- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Lawmen in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida continue to look for more teenage victims of a rapist-killer suspected of kidnapping and killing three Spotsylvania teenage girls in the mid 1990s.

The suspect, Richard M. Evonitz, 38, fired a gun into his mouth and killed himself June 27 as Florida police closed in on him in Sarasota.

Within hours, Evonitz was linked to the 1996-97 kidnapping and murders of three Spotsylvania girls: Sofia Silva, 16, and Kristin and Kati Lisk, 15 and 12.

Scientific tests of Evonitz's DNA deoxyribenueleic acid, which is unique for each human may be completed already. Those tests are expected to establish irrefutable links to the Spotsylvania girls.

But the results will not be released until other laboratory tests are completed on about 200 pieces of evidence collected from Evonitz's body in Sarasota, Fla., and his apartment in Columbia, S. C., said Maj. Howard Smith of the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office.

That evidence included news clippings and handwritten notes about the three girls. Spotsylvania Sheriff Ronald Knight said other evidence included blood, hair and fibers.

Test results will be announced when they are complete, said Maj. Smith.

Meanwhile, the FBI is tracing where Evonitz lived, including the time while he was in the Navy, and before and after he was convicted in 1987 of exposing himself to a teenage girl in Clay County, Fla.

As that timeline is established, investigators will check records in those places to see if any unsolved kidnappings, rapes or murders of teenage girls occurred while Evonitz lived there, said Sheriff Leon Lott of Richland County, S.C.

"I get 50 calls a day from California to Florida," said Maj. Smith.

"We suspect that he is a serial killer. We suspect, but we haven't matched him up yet," said Sheriff Lott.

"We're doing a timeline," Sheriff Lott said. "We haven't got to the point of checking for other victims. It won't be too much longer."

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was primarily responsible for linking Evonitz to the Spotsylvania cases, and at least partially responsible for the timeline now under way.

The Richland Sheriff's Office asked the center's South Carolina office to check for similar cases like the one that led to Evonitz's flight from the kidnapping-rape of a 15-year-old Lexington, Va., girl on June 24 to Sarasota. He committed suicide rather than surrender to pursuing police.

The national center quickly saw the similarity of the Spotsylvania cases, and that Evonitz was living at that time in Fredericksburg, Va.

"I just knew this was the guy," said the center's Cathy Nahirny. "This guy appears to be a predator."

Miss Nahirny said law enforcement investigators "have a lot of evidence to go through."

Evonitz was briefly considered as a suspect in the slayings of the three girls, but evidence was insufficient.

Investigators have since determined that Evonitz left his job early on Sept. 9, 1996, when Sofia Silva disappeared from her home. And, he called in sick when the Lisk sisters disappeared on May 1, 1997.

The evidence is also being analyzed for any connection to the 1996 murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds, 25, a Baltimore student whose body was found in Culpeper County, Va.

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