An events DJ from Pennsylvania pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the brutal 1992 rape and murder of a schoolteacher, which for years remained unsolved until the entertainer’s half-sister submitted her DNA to a genealogy website.
Raymond Charles Rowe, whom the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office refers to as "well-known entertainer” for his DJ gigs in Lancaster County will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the murder of Christy Mirack.
She was killed 27 years ago in her East Lampeter Township home. Her body was found in her home by the school’s principal on Dec. 21, 1992 after she didn't show up at work and repeated calls to her went unanswered, according to Penn Live in Harrisburg.
Mirack, then 25, had been beaten, strangled and raped before she was killed, according to Lancaster Online.
The case remained unsolved for decades until Rowe’s half-sister uploaded her DNA into a database. Rowe reportedly did not even know that relative, according to Lancaster Online. DNA evidence from Mirack’s scene was submitted to genetic profiling company Parabon Nanolabs, which often works with law enforcement to run DNA samples through GEDMatch to try to track down killers and unidentified remains.
Parabon then created a DNA phenotype “composite” of the killer’s attributes which linked him to his relative. After it was determined that Rowe was suspect, investigators obtained chewing gum and a water bottle he used while deejaying an elementary school event in May, which then matched to DNA found on Mirack and on the carpet under her dead body, according to the district attorney’s office. Officials arrested him in June.
Rowe, known as DJ Freez, pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder, rape, and related counts. For his guilty plea, he was handed a sentence of life without the possibility of parole with a consecutive prison term of 60 to 120 years, according to the district attorney’s office.
In court, Rowe spoke directly to Mirack’s family.
“I can’t imagine what you are going through. I apologize,” he said.
Mirack is remembered as a person who always wanted to teach.
As a child, she even role-played teacher with her brother and sister, according to a 2010 CNN report on the case.
“Her dream in life from early on was to be a schoolteacher,'' Mirack’s brother, Vince, said at the time. But he said that soon after she became a sixth-grade teacher at Rohrerstown Elementary School, ''it was taken away from her.”
[Photo: Lancaster County District Attorney]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.