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Trucker’s death inspires continued investigation into his double life as OTR rapist

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Details surrounding a trucker’s alleged double life as a rapist are coming out following his death earlier this year.

Truck driver Roy Nellsch was arrested on May 22nd, 2019 after a woman he allegedly kidnapped escaped from his truck following an intense fight between the two. The trial was ongoing when Nellsch died of acute lymphomic leukemia on March 10th of this year. 

Now, Nellsch’s wife has continued to refuse requests for comment, but Nellsch’s girlfriend and the aforementioned victim have come forward to share what they know about the actions of the now-deceased alleged rapist and kidnapper. 

Abbey Pimentel, Nellsch’s last and only confirmed victim, says that her trouble started prior to the danger Nellsch put her in. 

“My car battery was dead, my phone was dead, everything was dead. There’s tons of traffic, you’re just sitting there like a sitting duck,” Pimentel said of her situation on Interstate 24 near the Kentucky/Tennessee border. She says she didn’t know what to do when a passing semi truck pulled a u-turn and the driver asked if she needed help, reported News 4.

“Eventually Roy Nellsch did pull up behind me. Asked me if I needed help and I said, ‘Yeah, I do.’ I was at the point where I did feel desperate,” Pimentel said. She says she hopped in after he offered her a ride, but when he didn’t take the next exit, she knew she was in more than just car trouble. 

“I grab my purse, I look up at him, and I’m thinking I’m about to say thank you, and he has a gun pointed at me,” Pimentel said. “He said, this is a kidnapping, I’m going to rape you, get in the back of the truck.”

Pimental, once a soldier at Fort Campbell, says that the moment she made her way into the sleeper berth is the moment she knew she would have to fight. 

“I already know that I’m probably going to die, I’m not going down without a fight…. We’re wrestling for this gun. He’s on top of me. And I have the gun pointed at his face now. I’m on the bottom and he’s on the top, and I have the gun pointed at his face and I pull the trigger and nothing happened…. He just bashed me over the head with it. Really hard. I remember feeling warm liquid down my face. It was blood.”

Pimentel says that the fight basically ended after that. Nellsch handcuffed her, placed a blanket over her, and tried to tend to her wound with a paper towel. 

“While he was wiping the blood away from my face, I asked him three questions. I said, are you going to kill me? He said no, I’m just going to rape you.”

“He put handcuffs behind my back, and I remember thinking, ‘OK, Abbey, just comply with what he says or pretend you’re compliant, because that’s when you’re going to make your move. You’re gonna, you’re gonna do something. You’re not going to go down…’ I said, ‘are you taking me somewhere scary?’ And that’s all I could think to ask, and I kept thinking about those scary movies, that’s he’s going to have me in some cage and torturing me. He said, ‘no, I’m going to keep you in my truck with me, I’m taking you somewhere isolated.’” 

Pimentel says that Nellsch then lifted up her dress, but soon left her in the sleeper and went back to driving. 

“I would think about my kids, and every time, I would think about my kids names going through my head. I would get this adrenaline, this crazy amount of adrenaline going through my body and thought, you don’t have the right to take away their mommy… First I had to get my hand out of this handcuff,” she said. “Honestly, I didn’t care if I ripped my whole arm off. I was not going with that guy. I was not going to be raped by him. There’s no way… I ripped it out as hard as I could. Hard as I possibly could. It hurt, but I didn’t care.”

Pimentel says that moment is when she made her most desperate decision yet – throw a blanket over the driver’s head as they were moving down the highway to get the attention of anyone, even if it meant crashing. 

“I took the blanket and I just lunged towards him as fast as I could and threw the blanket over his head, and I put my arm around his neck and I squeezed my muscles around his neck. I grabbed the steering wheel with my other hand, and I started swirling around, like trying to tip the truck over… I was absolutely a crazy savage animal, fighting for my life,” Pimentel said. “It taught me I will do anything to survive.”

Nellsch then agreed to let her go if she let go of his neck, and even offered to unlock the remaining handcuff. 

“He said, ‘I never expected you to fight that much. I’ve never had anyone fight this much before,’ I was like, ‘whoa, he’s done this before.’ I thought, ‘wow, who am I dealing with here?’” but she didn’t stick around to find out. 

“I remember I jumped out of the semi. I remember I had one shoe on, one shoe off. Half a dress on.” Pimentel was eventually able to flag down help and contact police. Officers later uncovered two guns, knives, a bloody rope, a stun gun, sex toys, a bloody bag of women’s undergarments, and a ledger listing the names, ages, locations, and descriptions of women in the cab of Nellsch’s truck. It is not yet clear whether the names in that ledger match the description of any currently missing women. 10,000 images of child pornography were also discovered on a laptop inside the truck.

During a five hour interrogation on May 22, 2019, Nellsch explained the incident with Pimentel differently, accusing her of trying to manipulate him for money. 

“(Pimentel claimed Nellsch) said, ‘I’m going to keep you for a couple of days, and something along to the effect of I’m going to rape you,” said former Clarksville detective Dennis Honholt during the interrogation. 

“That you went in the back, and she fought with you. She said she did get a gun from you and pulled the trigger. And it wouldn’t shoot. She said she was handcuffed and was able to throw a blanket over you. And you yanked the wheel, she stopped, she got out and ran for help. That’s her version of events.”

“Part of that’s true,” Nellsch said, but he denied that she was the victim and instead placed himself in the position of victim. 

“[When I picked her up] She said, give me some money. (I said) for what? She said give me some money, or I’ll tell them you raped me,” Nellsch said. He says that only then did the fight start. 

Nellsch says that after the fight, he offered to drive her to the police and get her some medical attention. 

“Be honest with you – my initial thought was – I thought he’s a serial killer,” Honholt told News4

“Roy Nellsch really embodies evil. This to me was the pure embodiment of evil…. He seemed very well rehearsed. And watching it unfold in front of your very eyes – see quite frankly – what monster is coming out.”

Nellsch’s girlfriend has remained anonymous, but says that the two met during a dark period in her life through an unusual craigslist ad. 

“His ad was for a rape fantasy,” she said to News 4. “I’m not quite sure why I answered it. I thought, yeah, this sounds exciting, honestly.”

She says they arranged for him to come to her apartment. 

“He came in with a mask on. He came in with a knife. He cut my shirt off with the knife, and he got me tied up really easily. I was surprised at how fast I was on the floor, and he had my hands tied up. That’s when I freaked out a little bit, and the fantasy stopped there because I told him I do not like being tied up. I don’t like this. And he untied me,” she said. Despite her initial discomfort, the woman says the two then continued their relationship until he was arrested for the kidnapping of Abbey Pimentel in May of 2019. 

The anonymous girlfriend says that, before the arrest, she knew Nellsch as a kind trucker who said he was in love with her, despite having a wife and children. She admits he seemed to have some odd sexual tendencies, including a habit of picking up prostitutes while OTR, but that he seemed a caring person overall. 

“The thing that really got to me, that I was shocked over, was that he had a thing full of pins. And he had a stun gun,” she said. “So he would have these long pins – he would put them through their skin – and he would use the stun gun on the pins. I guess to intensify the stun.”

“He had a tire iron. I know he had some adult toys. He had rope. He had handcuffs,” she continued.

“He was talking about different women he had picked up, and (they) actually enjoyed doing that. I had gone into his truck probably two different times, and he had his bag of tricks in there. He had women’s bras hanging from one of the beds in there. I asked him about his wife – what she thought about that -and he said that this wife doesn’t ever go in the truck; she’s not allowed to.”

Looking back, Nellsch’s girlfriend says that he was likely lying to her about the women consenting to the sexual acts. 

“I do think he was lying. Definitely, I think he was lying…. I just feel like a complete fool. It’s super embarrassing for me. I’m shocked at my behavior. Looking back on it, and after going through therapy, I’m shocked about my behavior,” she said.

Nellsch’s girlfriend isn’t the only woman surprised at his apparent double life. Records reveal that Nellsch spoke to fellow truck driver Melissa Robinson while in jail, who was also surprised at the allegations of his violent behavior. 

“Saying what you did was heinous. It was evil. So I was like – that doesn’t sound like you at all,” Robinson said to Nellsch during a phone call while he was in jail. 

“They’re blowing it way out of proportion. But I figured they would,” Nellsch responded. 

Nellsch trained Robinson, and the two once rode together for over a month, but Robinson says she never got the feeling that he would force himself on women, and that he never approached her inappropriately. 

“Look, I knew there was stuff that Roy would stop and pick women up. He admitted that to me. But as far as being the type to try and force himself on women, being on the truck with him. No,” Robinson said. Robinson also maintains that the items in Nellsch’s truck were all trucking-related equipment. 

“That’s what I know it was. Equipment. Because I’ve been in Roy’s truck,” she said. “He intended to go to trial. And he reviewed the evidence package and said it had all kinds of holes he could punch in the prosecution’s story.”

Records show that Nellsch also spoke to his wife from jail, detailing steps she should take to ensure she has enough money to live in his absence, and repeatedly telling her that he loves her and their children. 

“I think the evidence suggests there were other victims,” said Brooke Schiferle, Asst. U.S. attorney in the Middle Tennessee district.

Nellsch would ultimately be charged with kidnapping, possession of child pornography, and transportation of child pornography, but the trial was never completed.

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