DNA breaks 27-year coldcase – Genealogy Database, Chewed Gum Help Convict Pennsylvania DJ in ’92 Killing of Teacher- Raymond Charles Rowe, jailed for life for 1992 murder of elementary teacher Christy Mirack
Time up for killer Pennsylvania DJ, 50, ending nearly three decades murder mystery
Raymond Charles Rowe apologized in court Tuesday for killing 25-year-old elementary school teacher Christy Mirack at her apt in Lancaster, in Dec 1992
Mirack who showed evidence of a violent sexual assault, suffered a broken jaw before she was strangled
Investigators tracked the suspect with DNA match to crime scene on popular genealogy database from his half-sister
Rowe a popular Dj better known as ‘DJ Freeze’, was sentenced to life without parole after his conviction
Rowe was arrested last June after undercover detectives obtained his DNA by collecting his used water bottle and chewing gum at a school where he was DJing last year
It matched DNA found at the murder scene
At sentencing Tuesday, Raymond Charles Rowe apologized in court for killing 25-year-old elementary school teacher Christy Mirack at her apartment in Lancaster.
He was sentenced to life without parole.
“I’m sorry, sir, to the family,” the 50-year-old Rowe, who performed under the name DJ Freez, said as he faced Mirack’s relatives. “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”
The popular Pennsylvania DJ had pled guilty to raping and strangling a schoolteacher in 1992 after being tied to the decades-old crime when his relative submitted her DNA to use a popular genealogy database.
Raymond Charles Rowe was apologizing in court Tuesday at the conclusion of a case that had stymied investigators for nearly three decades, until authorities used a genealogical database to identify a half-sister of the then-unknown suspect, leading them to the 50-year-old Rowe, who lived just miles from where the murder occurred.
Undercover detectives obtained DNA from Rowe by collecting his used water bottle and chewing gum at a school where he was DJing last year. It matched DNA found at the murder scene.
Rowe, known as ‘DJ Freez’, was arrested last June.
Mirack was brutally murdered in her home as she prepared to head to work teaching a sixth-grade class.
She had suffered a broken jaw in addition to the strangulation and evidence of a violent sexual assault.
A wooden cutting board, believed to have been used to attack her, was found by her body.
An autopsy revealed wounds to her neck, back, upper chest and face.
The principal of her school, concerned Mirack had not shown up for work four days before Christmas and was not answering calls, made a welfare check.
He discovered the body on her living room floor and called 911.
‘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,’ Craig Stedman said.
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.
The district attorney’s office hired a private company to use the DNA to search for relatives of the suspect, and that process identified Rowe.
‘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.
‘And they steered us in the path of holding him finally accountable.’
This produced a water bottle and gum he had used, and state police subsequently established an alleged genetic match.
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