CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) — On November 26, 1990 Ivelisse Beguerisse was leaving her job at the Sawgrass Mills Mall. Police believe the newlywed was likely heading home.
But she found two of her car tires slashed and she would never be seen alive again. Investigators say Beguerisse was abducted, bound, assaulted, strangled and dumped in a Coral Springs neighborhood.
Suspects were developed, leads were investigated but the trail to Beguerisse’s killer went cold.
According to Coral Springs Police, at the time DNA testing “used to identify the presence of semen…was found to be less accurate than current testing procedures.” Cold case detectives decided to look into the case again and, several weeks ago, learned that technicians at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab made a startling discovery: the DNA of a man named Oba Chandler was found on Beguerisse’s body.
Coral Springs Police say Chandler, who was executed in 2011 for a triple murder in St. Petersburg, was living less than two miles from the mall and quickly fled the area with his wife after the crime.
Detective Brian Koenig is one of the investigators on the case. He said that after Beguerisse’s murder there was tremendous fear about the random act of violence.
“(It was) Something that people were afraid of and now finding out years later who the suspect was, they had every right to be afraid,” Koenig told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.
In the St. Pete case in 1989, police say Chandler lured Joan Rogers and her daughters onto his boat, bound them and dumped their half-naked bodies into Tampa Bay with cinderblocks tied around their necks. He was arrested for the crime in 1992.
Investigators say even at his execution Chandler never admitted to any crimes.
“I believe when they went back into his cell (after the execution) he had written a note and it said that you’re killing an innocent man today,” said Detective Daniel Cucchi. “That was his response. So, he basically took it to his grave.”
Doreen Klein remembers being awakened by police in the middle of the night after a passerby spotted Beguerisse’s body beneath her mailbox more than two decades ago.
“It was almost like somebody came off the Sawgrass and decided I better dump the body quickly,” Klein said. “I’m glad they finally solved it.”
Even though Chandler will never stand trial for Beguerisse’s murder, detectives say the case proves once again the value of DNA testing and why police agencies can never give up on a cold case.
“It certainly gives the immediate family members some closure and they had been struggling with this tragedy,” Cucchi said. “They were certainly appreciative of our efforts in reopening the case.”
Police have informed other agencies that they should look at any unsolved murders in areas where Chandler lived.