A 1992 cold case in the murder of a elementary school teacher was solved thanks to an amateur DNA sleuth, and a popular wedding DJ in Pennsylvania is now facing murder charges.
Christy Mirack, 25, had been beaten and raped before she was strangled to death in her Lancaster County apartment in December, 1992.
Raymond Charles Rowe, a 49-year-old also known as ‘DJ Freez’, was arrested last week after DNA sleuth CeCe Moore broke the decades old cold case in just a few days from her living room.
In an interview with 20/20 airing on Friday, Moore, whose a mother to a 13-year-old boy, will tell how she broke the case using DNA found at the crime scene, a genealogical website and her own expertise with family trees to identify Rowe as a potential suspect.
Authorities surreptitiously collected the DNA of Rowe, confirming he was a near perfect match to the DNA left at the crime scene which led to Rowe’s arrest.
In an interview with 20/20, Harry Goodman, who was the former principal at Mirack’s school, says he found her body back in 1992, and speaks with Moore about what he saw that day and how she was able to zero in on the alleged killer.
In his first ever interview, Goodman details how Mirack did not show up to work that day and was not answering her phone.
When he drove to her home, he found a disturbing scene.
Mirack, dressed and ready for her day of work, was dead. She had been raped, strangled and beaten in her home.
After new broke last April of how a genetic genealogy website led to an arrest in the Golden State Killer crime spree, Christy’s case heated back up.
Using the same techniques employed in that case, Moore concluded she had found a potential suspect with an almost identical DNA match.
Rowe, who is a husband and father, was arrested and charged with criminal homicide and sexual assault and a trial is expected to begin in May 2019.
A wooden cutting board, believed to have been used to attack her, was found by her body. An autopsy found wounds to her neck, back, upper chest and face.
‘We never let this case go,’ but investigators had run out of suspects, said Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman.
‘This has not been easy. But one of the reasons we’ve stuck with it and never forgotten it is it’s so disturbing.’
The DNA left at the crime scene by the assailant never triggered a match, and Rowe had not been a suspect during years of investigation, Stedman said.
In December 1992, Rowe lived about 4 miles from the apartment Mirack shared with a roommate, but it is unclear if they knew each other.
‘This killer was at liberty from this crime, this brutal crime, for longer than Christy Mirack was on this earth alive,’ Stedman said at a news conference.
After the suspect’s DNA was found to be a close match of one of Rowe’s relatives who had registered on a genealogy website, detectives launched an undercover operation at an elementary school where Rowe was performing on May 31.
This produced a water bottle and gum he had used, and state police subsequently established an alleged genetic match.