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Police: Suspect Confessed to Murder

September 9, 2002

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ A man has confessed to robbing, sexually assaulting and killing an 18-year-old Unification Church member who disappeared while soliciting donations door-to-door, police said Monday.

Eugene Evans, 21, was arrested hours after the body of Jin-Joo Byrne of Seattle was found Aug. 29 in a vacant apartment.

Detective David Phillips said Evans lured the young woman into the apartment Aug. 28, strangled her, sexually assaulted her and robbed her of money and the costume jewelry she was offering in exchange for donations. Evans claimed he was high on crack at the time, Phillips said.

Evans was arrested after tenants of the apartment complex told investigators they had seen the two together.

He was jailed without bail.

Byrne graduated from high school in Seattle in June and was among a group of Unification Church members who had traveled to Charlotte to investigate their faith or prepare for missionary work.

The Unification Church was founded in 1954 by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and claims 50,000 members in the United States.

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