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FMPD: Murder victim could be connected to SWFL serial killer

Investigators believe case is related to the Hog Trail Murders
Investigators explain why they think Hog Trail Murders are related
Posted at 8:41 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 21:02:19-04

The case with a string of horrific murders that happened right here in South West Florida recently had a major break in the case.

Tuesday, Fort Myers Police announced the identity of one of the eight victims found murdered in Fort Myers.

The victim is Rober Soden, also known as "Bobbie".

His remains were with seven others that were found in the woods that day.

Investigators believe this victim is tied into 'The Hog Trail Murders'.

They believe 68-year-old Daniel Conahan is the killer. Conahan is currently on death row for the kidnapping and murder of Richard Montgomery back in the 90s. This is considered one of the most gruesome murder cases in Florida's history.

With the recent discovery from Fort Myers Police identifying a suspected victim of Conahan's, we asked why police and deputies think eight murders in Fort Myers and at least eight more bodies found in Charlotte County are connected.

“With this many bodies, in this condition, they all had to be related,” said Fort Myers Police Investigator Matt Alberto. "There was an estimate that they were there for about 10 years."

Fort Myers Police investigator Alberto reflected on the day Fort Myers Police discovered the eight bodies in the woods back in 2007. The victims would later be known as the "Fort Myers Eight".

"Somebody that did this has to be a serial killer," Investigator Alberto said.

Investigators explain why they think Hog Trail Murders are related
Photo of Daniel Conahan in court

Investigators believe Daniel Conahan is the person behind it all. He is accused of torturing numerous men in Southwest Florida going back nearly 30 years ago.

In 1996, Conahan's arrest began the work to try to unravel all of the killings. Three years later a judge found Conahan guilty of killing Richard Montgomery.

“I think they considered him to be the first found victim of Daniel Conahan," said Mike Vogel, with the Major Crimes Cold Case Homicide Unit. "Later on there was another body that was found and identified here in Charlotte County.”

Suspected victim of Daniel Conahan
Charlotte County suspected victim of Daniel Conahan

The discovery of bodies in Charlotte County, starting in 1994 had a common theme. Police and deputies believe Conahan targeted gay men, mutilated them, and dumped their bodies in the woods.

“The manner in which all of the victims were killed, their lifestyles," said Detective Vogel. "It was the type of lifestyle that Conahan would seek out."

Investigator Alberto said when police discovered the eight men in the woods in 2007, it had to be a serial killer.

“We’ll he and I talked several years ago, he denied any knowledge of any of the victims here, or Charlotte, or anywhere else, he continues for his innocence about the death he was convicted of and really just didn’t want to participate in any conversation about it."

Alberto said that the cold case unit is already looking into identifying the fifth victim.

With Conahan already on death row, the Fort Myers Police Department is focusing more on using its resources to identify all eight men and give their families closure. The department plans on using the same genealogy research program that led to identifying Soden.