More than 20 years after three young women were found brutally murdered in South Florida, authorities have identified the serial killer who they say is responsible for the cold case slayings, years after he fled the country and was killed in a plane crash.
DNA evidence helped detectives identify Roberto Wagner Fernandes as the man responsible for the three murders that occurred over 14 months between 2000 and 2001, officials with the Broward Sheriff's Office and Miami Police Department said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
"Justice never expires," Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
Fernandes was linked to the murders of two women in Broward, including Kimberly Dietz-Livesey, whose body was discovered in a suitcase in Cooper City on June 22, 2000, and Sia Demas, whose body was found in a duffel bag in Dania Beach on Aug. 9, 2000.
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The body of the third victim, Jessica Good, was found floating in Biscayne Bay on Aug. 30, 2001.
Officials said Fernandes, who lived in Miami but was a Brazilian citizen, fled to Brazil on Sept. 1, 2001.
Fernandes was later killed in 2005 when the plane he was on crashed while traveling between Brazil and Paraguay, officials said.
"Knowing his last minutes on Earth were probably full of terror makes me feel a little better, but at least today we can provide answers to the families as far as what happened to their loved ones and the person who was responsible," BSO Det. Zachary Scott said.
His body was exhumed in late 2020 and early 2021, and DNA collected was connected to the three crime scenes, officials said.
In 1996, Fernandes had been accused of murdering his wife in Brazil but was acquitted, authorities said. He had been a person of interest in several violent crimes against women in Brazil and had been identified as a suspect in a 2003 rape, authorities said.
Authorities said Fernandes worked for a tour company in Miami, and a van from the company was found at his apartment. DNA from the van was also used to link him to the murders, officials said.
"We have waited 20 years and never thought we would have closure but the collaboration of all these law enforcement departments has brought that to us," said Michael Livesey, the husband of Kimberly Dietz-Livesey.
BSO officials said they believe Fernandes may be responsible for other murders in the U.S. and are asking anyone with information to contact them at 954-321-4214.