This is 38-year-old Robert Jason Burdick.
Up until the 1st of May, 2008, Robert Burdick has had two separate lives.
The first of those lives wasn’t bad. An entrepreneur, Robert Burdick had recently started his own company, WB Technologies, which specialized in home and business security systems. As you’d expect with someone whose profession involved securing people’s homes, Robert Burdick had no criminal record, other than speeding tickets.
Raised in a Christian household by two loving adoptive parents, Robert Burdick’s former girlfriend Gretchen Glaize has nothing but glowing reviews of her former paramour:
He was the best guy I ever dated in my life. He wined and dined me in expensive restaurants. His family is wonderful and accepting.
Odd. You’d think that Gretchen would have held onto that guy like crazy. She’s not getting any younger, you know. But no, Gretchen and Robert Jason Burdick broke up after almost a year of dating, which started in April of 2005 and lasted until early 2006.
After breaking up with Gretchen, Robert Burdick dated around the area, always leaving the women he dated with a good taste in their mouth. Robert Burdick even participated in a bachelor auction for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter.
So Robert Burdick was a nice guy, not at all like the man that authorities referred to as the “Wooded Rapist.”
For 14 years, starting in 1994, the “Wooded Rapist” has been working Nashville, attacking and raping women at night, usually during the rain and near…well….wooded areas. His modus operandi was usually to break into a house, hold a pistol or knife to the woman while raping her, then running off.
The last rape which can be attributed to the “Wooded Rapist” happened on the 1st of February, 2008, when a 16-year-old girl was assaulted on the driveway of her home at night by a masked man with a knife who emerged from a wooded area close by her family’s home.
Women in the area, who do not like being raped, lived in fear, fear which escalated after each reported rape. Serial rapists have that effect on a community.
Law enforcement officials enjoy catching serial rapists. The smiles on officers’ faces that accompany the thought of catching a serial rapist are right up there with the smiles that come with the apprehension of a child molester.
In 2006, a grand jury was presented with evidence against the “Wooded Rapist.” In the proceedings, the rapist was referred to as “John Doe” and the authorities had a considerable amount of evidence against him. DNA evidence taken from several of the victims formed a DNA profile that, according to the prosecutors, would match only one person in several billion. The jury thought the argument was convincing enough and returned an extensive indictment against Mr. John Doe. Five counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of aggravated assault and six counts of aggravated burglary were laid on the door of the “Wooded Rapist.”
The only thing left to do was find the guy and put a name to the indictment.
On the 28th of April, 2008, at about 30 minutes past midnight, police officer Elliot Hamm responded to a call in Brentwood. A resident had seen a man wandering around the area while dressed in black, wearing a mask and carrying a flashlight.
Driving around the area, Officer Hamm noticed Robert Jason Burdick in a Jeep, parked on the side of the road. As Robert Burdick started the Jeep up, Officer Hamm came over for a little chat.
Robert Burdick remained calm, cool and collected - as people should when talking to the police. When asked why he was in the area, Robert Burdick told Officer Hamm that he had just left a party, and that he’d had to park on the street due to a lack of parking space closer to the house. When the officer asked to search the Jeep, Burdick refused to allow him to do so, which was perfectly within his rights.
After collecting Robert Burdick’s information, Officer Hamm had no choice but to let him go. Of course, Officer Hamm checked into whether or not there had been a party…and there hadn’t been.
With that interesting tidbit of information in hand, Officer Hamm forwarded Burdick’s info to his police department’s Criminal Investigations Division. Investigators started 24-hour surveilance on Mr. Robert Jason Burdick, who was suddenly very interesting to everyone who had been working the “Wooded Rapist” cases.
Robert Burdick was followed to a Tee Gee’s restaurant, where he ordered the house special, ate and left. Detectives, who had been following Robert Burdick for several days, approached the manager of the restaurant, identified themselves and asked for the spoon, fork, soup bowl and glass that Robert Burdick had used during his meal.
The restaurant manager was happy to help, and police took in the items to be examined for DNA evidence.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the DNA profile that the grand jury agreed was responsible for several of the “Wooded Rapist” rapes matched the DNA collected after Robert Jason Burdick’s delicious and filling Tee Gee’s meal.
The police have their man, and the “John Doe” designation on that indictment will now be replaced with the name of Robert Jason Burdick. Other than Robert Burdick, his family and the women he recently dated - everyone’s pretty much happy about this development.
As of the time of this writing, Robert Jason Burdick hasn’t said anything to investigators. He is being held without bond, and faces a long, long time in prison.