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Break in Lancaster Co. cold case first of its kind in Pa.

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jun 29, 2018 4:49 AM
christy_mirack_murder_stedman.jpg

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman announces charges in a 1992 cold case killing during a news conference at the Lancaster County Courthouse in Lancaster, Pa., Monday, June 25, 2018. A family photo of the victim, Christy Mirack, is seen at right. A popular DJ in Pennsylvania has been charged in the 1992 killing of Mirack, an elementary school teacher who was sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled in her home as she was getting ready for work. (AP Photo/Mark Scolforo)


(Harrisburg) -- For the first time in Pennsylvania, prosecutors have been able to make an arrest because of data from genealogical websites. 

The 25-year-old cold case in Lancaster County is one of only a handful to use the technology nationwide.

Popular DJ Raymond Charles Rowe, 49, was charged this week in the death of Christy Mirack.

The 25-year-old elementary school teacher was found sexually assaulted and beaten to death in her East Lampeter Township home in December 1992. 

District Attorney Craig Stedman told WITF's Smart Talk his office has been using DNA evidence from the crime scene to weed out persons-of-interest over the years. 

He said his office had pretty much run out of leads when they started working with a company that compared the DNA to publicly available records from genealogical websites such as Ancestry.com. 

That analysis found a close relative of the suspect. 

"That's a great tip, a scientific tip, but we needed to get his DNA to confirm it, to match it with the crime scene," Stedman said. "And we had some great work by the Pennsylvania State Police, some undercover troopers were able to get his DNA from an event he was at."

Stedman is asking the public for any information about the case, including what connection the killer might have to the victim.

You can hear the full conversation here

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