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Evonitz survivor now a police officer
Teenager who escaped from Evonitz and led to his ultimate death is grown and is now a sheriff's deputy

 This photo, taken from a video on a South Carolina news report, shows Kara Robinson at her graduation ceremony.
WIS-TV, Columbia, S.C.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is being republished with the permission of WISTV - we encourage you to visit their Web site to view related videos. WISTV

Date published: 8/25/2010




--Among the graduates from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy last week was a young woman who helped solve three murders in Spotsylvania County.

Kara Robinson managed to escape from her kidnapper eight years ago, and in doing so, led investigators to her assailant, Richard Marc Evonitz.

Evonitz, who lived in Spotsylvania then, was responsible for the September 1996 slaying of 16-year-old Sofia Silva, and the May 1997 slayings of sisters Kristin Lisk, 15, and Kati Lisk, 12.

Their deaths had gone unsolved until Robinson escaped from Evonitz, who had moved to South Carolina.

View dozens or related stories related to these cases.

She stood out in her academy graduating class, the lone woman among several-dozen men. But as a crime fighter, the 23-year-old Robinson distinguished herself long before she ever put on a uniform.

The fact was recognized by the academy's director, who says Robinson had every reason not to choose a life in law enforcement. "But every now and then you see a person in our society who has uncommon dignity and courage," said Hubert Harrell.

Like her fellow graduates, Robinson had to endure nine weeks of vigorous training at the criminal justice academy. But her journey began more than eight years ago with an experience only she could understand.

On June 27, 2002, in Sarasota, Fla., a fleeing Evonitz put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger as police closed in on him. Evonitz had been identified as a suspect in the kidnapping and rape of a 15-year-old Lexington County, S.C., girl and the murders of three young women in Spotsylvania.

The rape victim was Robinson. Evonitz had held her in a plastic tub before he assaulted her.

"I kind of blocked it out at the time just because I had that survivor mentality and I knew that I was going to get out of there," Robinson said. "So at the time, I wasn't really focusing on everything that was happening. I was focused on the end result, the finish line."

Investigators said they might never have stopped Evonitz in Florida, if not for Robinson's ability to stay calm and remember details including the serial number on the plastic container.

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Local sheriff says Robinson's career choice is 'fantastic'

Spotsylvania County Sheriff Howard Smith had not kept up with Kara Robinson since she escaped from Richard Marc Evonitz eight years ago.

But the former head of the Lisk-Silva Task Force said yesterday: "I think it's fantastic" she is now in law enforcement herself.

He said he was "truly happy for her and that sheriff's office down there. She will be a great asset."

Because of her ordeal in the Evonitz case, "she's going to be able to take what she has been through and use that to help so many people she deals with."

Smith said the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office will send its congratulations to Robinson.

--Dick Hammerstrom