FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff’s Office and City of Miami Police Department announced Tuesday that they have linked a serial killer to the killings of three young women in South Florida decades after the women were killed.
The body of Kimberly Dietz-Livesey was the first to be discovered on June 22, 2000. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said her body had been placed inside a suitcase that was found along a roadway in Cooper City.
Weeks later, on Aug. 9, 2000, the body of Sia Demas was found stuffed inside a duffel bag along a road in Dania Beach.
Authorities said the serial killer, identified as Roberto Wagner Fernandes, who lived in Miami but was a Brazilian citizen, also killed Jessica Good, whose body was found floating in Biscayne Bay on Aug. 30, 2001.
Police said she had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest.
According to detectives, the three cases shared similar “fact patterns” and DNA evidence collected from all three crimes pointed to an “unknown culprit.”
“Also, fingerprints from the evidence collected at two crime scenes were a match. But the identity of the killer remained a mystery,” a BSO news release stated. “A major break came in 2011 when DNA from the Miami homicide matched the unknown suspect DNA profile collected from the Broward County murders. Additionally, fingerprints taken from Fernandes following the death of his wife years earlier matched the fingerprints from the crime scenes.”
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Authorities say Fernandes fled to Brazil days after Good’s murder on Sept. 1, 2001.
Following the local homicides, police said Fernandes had been arrested for the killing of his wife but he was acquitted.
Her family, however, allegedly paid to have him killed, leading Fernandes to flee from Brazil to Paraguay.
Fernandes was killed on his way to Paraguay when the plane he was on crashed in 2005, authorities said.
Police said they had Fernandes’ body exhumed to ensure that he didn’t fake his own death. They said DNA from the body confirmed that it was that of Fernandes.
Despite his death, authorities hope that knowing the identity of their loved one’s killer brings closure to the victims’ families.
“Broward County has always had our backs,” Dietz-Livesey’s husband Michael Livesey said Tuesday. “These men and women never gave up over the course of the past two decades.”
Detectives believe Fernandes may be responsible for other murders in the U.S. during the time he lived here. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Zachary Scott at 954-321-4214 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).