Trail in Decades-Old Florida Killings Leads to Brazilian Man

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Roberto Wagner Fernandes, who died successful a level clang successful Paraguay successful 2005, killed 3 women whose bodies were recovered successful Miami and Broward County successful 2000 and 2001, the authorities said.

From left, Kimberly Dietz-Livesey and Sia Demas, who were some  beaten to death, and Jessica Good, who was stabbed.
Credit...Broward County Sheriff's Office, via Associated Press

Aug. 31, 2021Updated 7:31 p.m. ET

A antheral who died successful a level clang successful Paraguay successful 2005 was liable for the deaths of 3 women whose killings successful South Florida remained unsolved for 2 decades, the authorities said Tuesday, citing advances successful crime-scene exertion and years of detective enactment crossed 2 continents.

The murders started successful June 2000, erstwhile the assemblage of Kimberly Dietz-Livesey, 35, was recovered successful a suitcase connected a roadside successful Cooper City, Fla., southwest of Fort Lauderdale, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Miami Police Department said.

Several weeks later, the assemblage of Sia Demas, 21, was recovered successful a duffel container adjacent Dania Beach, besides successful Broward County. A twelvemonth later, the assemblage of Jessica Good, 24, was spotted floating successful Biscayne Bay, successful Miami.

Ms. Dietz-Livesey and Ms. Demas had been beaten to death. Ms. Good had been stabbed. All 3 had struggled with substance maltreatment and had turned to prostitution, detectives said.

After interviewing Ms. Good’s boyfriend, the authorities said, they rapidly identified a fishy successful her death: Roberto Wagner Fernandes, a Brazilian national surviving successful Miami who instantly fled to Brazil aft the killing.

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Credit...Broward County Sheriff's Office, via Associated Press

Mr. Fernandes’s abrupt departure for Brazil presented detectives with a bid of bureaucratic challenges, said Detective Zachary Scott of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. But helium said that “as the years person gone by,” the Brazilian authorities “has been thing but adjuvant successful this investigation, partially due to the fact that Mr. Fernandes’s sanction has travel up successful respective investigations successful Brazil arsenic well.”

A interruption successful the lawsuit came successful 2011, erstwhile investigators matched DNA collected during the probe of Ms. Good’s execution with the DNA illustration of the fishy successful the Broward murders, the Sheriff’s Office said successful a statement. Investigators said they besides learned that Mr. Fernandes’s fingerprints were taken successful 1996, erstwhile helium was charged successful Brazil with murdering his wife. He was acquitted successful that lawsuit connected a self-defense claim, investigators said, but the Brazilian authorities turned implicit a acceptable of his fingerprints from the 1996 probe that matched those recovered astatine the Florida transgression scenes.

Detectives flew to Brazil to instrumentality DNA grounds from Mr. Fernandes, lone to larn that helium had died successful a level clang connected the mode to Paraguay from Brazil successful 2005.

Investigators were wary. Detective Scott said astatine a quality conference connected Tuesday that “there were a batch of circumstantial things that were discovered successful Brazil” that led the authorities determination “to judge that helium whitethorn person faked his ain death.”

Moreover, Mr. Fernandes “had amassed a definite magnitude of enemies” successful Brazil, Detective Scott said. His deceased wife’s household “apparently harbored immoderate sick feelings toward him,” Detective Scott said, “and it was believed that they had paid others to effort to termination him,” prompting him to fly the country.

So detectives continued their investigation, moving with the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Brazilian National Police.

A Brazilian justice was precocious persuaded to bid the exhumation of Mr. Fernandes’s body, investigators said, and his sedate was opened successful October. Mr. Fernandes’s remains were found, and his DNA illustration was accordant with the fishy illustration created from the Florida murders, investigators said.

Based connected Mr. Fernandes’s signifier of convulsive behavior, the authorities said successful their statement, “part of this tragic communicative whitethorn sadly inactive beryllium unwritten.” It is possible, they said, that helium was liable for different killings successful the United States. Anyone with accusation is urged to interaction Broward Crime Stoppers astatine 954-493-8477 oregon to taxable a extremity astatine browardcrimestoppers.org.

The Broward County sheriff, Gregory Tony, said that detectives — immoderate retired, immoderate present deceased — ne'er stopped trying to lick the murders truthful the families of the victims would cognize what had happened to their loved ones.

“These types of atrocities, arsenic you tin imagine, devastate the assemblage and devastates the families due to the fact that they person nary closure,” Sheriff Tony said.

He added, “Justice ne'er expires.”

The information that Mr. Fernandes was ne'er brought to justness for his crimes inactive troubles investigators.

“I privation we were up present showing you his mug shot,” Detective Scott said astatine the quality conference. “Unfortunately we were deprived of that pleasure. Knowing his past minutes connected Earth were astir apt filled with panic makes maine consciousness a small better.”

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