You’ve no doubt heard of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Dennis Rader, Richard Ramirez and Eileen Wuornos – some of the best-known serial killers in American history – but there are also less publicized serial killers, and one of them has a weird Disney connection.
Serial killer Richard Marc Evonitz committed suicide while surrounded by police in June 2002.
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Evonitz abducted Kara Robinson Chamberlain, 15, three days before her death. Kara – now a 35-year-old motivational speaker – miraculously escaped, eventually leading police to the would-be killer’s apartment in Columbia, South Carolina.
At the time of Kara’s abduction and subsequent sexual assault, Evonitz’s wife of three years, Hope Marie Crawley, was visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
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A post about Kara’s heartbreaking ordeal noted that she was outside watering flowers for a neighbor:
…when a car passed and returned moments later, parking in the driveway.
The man behind the wheel was Richard (Marc) Evonitz, 38, who prowled the neighborhood looking for his next victim after murdering three girls – Sofia Silva, 16, and her sisters Kristin, 15, and Kati Lisk , 12 – years earlier.
Kara said the driver didn’t seem “creepy or scary” when he approached her and asked if her parents were home.
When she explained that her friend’s mother wasn’t home, Evonitz walked over and said he was handing out pamphlets.
Kara said: “At the same time he put a gun to the right side of my neck and to come with him or he would shoot me.”
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Kara was forced into a storage bin, where she surprisingly kept her senses, remembering the turns the vehicle took, a green Pontiac Firebird, and even memorizing the storage bin’s serial number.
According to the article, Kara said, “From that moment on, I kind of realized that he probably wouldn’t let me go and it would be up to me to go out and escape. I wanted to gather as much information as possible to know where I was and who he was to identify him later.
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Throughout her multi-day abduction, Kara gained her captor’s trust by learning details about him, including:
… finding out he was in the Navy, memorizing the addresses of his dentist and doctor from his fridge magnets, and realizing that a woman lived in the apartment with him.
She suffered a panic attack when Evonitz put her back in the container while calling his wife, who was at Walt Disney World with her mother.
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After two days, Kara launched her daring escape while Evonitz slept:
Kara said: “I spent a good 30 seconds staring at the door and thinking, ‘How am I going to do this? “”
With a quick movement, she moved the objects [that were blocking the doorway]shoved the vacuum into the closet and slammed it open, opened the front door and ran away.
Kara said: “It was probably the fastest beat in my heart the whole time I was there.
“I knew that if I woke him up and didn’t succeed [in getting out] that would probably be when i got hurt, and when his sadistic nature kicked in [she feared being shot in the back].”
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In the end, as previously reported, Kara led detectives to Evonitz’s apartment, but he had already fled. A People report on Kara’s bravery noted:
However, by the time authorities arrived, Evonitz had fled.
Inside his apartment, they found a locked locker with newspaper clippings about the unsolved murders of three girls: Sofia Silva and sisters Kati and Kristin Lisk. They had all disappeared in Spotsylvania County, Virginia more than five years before Kara’s abduction.
Investigators were able to track the serial killer to Sarasota, Florida, where a high-speed chase ensued. The chase ended when Evonitz ran over spike strips and was forced out of his vehicle. He was attacked by a police dog and eventually committed suicide while surrounded, rather than face the consequences of his actions.
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Evonitz’s wife was still in the most magical place in the world while the whole sordid situation unfolded. By a Washington Post report, she later said she had no idea her husband was a murderer, although he allegedly confessed to his sister just before his death.
After playing a key role in solving the other Evonitz murders, Kara was able to meet with the families of Sofia and the Lisk sisters. She shared with People:
“It’s one of the most important things that’s ever happened to me,” she says. “Because it made people understand the importance of what I did. Because I was like, ‘Wow, I’m giving these families something they never would have gotten without me.’ Just the closure of knowing that the person responsible for the death of their daughters is no longer there.
Oxygen Network has created a documentary about Kara’s ordeal and incredible survival. You can watch a clip below:
Today, Kara runs a website, where she offers “hope and encouragement to fellow survivors”.
She also uses TikTok and Instagram where she “provides advice on how to heal, support, talk to victims of crime and adopt a survivor mentality”. Her story has also been shared on numerous TV shows, including Investigation Discovery’s On the Paula Zahn case.
What do you think of Kara’s amazing story?