10-07-2016, 03:14 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Alicia Showalter Reynolds- Culpepper March 2, 1996
Alicia Reynolds, a grad student a John Hopkins, was driving from Baltimore south to Charlottesville, on Route 29, 5 miles south of Culpepper, to meet up with her mother. Another driver saw her standing next to her car with a man who was looking under her raised hood. It looked like she had broken down and the man was helping her.
Her car was later found at that spot, in perfect running order. Her body was found in a field about 15 miles away. Investigators learned that a number of women in that part of Virginia had encountered a man driving a pick up who tried to get them to pull over while pointing at their car as if something was wrong. Two women accepted his help and were taken to local service stations without problem but nothing turned out to be wrong with their cars. One woman, Carmelita Shomo accepted a ride and the man attacked her but she was able to get away but broke an ankle in the process. Law Enforcement named the unknown perpetrator the Route 29 Stalker although some of the incidents were on other roads in that general area of Virginia.
In June 2002, a 15 year old girl, who had been abducted off of the streets of Columbia SC and sexually assaulted in an apartment, escaped from her captor and was taken to the police. Her abductor, Richard Evonitz, knew he was in trouble and fled in his car to Florida. There, surrounded by police and under attack by a police dog, he fatally shot himself.
In his apartment. Law Enforcement found some notes and news clippings concerning three murders of young girls in Spotsylvania, Va in 1996-97. He had lived near there at the time. Further forensic tests confirmed that he had committed these murders.
Along with the notes on those crimes was what appeared to be directions to the area where Alicia's body was found. The directions were not that clear and there was nothing else tying him to the Route 29 Stalkings. Still, he was definitely considered a suspect but the investigation went nowhere and eventually went cold.
Then, in 2004, Darrell Rice was arrested for the assault of Carmelita Shomo. He was doing federal time for the 1997 assault of a female bicyclist in Shenandoah National Park. He had recently been charged with the high profile 1996 murder of Julie Williams and Lillie Winas, also in Shenandoah NP but those charges were dropped after DNA evidence cast doubt on his guilt.
The case against Rice for Shomo abduction was not strong. There was no physical evidence against him and the prosecution did not attempt to link Rice to any other Route 29 cases. The only evidence introduced was Shomo's testimony that she was "100% sure" Rice was the guy. The defense countered with evidence that Shomo had previously "positively identified" two other men and raised serious questions of her credibility. Before the case went to the jury, the prosecution offered a Rice a deal: take an Alford's Plea to a lessor charge and he could use federal time already served to complete the sentence. While this is technically a conviction on the case, it was pretty much the equivalent of dropping the charge. Rice served no additional time for the conviction and he still claims he is innocent. The Alicia Reynolds case and the other Route 29 Stalker cases are still unsolved.
It just so happens that one of the suspects Carmelita Shomo had identified was Richard Evonitz and the DNA evidence that caused the Williams/Winas case to be dropped was a partial profile found on duct tape used to bind Williams that could not have come from Rice but Evonitz was of the 8% of the male population that it could have.
Could Evonitz have committed the Williams/Winas killings, the Alicia Reynolds killing, and perhaps other murders of women in Virginia including the Colonial Parkway murders? His know crimes all involve abducting very young girls and sexually assaulting them before killing them. These other cases are very different but he wouldn't be the first Serial Killer whose MO "evolved" over time.
10-07-2016, 06:13 PM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
- Los Angeles, CA
My sister, Cathy Thomas, along with her girlfriend Rebecca Dowski, were the first two victims in the Colonial Parkway Murders. Based on everything we know, I don't think that Richard Evonitz was connected with the Colonial Parkway Murders. The cases are very different-- the Colonial Parkway case involves four couples, one lesbian and three straight, in lovers lane situations. Very different from the crimes that Evonitz was associated with before his death.
I do agree that some killers will modify their techniques over time, and in the interest of being thorough, Evonitz should be checked against the Colonial Parkway Murders, the Julie Williams and Lollie Winans case and the Alicia Showalter Reynolds/Route 29 Stalker case, but it is a real long shot that they are a match.
This story runs in the Richmond Times Dispatch this Sunday, October 9, which is the 30th anniversary of the Colonial Parkway Murders, starting with the death of our sister Cathy Thomas and her friend Rebecca Dowski.
There are other stories linked in the Colonial Parkway Murders section.
Brother of Cathleen Thomas
Los Angeles, CA
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