FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — He beat their bodies and stuffed them in luggage tossing them onto the roadside as litter. Another woman who also worked the streets as a prostitute along Biscayne Boulevard was stabbed repeatedly and discarded in the bay.
For years this serial killer eluded police in Broward County. But Tuesday, Sheriff Gregory Tony and officials from the city of Miami Police Department said they found the killer: His body was exhumed from a grave in Brazil. The DNA matched. His death was not faked.
Roberto Wagner Fernandes of Miami fled back to his native Brazil after stabbing to death Jessica Good in late August 2001.
A year earlier in August 2000, authorities say he killed Sia Dema. The 21-year-old Wilton Manor woman was beaten and stuffed in a suitcase that was left along the road in Cooper City.
Weeks before that, Fernandes’ target was Kimberly Dietz-Livesey, 35, of Fort Lauderdale. Her beaten body was shoved in a duffle bag and left just blocks from the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office in Dania Beach.
Back home in Brazil the killing spree continued, police say. Fernandes was arrested for killing his wife though acquitted of the charge after claiming self defense. When Fernandes found out his slain wife’s family paid to have him killed, Fernandes tried to run again.
A licensed pilot, Fernandes plane crashed while fleeing Brazil for Paraguay.
Authorities say Fernandes also worked as flight attendant and a Miami tour bus driver.
Fernandes was identified Tuesday by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Miami Police Department. The cold case was solved in part using DNA evidence that allowed the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Miami police to exhume Fernandes’ body from its grave in Brazil, a country that doesn’t have an extradition agreement with the United States.
“We were fortunate that both our government here and the partnership we had with Brazil afforded these men and women an opportunity to further investigate and get to a point where they exhumed the body to connect DNA evidence confirming this suspect, Roberto Fernandes, was indeed responsible for the brutal murder of all three of these women,” Sheriff Tony said.
South Florida officials thought Fernandes might have faked his death to avoid prosecution for the killings in South Florida as well as to outsmart the hired assassins who were hunting him.
The Broward victims suffered from substance abuse and sometimes resorted to prostitution, and that could be how they met Fernandes, officials said.
Michael Livesey, the husband of Kimberly Dietz-Livesey, expressed gratitude to officials.
“Her addiction had taken her to different places,” Livesey said. He said the Cooper City police informed him of his wife’s death.
The past 20 years have been rough, not having answers, he said. Addiction, he said, is something he too knows. “It’s part of a disease we both shared.”
Livesey thanked officials for not giving up in their search for the serial killer.
There are possibly more victims, law enforcement announced.