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He Snatched Young Women From Their Homes In Broad Daylight — Who Were Richard Evonitz's Victims?
When Kara Robinson escaped her captor, Richard Evonitz, she helped police uncover a serial killer.
The image of the shadowy stranger snatching children in broad daylight made a lasting impact on the collective consciousness, but the truth is stranger abductions are very rare. Most children are kidnapped by someone they know, per the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
But that brazen kidnapper, the one operating in the clear light of day, does exist. Just consider Richard Evonitz, the serial killer who abducted Kara Robinson, the subject of the new Oxygen special "Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story."
On June 24, 2002, Robinson, then 15, was watering the plants at a friend's home in Colombia, South Carolina, when her friend went inside. It was then that Evonitz drove up and started chatting to her under the pretense of selling magazines -- before pointing a gun at her and forcing her into a Rubbermaid container in the back of his car, the New York Daily News reported in 2015.
Evonitz took Robinson to his apartment, where he restrained her, drugged her, and sexually assaulted her. His wife and mother were out of town on a trip to Walt Disney World, according to a 2002 Washington Post article. But Evonitz eventually fell asleep, and Robinson was able to slip out of her restraints and make a run for it. When she led police back to Evonitz's apartment, he was gone.
Investigators soon found evidence that Evonitz was responsible for the murders of three girls in Virginia: Sofia Silva, 16; Kristin Lisk and her sister Kati Lisk, the Associated Press reported at the time.
On September 9, 1996, Silva, a 16-year-old who had dreams of going to cosmetology school, sat on her family's doorstep doing homework when Evonitz kidnapped her. Her older sister was inside but hadn't heard a thing, according to the New York Daily News. Police initially treated it as a missing persons case instead of an abduction -- until Silva was found about five weeks later, dead in a swamp.
Kristin Lisk was a 15-year-old who was finishing up her first year of high school and like playing soccer. Her sister Kati Lisk was just 12 and enjoyed playing the clarinet and drawing, local outlet The Free Lance Star reported in 2002. The sisters disappeared from their yard on May 1, 1997.
A few days later, they were found dead in a river. Investigators suspected the the murders were linked to Silva's, The New York Daily News reported.
However, little headway was made in the case until Robinson led police to Evonitz. While searching his apartment, they found evidence connecting him to all three murders, according to the Free Lance Star.
Guns, ropes, and other tools for murder were also found, as were notes that signaled Evonitz had his eye on other potential victims. The notes contained the addresses of two other young girls and descriptions of them, The Associated Press reported.
"It is kind of scary that some guy was out there looking at me,” one of the girls described in the notes told the The Free Lance-Star, according to the AP report. “I want to know why he didn’t get me.”
And while Evonitz was described by those who knew him as a well-respected, married Navy veteran who was twice awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the 38-year-old had actually been in trouble with the law before, for masturbating in front of a teen girl, The Washington Post reported.
Evonitz fled his apartment after Robinson's escape and headed down to Florida. Along the way, he called his sister and confessed to killing someone and committing "more crimes than he can remember," according to the Washington Post.
Three days after kidnapping Robinson, authorities caught up to Evonitz in Florida and a high-speed ensued, ending when Evonitz shot himself and died.
It's never been determined if Evonitz was responsible for more than three murders.
For more on this case and Robinson's story, watch "Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story."