The murder of Sonya Evanoff by Matthew “Matt” Owens is featured in the latest episode of The Night Predator on Investigation Discovery.
On August 12, 2003, Evanoff was reported missing by her roommate, after she failed to return to their home in Nome, Alaska. That same day, a man named Jon Larson, who volunteered to search for Evanoff, found her lifeless body on the side of the roadway near an abandoned gold mine on Dredge 5.
A medical examiner determined that the 19-year-old had been shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber gun at point-blank range.
Owens, a police officer with the Nome Police Department, was arrested in connection with Evanoff’s murder after a witness told investigators that they saw her get inside a police vehicle.
He was charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.
It wasn’t long before four young women came forward and told police that they were followed, picked up, and/or had sexual intercourse with Owens as he patrolled the streets of Nome.
He denied those allegations, including picking Evanoff and murdering her.
However, an investigation revealed that the bullet found in Evanoff’s head matched the bullets from Owens’ gun.
Prosecutors said after Owens killed Evanoff, he staged a patrol car theft and left a note addressed to the police on the seat.
Owens made it appear that the killer wrote the note, confessing to killing Evanoff. When police found it, he told his wife that it would clear his name, but investigators said the paper came from a printer that Owens had access to.
His case went to trial, and on December 6, 2005, a jury found Owns guilty of murdering Evanoff. He was later sentenced to 101 years in prison.
He appealed his murder conviction but was denied.
The Night Predator airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.