Prosecutors in Pennsylvania on Monday announced an arrest in the murder of Christy Mirack, 25 years after she was found dead in her Lancaster County home.
Raymond Charles Rowe, a 49-year-old also known as "DJ Freez," was taken into custody without incident at his home Monday after he was identified through DNA from a genealogy website, the district attorney's office said at a press conference.
"This killer was at liberty for this brutal crime longer than Christy Mirack was on this earth alive," District Attorney Craig Stedman said. "His apprehension was long overdue."
Mirack was 25 years old when she was found strangled on Dec. 21, 1992.
A sixth-grade teacher, Mirack's principal at Rohrerstown Elementary School was concerned when she didn't show up for work and was unable to contact her.
The principal went to Mirack's home to check on her, where he found her dead on the living room floor.
Stedman said Mirack was found with her clothing pulled down from her waist, her shoes removed and the clothing on her torso was pushed up.
Mirack had blood on her face, which was "distorted" because she had been beaten, Stedman said. Prosecutors said there were scuff marks in her home that indicated a struggle ensued and it seemed as though she "fought for her life."
An autopsy determined she was strangled to death but the report noted Mirack suffered blunt trauma to her neck, back, upper chest and face. Her jaw was also fractured and she was sexually assaulted, Stedman said.
Investigators believed Mirack knew the person who killed her, as there was no sign of forced entry into her townhome in Greenfield Estates, Lancaster Online reported.
They reportedly interviewed more than 60 men, testing their blood types and bodily fluids to see if they matched Mirack's murderer.
Her alleged killer, Rowe, was identified using the genealogy website GEDmatch, and "was not on our radar," Stedman said.
DNA evidence found at the crime scene was submitted to Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs, which generated three composite sketches of the suspect. The company suggested they uploaded the DNA file to the genealogy website.
The upload was matched to relatives of Rowe, according to the news outlet, and he was then considered a suspect.
The DNA match wasn't enough to make an arrest, however, and on May 31, investigators reportedly collected a water bottle and gum Rowe had used and threw away at an event he was working at an elementary school.
Stedman said that while a suspect has been arrested, the case "is by no means closed."
Rowe was charged with one criminal count of homicide and was taken to the Lancaster County Prison, where he's ineligible for bail.