Robert Burmingham aka The Blue Light Rapist is investigated on Dead Silent

Mugshot of Robert Burmingham
Robert Burmingham was finally put behind bars for his crimes in 1997. Pic credit: Arkansas State Police

Dead Silent is investigating the case of The Blue Light Rapist, aka Robert Todd Burmingham, who terrified women in Arkansas in the 1990s.

Burmingham attacked numerous women over a two-year period, but he became most infamous for the kidnap and rape of Shannon Woods in Cross County in 1997.

On the night of July 11, 1997, 17-year-old Shannon was driving home when another vehicle overtook her and flashed a blue light indicating that they wanted her to pull over to the side.

Shannon was expecting to get a ticket, but instead, she found Burmingham standing at her window wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at her.

Burmingham told her to cover her face with a shirt and then forced her into his car before driving to a house in a remote location where he forced Shannon to have sex with him.

After the rape, Burmingham took his victim to a remote field where he ordered her to lie face down until he had left.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time that The Blue Light Rapist struck; the investigation into Burmingham lasted two years as he continued to terrorize female motorists across Arkansas. His actions spread fear throughout the state and led to an understandable increase in motorists failing to stop for genuine police officers.

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Thankfully, Shannon was key to bringing her attacker to justice; when questioned by the police, she gave a detailed description of the house where she was taken.

She was also able to describe the car used in the kidnapping. The investigators were then able to track the vehicle to Burmingham’s wife.

DNA evidence was key to charging Robert Burmingham

However, it was the DNA from Shannon’s rape kit that allowed the police to make an arrest. Burmingham was eventually arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping.

He was also charged with one other count of rape, and he was suspected of being the perpetrator in at least two other sexual assaults.

In 1997, Robert Burmingham was sentenced to 80 years in jail for rape, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping. A second case three years later led to him receiving a life sentence.

In May 2020, Burmingham died in jail after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 54. At the time, Shannon told reporters that she was relieved and “happy that he had passed.”

Shannon Woods was instrumental in changing the law in Arkansas that banned private citizens from possessing, buying, or selling blue lights, blue lens caps, or any police like insignia that would enable someone to impersonate law officers.

Shannon’s Law was passed in 2017.

More from Dead Silent

Follow the links to read about more despicable crimes profiled on Dead Silent.

Stacey Humphreys entered an estate agent in Powder Springs, Georgia, where he forced Lori Brown and Cindy Williams to strip before shooting them both dead and stole their cards. His main motive was robbery.

Bodhi Potter and Christopher Thompson were two high school sweethearts who attended a party at an abandoned bunker near Los Angeles, CA. At the end of the night, they were attacked by Collin McGlaughlin, David Brian Smith, and Cameron Thomson. McGlaughlin gunned them down just “for fun.”

Dead Silent airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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