Pennsylvania police made an arrest in the death of school teacher Christy Mirack 25 years after her murder.
Raymond “DJ Freez” Rowe, 49, was arrested on Monday afternoon at his home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and was charged with criminal homicide.
Mirack was 25 years old and a sixth-grade teacher at Rohrerstown Elementary School. She was found dead in her home on Dec. 21, 1992. Her death rocked her community and has remained a cold case for over two decades.
“The killer was at liberty for this brutal crime longer than Christy Mirack was on this earth alive. His apprehension was long overdue,” Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman told reporters at a press conference Monday.
Mirack was found dead in her home by the principal of her school who went to her home as he was concerned when she did not show up for work.
According to the District Attorney, the young teacher has been sexually assaulted, her clothes were pushed down from her waist, her shirt pushed up and it was clear a struggle had taken place.
Mirack was wearing her jacket and gloves and that, combined with scuff marks, led authorities to believe she had been dragged back into the home, Stedman said.
Mirack was strangled to death but she sustained a “brutal beating” to the point her “face was distorted,” he added.
At the time, authorities took a DNA sample from her body and the carpet underneath the body, which had fluids from the alleged attacker.
For years authorities did not find a match to that DNA. But, according to Stedman, that changed when the DNA sample was matched to a relative of Rowe who had uploaded their DNA to a database on genealogy website GEDmatch – the same site which was involved in the Golden State Killer’s arrest.
However, that alone was not enough for an arrest, so the DJ was put under surveillance. In late May, undercover investigators collected used chewing gum and a water bottle they claim Rowe used while working as a DJ at an event at a school, Steadman said at the press conference.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Police concluded the DNA found in the gum and bottle were a match to the DNA taken from the scene, he added.
Stedman also said Rowe “was not on our radar” as the alleged killer before his arrest.
Rowe works as a DJ predominately at weddings, school proms and has even worked at charity events raising money to help female victims of violence.
However, he also claims to have worked as a DJ for celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Brooke Hogan, as well as at events featuring Sting, The Eagles and Kenny Kravitz, according to his website.
Rowe is currently being held in Lancaster County Prison and is not eligible for bail.
This isn’t the first time an arrest in a cold case was made after DNA was submitted to a genealogy site. California police arrested former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo for crimes he committed as the notorious Golden State Killer in April.
A police source told PEOPLE at the time that DeAngelo was caught through “sophisticated” DNA analysis, but said he was not on the radar of police. At the press conference, police said DeAngelo was linked to DNA evidence six days before his arrest.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said that authorities surveilled DeAngelo and recovered “discarded DNA” that allegedly confirmed the suspect’s connection to the killings.