Man With Violent History Has Ties To Area

Police In Duval, Clay Counties Re-Examining Unsolved Cases

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A suspected serial killer with a record of crimes against children took his own life in South Florida last month, perhaps taking answers to a string of violent crimes to the grave with him.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office has confirmed to Channel 4 that it is looking at Richard Evonitz as a possible suspect in the murder of 14-year-old Jennifer Medernach earlier this year.

They stress that there is no indication he was in the area at that time of the killing, and said they are one of 20 police agencies that are examining unsolved crimes from the times Evonitz was in their area.

Duval County officials is one of those agencies looking at unsolved cases that could be tied to Evonitz.

"We do have a connection of him being in this city in the late '80s," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Rick Graham said late Thursday. "We will be going back to that time period and looking to see if there's possibilities that Mr. Evonitz could be connected to any unsolved murders back in that era."

Several law agencies are working with the FBI to solidify Evonitz's activities over the last 10 or more years, to see if there are any unsolved murders that fit the profile and coincide with his movements

Evonitz shot himself to death June 27 at the end of a police chase in Sarasota. He was being sought for the alleged kidnap and rape of a teenage girl in South Carolina.

She escaped June 24, and police found clippings and other materials in Evonitz's home, linking him to the kidnapping and murder of three girls in Virginia in 1996 and 1997.

Police in another jurisdiction in Virginia are investigating Evonitz in another murder in 1997.

Police issued an all-points bulletin for Evonitz, and he was spotted in Sarasota a week later.

Evonitz lived in Clay County in 1987 while he was a sailor stationed at Mayport Naval Station. He has a Clay County conviction for lewd and lascivious activity with a child under 16, for which he served three years of probation.

Channel 4 is developing more information on this case and will have updates on Eyewitness News at Ten.

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