Spotsylvania solution? Lisk-Silva suspect a Florida suicide

With the shocking story of a rape and suicide, a horrific mystery in Central Virginia history may have ended. Richard M. Evonitz killed himself in Sarasota, Florida, on Thursday, June 27, after a high-speed chase following the alleged rape of a 15-year-old South Carolina girl.

Evonitz has been named the number one suspect in three child murders in Spotsylvania County. At press time, the 1996 killing of 16-year-old Sophia Silva and sisters Kati and Kristin Lisk, 12 and 15, killed eight months later, are officially unsolved. But the circumstantial evidence against Evonitz is mounting: Evonitz lived in Spotsylvania around the time of the killings, his South Carolina apartment contained detailed notes about the road the Lisk sisters lived on as well as copies of newspaper stories about their disappearance.

There's also the evidence of his propensity for savagery. Like the Lisk and Silva girls, the teenager Evonitz is accused of abducting and raping was targeted after school.

Investigators say he approached the 15-year-old under the ruse of selling magazines. While the girl perused a magazine, he whipped a gun from inside another magazine, stuffed her in his trunk, and drove her to his house for hours of repeated sexual assault. The girl was able to escape when Evonitz fell asleep. After a police chase concluded with Evonitz surround by officers in Sarasota, Evonitz shot himself.

So is he a suspect in the Alicia Reynolds killing, the notorious 1996 murder of a woman on her way from Baltimore to Charlottesville's Fashion Square Mall? The modus operandi in that case was different; the victim was older.

"Certainly, we're looking for information," says State Police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell, "but at this point he has not been linked."

According the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, in 1987 committed a sexual assault in Florida, but he never registered as a sex offender in Virginia, as required by law.


For updates about this case, log on to