Hero's reward: Surviving teen gets $150,000 for nabbing Evonitz
MASSAPONAX, SPOTSYLVANIA– The 15-year-old South Carolina girl who escaped from alleged killer Richard Marc Evonitz after being raped and tied up received a $150,000 reward on Monday, August 26, for leading police to the man responsible for killing three Spotsylvania County girls.
The family of Kristin and Kati Lisk, two of the slain girls, presented the reward to the teenager, who was abducted after school in late June.
Investigators say Evonitz 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 18 hours later when her assailant fell asleep. She then led police to Evonitz, who fled to Florida and then killed himself after a high-speed chase.
A task force of law enforcement officers later concluded that Evonitz, 38, was responsible for the killings of 16-year-old Sofia Silva in 1996 and sisters Kristin Lisk, 15, and Kati Lisk, 12, in 1997. The investigators based their conclusion on physical evidence found in Evonitz's home and car including hair, fibers, and DNA analysis. In an especially chilling discovery, police found a fingerprint and palm print of Kristin Lisk inside the trunk of the 1992 Ford Taurus Evonitz drove while living in Spotsylvania and South Carolina.
Authorities say that in Virginia he failed to register as a sex offender, as required by law, despite his 1987 Florida conviction for sexual assault on a girl.
While his name has occasionally arisen in connection with the notorious 1996 murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds abducted from along Route 29, the modus operandi in that case was different, and the victim was older. Police are continuing to study physical evidence in that and other crimes to see if links to Evonitz can be established.
At the reward meeting last week, Ron Lisk, father of the Lisk sisters, thanked the teen survivor. "You will always be in my thoughts and prayers, I promise you,'' he said.
The Fredericksburg daily newspaper, The Free Lance-Star, reported emotional exchanges between the girl and the families of the three slain girls.
``I'm happy we're here honoring someone who is our hero,'' said Sheriff Leon Lott of Richland County, South Carolina. ``But it's a sad day, too.''
Money for the reward came from local governments, sheriff's offices, and community donations. The girl's parents said she will use some of the money to fix up her car and take a trip to New York City. The rest will go in a trust fund until she is 25.
``It's been hectic and emotional, but I loved meeting the families,'' the girl said.
Of Evonitz, she said, ``I'm so glad he's not around here to hurt anyone anymore.''