Lake states.

The last two murders occurred on September 20. Morgan Nietzel, 26, and Jerry Rembert, 52, were shot in the head in their home on East 140th Street. Robert Rembert had been living there with his cousin, Jerry, for some time. Police are not currently sure of Robert’s motive for murdering his roommates, however, witnesses say they heard a loud argument before the gun shots.

The next day, on September 21, Ms. Nietzel’s red Saturn Vue was found at the Pilot Flying J truck stop where Rembert was taking a shower. He was arrested on sight.

Rembert is currently being held in Cuyahoga County Jail on a $1 million bond. Court documents do not indicate whether or not he has a lawyer representing him for the trial.

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