You’ve undoubtedly heard of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Dennis Rader, Richard Ramirez, and Eileen Wuornos — some of the most well-known serial killers in American history — but there are also less well-publicized serial murderers, and one of them has a bizarre Disney connection.
Serial killer, Richard Marc Evonitz, killed himself while surrounded by police in June 2002.
Evonitz abducted 15-year-old Kara Robinson Chamberlain three days before his death. Kara — now a 35-year-old motivational speaker — miraculously escaped, ultimately leading police to the would-be murderer’s Columbia, South Carolina apartment.
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.
An article about Kara’s harrowing ordeal noted that she was outside watering flowers for a neighbor:
…when a car drove past and came back moments later, pulling into the driveway.
The man behind the wheel was Richard (Marc) Evonitz, 38, who was prowling the neighborhood for his next victim after murdering three girls – Sofia Silva, 16, and sisters Kristin, 15, and Kati Lisk, 12 – years earlier.
Kara said the driver didn’t seem “creepy or scary” as he approached her and asked if her parents were home.
When she explained that her friend’s mum wasn’t home, Evonitz moved closer and said he was handing out brochures.
Kara said: “At the same time he put a gun up to the right side of my neck and to come with him or he would shoot me.”
Kara was forced into a storage bin, where she amazingly kept her wits about her, remembering the turns the vehicle, a green Pontiac Firebird, took and even memorizing the storage bin’s serial number.
Per the article, Kara said, “From that moment I kind of realized that he would probably not let me go and it would be up to me to get out and escape. I wanted to gather as much information as I could to figure out where I was and who he was to identify him later.”
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 magnets on his fridge, and realizing a woman lived in the apartment with him.
She suffered a panic attack when Evonitz put her back in the container while he called his wife, who was at Walt Disney World with his mother.
After two days, Kara launched her daring escape while Evonitz slept:
Kara said: “There was a solid 30 seconds of me looking at the door and thinking, ‘how am I going to do this?'”
In one swift movement, she moved the items [that were blocking the doorway], shoved the vacuum cleaner into the closet and slammed it shut, opened the front door and ran out.
Kara said: “That was probably the fastest my heart was beating the entire time I was there.
“I knew if I woke him up and wasn’t successful [in getting out] that would probably be when I would get hurt, and when his sadistic nature would kick in [she feared being shot in the back].”
Ultimately, as noted earlier, Kara led detectives to Evonitz’s apartment, but he had already fled. A People report about Kara’s bravery noted:
However, by the time authorities got there, Evonitz had fled.
Inside his apartment they found a locked foot-locker with newspaper clippings about the unsolved murders of three girls: Sofia Silva and sisters Kati and Kristin Lisk. They had all gone missing in Spotsylvania County, Va., 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 pursuit ended when Evonitz ran over spike strips and was forced to exit his vehicle. He was attacked by a police dog and ultimately shot himself while surrounded, rather than face the consequences of his actions.
Evonitz’s wife was still at The Most Magical Place on Earth while the entire sordid situation unfolded. Per a Washington Post report, she later expressed that she had no idea her husband was a murderer, though he did allegedly confess to his sister just prior to his death.
After playing a key role in solving Evonitz’s other murders, Kara was able to meet the families of both Sofia and the Lisk sisters. She shared with People:
“It was one of the most important things that’s ever happened to me,” she says. “Because it brought home the importance of what I did. Because I felt like, ‘Wow, I’m actually giving these families something that they never would’ve gotten without me.’ Just the closure of knowing that the person responsible for their daughters’ death is no longer here.”
Oxygen Network created a documentary about Kara’s ordeal and incredible survival. You can view a clip below:
Today, Kara runs a website, where she offers “hope and encouragement to other survivors.”
She also makes use of TikTok and Instagram where she “provides advice on how to heal, how to support, how to speak to victims of crime, and how to embrace a survivor mentality.” Her story has also been shared on numerous television shows, including Investigation Discovery’s On the Case With Paula Zahn.
What do you think about Kara’s amazing story?