DNA on gum, water bottle leads to DJ's arrest 26 years after teacher killed

PHOTO: 1992 murder victim Christy Mirack is pictured in an undated handout photo released by the Lancaster County District Attorney.PlayLancaster County DA
WATCH DNA from chewing gum leads to arrest in teacher's 1992 murder

DNA recovered from a DJ's gum and water bottle has led to his arrest in connection with the killing of a Pennsylvania teacher 26 years ago, according to prosecutors.

Raymond Rowe, who uses the DJ name "DJ Freez," has been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly killing Christy Mirack at her East Lampeter Township home, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

PHOTO: Raymond Charles Rowe, 49, is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Lancaster County Prison.Lancaster County Prison
Raymond Charles Rowe, 49, is pictured in an undated booking photo released by the Lancaster County Prison.

The case dates back to Dec. 21, 1992, when Mirack, 25, didn't arrive at school, prosecutors said.

A co-worker came to Mirack's home and found her dead. She had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted, prosecutors said.

PHOTO: The East Lampeter Township, Pa., home of Christy Mirack, who was murdered inside it in 1992, is seen in an image made from file video.WHTM, FILE
The East Lampeter Township, Pa., home of Christy Mirack, who was murdered inside it in 1992, is seen in an image made from file video.

PHOTO: 1992 murder victim Christy Mirack is pictured in an undated handout photo released by the Lancaster County District Attorney.Lancaster County DA
1992 murder victim Christy Mirack is pictured in an undated handout photo released by the Lancaster County District Attorney.

A weapon used in the attack -- a wooden cutting board -- was near Mirack’s body, prosecutors said.

Her death was ruled a homicide by strangulation, prosecutors said.

PHOTO: A sign seeking information on the 1992 murder of Christy Mirack is seen in the Lancaster, Pa., area in an image made from file video.WHTM, FILE
A sign seeking information on the 1992 murder of Christy Mirack is seen in the Lancaster, Pa., area in an image made from file video.

Years passed, but DNA left at the scene was sent to a lab, which created "a DNA phenotype 'composite' of the killer’s attributes," including hair color, eye color and skin tone, according to a Monday statement from prosecutors.

"The phenotype report included visual composites of what the killer would look like at various ages,” prosecutors said. “That data and associated composites were released to the public in November 2017.”

The lab uploaded the file to a public genetic genealogy database, "which resulted in matches to relatives of Raymond Rowe," according to prosecutors.

PHOTO: Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman announces charges in the 1992 cold case killing of Christy Mirack during a news conference at the Lancaster County Courthouse in Lancaster, Pa., Monday, June 25, 2018.Mark Scolforo/AP
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman announces charges in the 1992 cold case killing of Christy Mirack during a news conference at the Lancaster County Courthouse in Lancaster, Pa., Monday, June 25, 2018.

Investigators last month took DNA from gum and a water bottle Rowe had used while DJing at an elementary school, prosecutors said. The DNA was submitted to a state police crime lab, which determined it matched DNA found on multiple parts of Mirack's body, as well as the carpet underneath her body, prosecutors said.

Rowe, 49, was arrested at his home Monday afternoon, prosecutors said. He was arraigned Monday night and committed to the Lancaster County Prison without bail, district attorney's office spokesman Brett Hambright said. Rowe has not entered a plea.

Mirack's family called the arrest a "bittersweet day," according to Hambright.

The district attorney Monday declined to discuss a potential motive.

"We know that this defendant raped and brutally murdered Christy Mirack," Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said in Monday's statement. “It is a huge step toward providing long-overdue closure for Christy’s family and friends who have spent decades wondering who brutally murdered their loved one.

"We really cannot give enough credit to Parabon NanoLabs for the work they did which proved absolutely crucial to filing this charge,” Stedman said of the Reston, Virginia-based company. “Without their work and expertise, quite frankly, we would not be standing here today with the alleged killer of Christy Mirack charged and in custody."

ABC News' Ben Stein contributed to this report.

Comments