Birthday: October 14, 1953
Died At Age: 65
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Robert Joseph Long, The Classified Ad Rapist, The Adman Rapist
Born Country: United States
Born in: Kenova, West Virginia, United States
Notorious As: Serial Killer
Spouse/Ex-: Cynthia Bartlett (m. 1974–1980)
father: Joe Long
mother: Louetta Long
Died on: May 23, 2019
place of death: Florida State Prison, Florida, United States
education: Broward College-Weston | Administrative Center
Who was Bobby Joe Long?
Bobby Joe Long was an American serial killer and rapist who was executed by lethal injection for the murder of Michelle Denise Simms. He was initially known for raping about 50 women by contacting them through classified ads. He thus earned the nickname of the “Classified Ad Rapist.” He later moved to Tampa Bay and went on a rape-and-murder spree. His victims were mostly young prostitutes. He would convince them to sit in his car, drive them to his home, rape them, and then kill them by strangling, bludgeoning, or slitting their throats. One of his last victims, 17-year-old Lisa McVey, somehow survived, but after being raped multiple times in an ordeal that lasted for 26 hours. She later helped the police arrest him. Bobby eventually received multiple life sentences and a death sentence for his crimes. Lisa McVey was one of the witnesses present at his execution on May 23, 2019.
Childhood & Early Life
Bobby Joe Long was born Robert Joseph Long, on October 14, 1953, in Kenova, West Virginia, U.S., to Louetta and Joe Long.
Bobby had an extra X chromosome, the “46,XXY,” also known as a type of Klinefelter syndrome. This results in more estrogen production and a few female traits, such as breast development, in men.
Thus, as a child, Long was bullied badly for his large breasts. He even had to go through a breast reduction surgery later.
He slept in his mother’s bed till his teenage years. He was also against her many boyfriends.
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In 1974, Bobby got married to his high-school sweetheart, Cynthia Bartlett. They had two children. However, in 1980, she filed for divorce.
Bobby initially lived on the 2500 Block of Eucalyptus Avenue, Long Beach, California.
In 1981, he started contacting women through classified ads such as the Penny Saver. He would respond to ads put up by sellers of small appliances, and whenever he found a woman alone at home, he raped her.
Bobby had raped at least 50 women in and around Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Ocala, and Dade County. He thus came to be known as the "Classified Ad Rapist" and was convicted for his crimes.
However, he then applied for a new trial, following which the charges against him were dropped.
In 1983, Bobby moved to the Tampa Bay area. The naked body of his first victim was found by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) in May 1984.
This started a long investigation and revealed that Bobby had kidnapped, raped, and murdered at least 10 women in the Tampa Bay area.
In 1984, Bobby was apparently on probation for assault. He would drive around in his Dodge Magnum, searching for his victims.
Most of his victims were prostitutes. He later claimed they had approached him. He convinced them get into his car. He then took them to his home, where he tied them up.
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He raped them and mostly strangled them to death, though he had murdered some of his victims by bludgeoning them or slitting their throats. Bobby then set his victims’ bodies up on "display."
His 10 known murder victims were Artiss Ann Wick (killed on March 27, 1984), Ngeun Thi Long (killed on May 13, 1984), Michelle Denise Simms (killed on May 27, 1984), Elizabeth Loudenback (killed on June 8, 1984), Vicky Marie Elliott (killed on September 7, 1984), Chanel Devoun Williams (killed on October 7, 1984), Karen Beth Dinsfriend, (killed on October 14, 1984), Kimberly Kyle Hopps (killed on October 31, 1984), Virginia Lee Johnson (killed on November 6, 1984), and Kim Marie Swann (killed on November 11, 1984). All of these murders took place within a span of 8 months.
There were others who had survived, such as Linda Nuttall, who was assaulted in May 1984, and Lisa McVey, who was assaulted on November 3, 1984.
It was Lisa McVey who eventually led the police on Bobby’s trail and helped them arrest him. On November 3, 1984, at around 2 a.m., Lisa McVey, then 17, was on her way home on her bike from the Krispy Kreme outlet where she worked.
Apparently, Lisa’s grandmother’s boyfriend had been sexually abusing her for a long time, and she had even contemplated suicide a few hours earlier the same day.
Before she could reach home, Bobby abducted her, blindfolded her, and took her to his apartment. He then raped her throughout a 26-hour period. Lisa, who had been depressed earlier, suddenly felt the need to live, during this ordeal.
Lisa used her intelligence and tried to get friendly with Bobby to save her life. He was impressed and even washed her hair in his bathroom. They had a long conversation, where Bobby spoke of his hatred for women. Lisa told him she wanted to be his girlfriend and also lied that her father had been sick and that she was his only caregiver.
While in his bathroom, Lisa touched whatever item she could, to leave as many fingerprints possible.
In the wee hours of November 4, Bobby asked Lisa to get into his car and drove to an ATM. There, Lisa peeked from under her blindfold and could just read the word “Magnum” written on the car dashboard.
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Bobby then drove a little further and let Lisa go, after telling her to keep her blindfold on for 5 minutes. After Bobby drove away, Lisa went straight to the police and told them about her ordeal.
Arrest, Trial, & Conviction
On November 16, 1984, Bobby was arrested near a movie theater. He was charged with sexual battery and the abduction of Lisa.
Investigators got a confession from Bobby regarding Lisa’s case. However, subsequent interrogation revealed Bobby was related to a large number of previously unsolved sexual crimes and homicides in the Tampa Bay region.
He was not provided an attorney and finally confessed to eight murders in Hillsborough County and one in Pasco County. DNA analysis by the FBI eventually linked Bobby’s car to most of the victims.
While the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office produced their evidence, the State Attorney and the Public Defender's Office of Hillsborough County decided on a plea bargain for eight homicides and the kidnapping and sexual assault of Lisa McVey.
On September 24, 1985, Bobby pled guilty to eight murders, as two of the 10 bodies of his supposed murder victims had not been found till after his arrest.
He received 26 life sentences without parole and seven life sentences with the possibility of parole 25 years later. He was also sentenced to death for the murder of Michelle Denise Simms.
In February 1999, he tried to disrupt the proceedings by accusing the Capital Collateral Regional Council of revealing his personal letters to an author, which meant they had broken their rules. However, the accusations were proved baseless.
The Florida Department of Corrections later stated that Bobby was eventually given four 99-year sentences, a 5-year sentence, 28 life sentences, and a death sentence. He was imprisoned at the Florida State Prison.
The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed Bobby’s death warrant on April 23, 2019.
On May 23, 2019, over 30 years after his conviction, Bobby was executed by lethal injection. He had roast beef, french fries, bacon, and soda for his last meal.
Interestingly, Lisa McVey, who is now married and works in law enforcement, was one of the witnesses of his execution and watched it sitting in the front row.
In Popular Culture
Bobby’s story has been the subject of many documentaries, such as The FBI Files, Forensic Files, Evil Lives Here (on ID), I Survived..., and On the Case with Paula Zahn (on ID).
The 2018 Lifetime TV movie Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey featured Rossif Sutherland as Bobby.