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Police Convinced Evans Murdered Florida Prostitute

September 6, 1991

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A Texas drifter who said he killed 72 people provided information ″only the killer would know″ about the murder of a prostitute in 1985, police said Friday.

Donald Leroy Evans, 34, claimed to be a serial killer to support his claims to authorities in Gulfport, Miss., that he murdered a 10-year-old girl.

No other claims had been backed up until Fort Lauderdale police issued an arrest warrant for him Thursday in the murder of Ira Jean Smith, 38, whose body was found stuffed in a motel closet.

″There’s no question in our mind that he was in that room with that woman and that he was involved in her death,″ said police spokesman Ott Cefkin.

The warrant naming Evans was based on physical evidence linking him to the Smith murder and ″information that (Evans) presented to us and the Gulfport authorities that only the killer would know,″ Cefkin said.

Police say Evans’ fingerprints match those found on a bathroom tile in the motel room rented under the name Joseph Kenzie.

Smith’s death was attributed to a drug overdose, but the medical examiner’s office said at the time she may have been strangled.

The case probably will go to a grand jury for review, and prosecutors likely will seek Evans’ extradition after the Mississippi case is completed, Cefkin said.

Meanwhile, Daytona Beach police said they want to interview Evans about his claim that he killed a woman there in 1984 or 1985. The only unsolved murder at that time was that of Janet Movich, 38, a transient, whose body was found in a wooded lot.

Evans, who’s from Galveston, Texas, was arrested last month in the Mississippi case and charged with kidnap, rape and murder after leading authorites to the body of Beatrice Louise Routh. He has pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges. Sentencing is set for Oct. 24.

Evans led authorities on a fruitless search last week for the bodies of three women he claimed he killed in Arizona in 1985.

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