September 07, 2021
Roberto Wagner Fernandes, a Brazilian national who died in a plane crash in 2005, has been identified as a serial killer responsible for the slaying of three women in the early 2000’s.
Roberto Wagner Fernandez had been the suspect in a handful of cases back in his home country of Brazil. He has also been accused of killing his own wife, however, was acquitted in 1996, after claiming it was a case of self defense. He moved to Miami, Florida in the late-nineties and stayed there until around 2001 before returning to Brazil.
During the time Fernandes lived in Miami, three women turned up dead in South Florida. In the summer of 2000, a woman's body was discovered in a suitcase that had been discarded on a road in Cooper City. The body was later identified as that of Kim Dietz Livesey, who was last seen bidding goodbye to her roommate in El Portal.
She had planned to meet her estranged husband and although the two were supposed to meet at an AA meeting at 10pm that night, Kim never showed up. Her body was discovered at around 8am the following morning by a couple attempting to escape traffic. The pair noticed a brown suitcase and got out to inspect it. When neither of them could lift it, they unzipped it to reveal a grisly contents. Kim Dietz' body had been crammed inside the suitcase, she was naked with obvious injuries to her head and body and dried blood flaking off her skin. The clothes she was last seen wearing were found underneath her. At the time she was murdered, Kim was a sex worker. Previously she managed five branches of General Nutrition Centres and was married to a car mechanic. The couple had lived in Oakland Park with their daughter and were well liked by neighbors. Unfortunately, Kim began using drugs and abusing alcohol following a bout of postpartum depression. Kim had issues with addiction in the past that she had managed to beat with the help of rehab, but she was unable to get clean again and her husband eventually filed for divorce and custody of their daughter in May of 2000.
By June, Kim would be found dead.
A second body would be found in a bag less than two months later. A dog walker happened upon a large black duffle bag in Dania beach. The bag was heavy and looked stuffed to capacity, so she unzipped it just enough to reveal bruised and bloody skin. The woman quickly contacted police who later identified the body as that of Sia Demas, a 21-year-old woman who had also suffered from struggles with drug abuse. She too had a child, a young son with whom she stayed in various drug dens in the South Florida area. Just like Dietz, Demas had been brutally beaten to death before being stuffed into a bag and carelessly discarded.
The following year, in 2001, the body of a woman was discovered in Biscayne Bay, Miami. The body was identified as that of 24-year-old Jessica Good, who just like the women before her, had battled with drug and alcohol addiction and turned to prostitution to fund the habit. Unlike the other victims, however, Jessica Good had been stabbed to death.
When news of the victim’s discovery made the headlines, Roberto Wagner Fernandes made a quick exit from the U.S and returned to Brazil. After police talked to Good’s boyfriend Fernandes had become a suspect in her murder. He was also a suspect in several cases in Brazil and despite cooperation between both nations, bureaucracy made the investigation difficult.
A few years later, Fernandez died in a plane crash while flying to Paraguay.
Roberto Wagner Fernandes' fingerprints, which had been kept on file following the investigation into his wife’s murder in 1996, were matched to the fingerprints found at the Good crime scene. Investigators discovered the match when the evidence was tested in 2011.
Wanting to take a sample of Fernandes' DNA, U.S investigators flew to Brazil, unaware that the suspect had passed. They soon discovered that the suspect had amassed enemies in Brazil, including his deceased wife’s family, who wanted him dead and had allegedly hired hitmen to eliminate him. At a recent news conference about the case, a detective stated that there were a lot of "circumstantial things" discovered during the trip to Brazil that suggest Fernandes may have faked his own death.
U.S investigators were recently able to persuade a judge to exhume Fernandes’ remains so they could collect DNA. The profile proved to be a DNA match to that of the killer’s profile in the murders of the Florida women. Fernandes killed the three women in a short span of time, and it is for this reason that investigators believe he may be responsible for many more unsolved homicides in the state.
“These types of atrocities, as you can imagine, devastate the community and devastates the families because they have no closure. Justice never expires,” said Sheriff Tony of the Broward County Sheriff’s department.
January 11, 2022