DECEMBER 20TH, 1992
25-year-old Christy Mirack was beautiful both inside and out. Her friends described her as being optimistic about life and always upbeat and positive. A teacher at Rohrerstown Elementary School in Lancaster County, PA, who truly cared about her students; in turn, she was loved and endured by everyone she knew personally.
The town Mirack resided was and still is, known as Pennsylvania Amish country. She lived with a female roommate in a three-bedroom apartment with a female friend in East Lampeter Township.
With her Christmas shopping completed Mirack spent the evening wrapping presents and writing notes to each of her 6th-grade students. Mirack had wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl, and now at 25, she was living her dream. But this would all change in just 24 hours from now when Christy Mirack doesn’t show up for her class at 9am.
Monday morning and ready for another week of school, it was December 21st, 1992. Christy’s roommate had already left, and she was getting ready to go as well. It was a breezy and cold day, so she grabbed her gifts and her work supplies and opened the apartment door to face the winter chill.
Christy Mirack never made it to school that day, in fact, she never even made it to her car. As soon as she stepped from her townhouse, she was shoved back inside by a killer.
Harry Goodman, the school principal, knew within minutes that something was wrong when 9am arrived and Christy did not. He called her home. No answer. Goodman decides to drive by her home. He sees her front door open, and he immediately knew something horrible has happened.
Christy was dead and lying on her floor. Beaten, strangled, with her pants ripped off. Around her lifeless body was the gifts that she planned to give to her students scattered around her.
As horrible as the crime scene was, there was not much the scene could tell investigators. Detectives noticed no forced entry to the home; however, they did discover DNA from semen both on Christy and on the apartment’s carpet. Investigators collected the sample and began to notify Christy’s family and friends. This will be one Christmas that no-one would enjoy.
A KILLER ON THE LOOSE
A description of a potential suspect was released to the public, as well as a possible lead of the suspect’s car. For the next few years, there were very few solid leads in the case. 1,500 suspects were interviewed by police. The DNA from the killer’s semen was tested, and 60 men were ruled out by 1995. As Christy’s family continued to suffer, the case started becoming colder.
In 2007 Christy’s younger brother, Vince decided to try to drum up interest in the unsolved case. A billboard was displayed off Route 30 in Lancaster County, and a Facebook page was also set up, which encouraged people to share memories and information.
CAN NEW ADVANCES IN DNA CATCH CHRISTY’S KILLER?
Now almost three decades have past and the case of who murdered 25-year-old Christy Mirack is ice cold, however, with new advances in DNA technology could provide the family with hope. Parabon NanoLabs, which has been featured on some other cases like the Faith Hedgepeth discussion, was contacted to provide a DNA phenotyping profile. Parabon using the DNA collected from the semen of Mirack’s killer produced an age-progression image that shows the public what he looked like at 25, 45, and 55.
In May of 2018, Parabon uploaded the DNA sequence found in Christy’s apartment to an online database called GEDmatch, which systematically links profiles of relatives, giving investigators a much narrower window of suspects. This ancestral DNA profile matching has been hugely successful in the past, even finally bringing the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo to justice one year ago.
A few weeks after GEDmatch was used, Parabon NanoLabs notified detectives that they found a highly possible match within their database of Christy Mirak’s killer. The suspect was actually a relative of Christy.
JUSTICE IS SERVED
At the time of Mirack’s death, 49-year-old Raymond Rowe lived just 4 miles from her Pennsylvania apartment. Rowe would have been 24 at the time in 1992.
A local DJ (called DJ Freez) at the time, Rowe played in clubs both large and small around Lancaster County and also owned and operated a DJ equipment rental company.
Investigators knew that if they wanted to arrest Rowe, they needed to recover his DNA first. This was tricky since they did not want to spook him, so they decided to go undercover.
On May 31st, the 49-year-old still DJ was working at a local school dance. Investigators attended the event and eventually seized a stick of chewing gum and a water bottle tossed out by Rowe.
The DNA on both the water bottle and chewing gum matched the DNA in Christy Mirack’s apartment. In fact, as a forensic scientist working on the case would later claim the odds of it NOT being Rowe was 1 in 200 octillion. After nearly three decades, Christy Mirack’s family and friends will finally get a resolution to this haunting case.
Police arrested Raymond Rowe on Monday, June 25th, 2018 for the heinous murder of Christy Mirack.