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End came with love, fear, horror
Family members cope with questions about why Evonitz did what he did

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Date published: 6/16/2004

The series

Richard Marc Evonitz forever changed the way area residents view the community. After his crimes, Fredericksburg never seemed as safe.

In September 1996, Sofia Silva, 16, disappeared from her front porch in Spotsylvania County. Her body was found five weeks later in a King George County creek. In May 1997, 15-year-old Kristin Lisk and her 12-year-old sister, Kati, vanished from their front yard in Spotsylvania. Their bodies were found five days later in the South Anna River.

The murders remained unsolved until 2002, when Evonitz abducted and raped a girl in South Carolina. He fled, then committed suicide while surrounded by police in Florida. Later, authorities identified him as the Lisk–Silva killer.

In the two years since his death, federal, state and local investigators have tried to link Evonitz to other crimes, compiling an inch-thick timeline of his life.

Their continuing work has unlocked some of the mystery that surrounds the man: the why behind his crimes, and the nature and extent of his dangerous perversions. Next year, the FBI will invite law enforcement officers from places where Evonitz lived or traveled to be part of an investigators’ working group in Quantico. They will focus on possible links between Evonitz and unsolved crimes.

This four-part series is based on interviews with investigators and members of Evonitz’s family, and a review of public documents from Florida, South Carolina and Virginia. A WARNING: Evonitz's sexual obsessions are key to understanding him. They are recounted here in detail that some may find disturbing. Indeed for the families involved, and for many others in the community, any review of these cases would be painful. But perhaps that pain will be bearable if these newly revealed facts help us to understand how a man capable of performing these misdeeds could live among us. From that knowledge, this community may gain some insight into how such crimes could be prevented in the future.

—The Editors

The victims

Sofia Silva

The 16-year-old Courtland High junior wanted to go to cosmetology school and loved the color purple.

Kristin Lisk

At 15, the Spotsylvania High School freshman played soccer and had an affinity for ladybugs.

Kati Lisk

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