Kara Chamberlain’s story — Her escape and life after detailed

Kara Chamberlain

Most people know Kara Robinson Chamberlain as the TikTok star who advises on dealing with stress and trauma. However, few comprehend the events that led to her decision to speak about mental health and survival. 

In June 2002, Kara was watering flowers at her friend’s house as she waited for the friend to prepare for a trip to the lake. A friendly-looking man, Richard Evonitz, approached her, pretending to hand her brochures. Richard placed a gun on Kara’s neck, abducted the teenager, and raped her several times in his apartment. 

Eighteen hours after the abduction, however, Chamberlain had escaped her captor. 

Robinson memorized details about her abductor, helping police identify him

Richard Evonitz led Kara to a storage bin in the back seat of his Trans Am. Kara said she felt no fear as she started to identify details about her captor. 

She counted the turns Evonitz made, identified the station he was listening to and the cigarettes he was smoking, and memorized the serial number of the storage bin. After arriving at Evonitz’s apartment – a cluttered dwelling that housed a lizard, a guinea pig, and other small animals – he assaulted Kara repeatedly. 

Kara remained calm, looking for clues that could identify him. She refused to eat and offered to clean his house, gradually gaining his trust. Sheriff Leon Lott of Richland County told People that Kara’s tactics probably saved her life:

“She was just putting him at ease and making him feel comfortable, gaining his trust. And that’s what police negotiators do. She controlled her emotions to the point where she was able to develop a plan.”

As Evonitz slept in the early morning hours, she slipped out of her restraints and tiptoed out. She asked two people inside a car in the parking lot to take her to the police station. Kara reported the crime and led police to Richard’s apartment. 

Evonitz was gone by the time police arrived. In the house, police found evidence linking Richard to the murders of three Spotsylvania County, Virginia, girls – Sofia Silva and sisters Kati and Kristin Lisk – five years prior. 

The discovery showed that Evonitz might have killed Kara had she failed to escape. Police tracked Richard to Florida, where he shot himself following a high-speed chase. 

Richard Evonitz
Serial killer Richard Evonitz killed himself in 2002

Authorities reward Kara with $150,000 for helping solve the Virginia murders. She told People:

“It was one of the most important things that’s ever happened to me. Because it brought home the importance of what I did. Because I felt like, ‘Wow, I’m actually giving these families something that they never would’ve gotten without me.’”

Kara became involved in police work after her stunning escape

After her escape, Kara involved herself in police work. She worked with Richland County Sheriff’s Department in victim services and the DNA lab during her time in high school and college. 

Kara then enrolled in the police academy to become a school resource officer. During her time at the academy, an instructor started teaching a lesson about her case. Robinson made a TikTok video about the experience, earning millions of views. 

Kara explained that she was the only woman in her class and earned a standing ovation at her graduation. After telling the class that she was the subject of the instructor’s story, her classmates embraced and supported her. She told BuzzFeed News:

“They all kind of surrounded me with support and love, like, ‘Wow, we are so proud of you.’ So it was a very supportive environment for me to be in… I didn’t really feel any different than anyone else would have.”

During her time in law enforcement, she investigated child abuse and sexual assault cases. She quit working with the police after welcoming two sons alongside her husband, Joe Chamberlain. 

Robinson took up public speaking after discovering that her story could empower women

Kara Chamberlain

Kara appreciated the value of motivational speaking after she and five other survivors shared their stories on the Lifetime special Smart Justice to support Jayme Closs, a teen who’d escaped her captor in 2019. Robinson said:

“That was the moment that I realized that I really had a bigger purpose. I knew that I could find a reason for what happened. And I always knew that what happened to me was something that happened so that I could help other people.”

Robinson said she experienced healing talking to women who understood what she’d been through. Kara realized that she owed a duty to women, a third of whom experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, to speak about her experience. She explained:

“They may never get the opportunity to sit down and to talk to someone who really understands what they went through. And I thought, if I can do that, if I can bring that to other women in some way, shape or form, that would just be the epitome of my purpose, if I could just help other people.”

Kara worked with Elizabeth Smart to create the Oxygen documentaryEscaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story. Robinson set up a website, and after realizing she could reach more people via social media, she created Instagram and TikTok accounts

Kara shares videos about her story, answers questions about dealing with trauma, and provides advice on escaping certain situations. Robinson is writing a book about her experience as she continues sharing advice on social media.

Kara Chamberlain

Kara uses exercise to deal with the trauma of her abduction

Robinson told People that therapy is a great way to find healing, but it may not be available to some survivors or be a great fit for them. Fortunately, there are other ways to heal, including exercise, Kara’s preferred healing tool. She told the outlet:

“Exercise is a huge thing for me, as far as my mental and physical wellness. It keeps me very centered and grounded, but there’s also a lot of other tools, whether it be meditation or breathwork or tapping emotional freedom therapy.”

Kara wrote on Instagram on 21st June 2022: “Fitness has been a major aspect of my healing journey the last few years. Because I get to redefine who I am, what makes me strong, and how capable and adaptable my body is. It helps me redefine my power and reclaim my body.”

Robinson’s commitment to fitness has led to business opportunities: she’s currently partnering with clothing brand P’tula. 

Robinson believes there should be a media standard for telling true crime stories

Production houses are currently competing to satisfy what seems to be an insatiable demand for true crime content. A true-crime production appears on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime seemingly every couple of weeks. 

Kara has no issue with true crime shows or films, but victim representation in the productions concerns her. She told People that there should be a media standard for telling true crime stories to protect the victims. 

“There is no media standard for how victim’s stories are told, how they’re represented, how they’re treated,” 

Robinson believes that media houses should promote trauma-informed true crime. To avoid re-victimizing or triggering victims, production houses should employ empathy and avoid sensationalizing when telling true crime stories. 

She also opines that media houses should seek the consent of victims before telling their stories. On 14th May 2022, Robinson wrote on Instagram:

“Victims can be re-victimized, triggered, or targeted because of it. They can be blamed or second guessed. Families can be threatened. Consent to share isn’t given but taken and very often stories are stolen and exploited. As a rule, true crime is not bad. It can be done well and done right.”