The slaying and sexual assault of schoolteacher Christy Mirack stumped homicide detectives for 25 years until new genetic genealogy technology produced a DNA match that led them Monday to a Lancaster disc jockey they never suspected.
Police arrested Raymond “DJ Freez” Rowe, 49, without incident Monday afternoon at his 249 Whittier Lane home on a count of criminal homicide for the Dec. 21, 1992 slaying inside Mirack's East Lampeter Township townhouse.
The 25-year-old Roherstown Elementary School teacher was beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted, according to police.
Here are some key moments in the murder case from the archives of the Lancaster New Era, Intelligencer Journal and the Sunday News:
- Dec. 21, 1992: Mirack is found dead in her 2071 William Penn Way Greenfield Estates townhouse just after 9 a.m.
- Dec. 22, 1992: Mirack was killed by someone who knew her, investigators said. Her autopsy showed she died of strangulation by both hands and clothing. She was severely beaten on the head and neck. Police placed the time of death between 7 a.m. when her roommate left for work and 7:45 a.m. when she usually leaves for work.
- Dec. 27, 1992: Mirack is laid to rest in her hometown Shamokin.
- Dec. 28, 1992: Police say they are looking for a man seen parking a medium-sized car across the street from Mirack's home and walking toward her home.
- Dec. 31, 1992: Police issue a description of the man, a “muscular white male” driving a white car, a 1993 Dodge Shadow convertible, a 1990 Dodge Daytona ES or a Toyota.
- Feb. 1, 1993: Blood and hair samples are taken from a 31-year-old local man.
- March 31, 1993: Police say the results from blood and hair samples cleared the person considered a prime suspect. At that time, police had interviewed more than 500 people.
- April 2, 1993: Vincent and Gerry Mirak, her parents, offer a $10,000 award for information leading to an arrest.
- May 4, 1993: Police release a drawing of a man a neighbor said she saw walking on Pitney Road the morning of the murder. He was in his late 20s; 225 to 250 pounds; stocky, muscular build; long, stringy, medium-brown hair that hung to his chest; clean shaven; deep set eyes; wearing a blue, white and black, faded shirt; and blue jeans.
- July 20, 1993: Police update the description of the first suspect, the man seen parked near the townhouse, to be driving a 1987 or 1991 faded, silver Dodge Daytona hatchback with black louvers or sunshades on the rear window.
- Aug. 8, 1993: The Sunday News reports FBI investigators join East Lampeter Township police in the investigation.
- Dec. 11, 1994: The Sunday News Reports police take the case to a group of criminal experts in Philadelphia.
- Oct. 10, 1995: Police say they have conducted more than 1,500 interviews and eliminated more than 60 men as suspects using forensic testing to compare blood types and body fluids.
- May 23, 2002: The Sunday News gets a call from a man asking about Mirack. The FBI says it may have been her murderer.
- Dec. 3, 2007: The New Era reports Mirack's brother, Vince Mirack, puts up a billboard on Route 30 near Route 283 asking for tips.
- Oct. 22, 2008: The New Era reports the FBI posts Mirack murder on website under “seeking information.”
- June 16, 2009: The New Era reports brother Vince Mirack creates a Facebook page under Christy Mirack's name to try to get tips.
- July 7, 2011: The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era report East Lampeter Township businessman puts up signs asking “Who murdered Christy Mirack?”
- Oct. 31, 2017: Investigators hope new DNA technology and computer-generated images will bring tips to help identify the man who brutally killed 25-year-old Christy Mirack.
- June 26, 2018: Police arrested Raymond “DJ Freez” Rowe, 49, without incident Monday afternoon at his 249 Whittier Lane home on a count of criminal homicide for the Dec. 21, 1992 slaying inside Mirack's East Lampeter Township townhouse.