Evil rapist and murderer who became a local celeb as he hid in plain sightMarch 17, 2019
It was a murder that haunted Lancaster, Pennsylvania for over two decades.
Not just because the killing was horrific, and stole the life of a young woman, but also because the case still hadn’t been solved and the culprit was walking free.
Police believed that the killer must have fled the area.
However, the community hadn’t a clue he was actually living among them – and they’d inadvertently made him a local celebrity.
The murderer strikes
The murder investigation began on December 21, 1992, when Christy Mirack didn’t show up to teach her class at Rohrerstown Elementary School.
It was extremely out of character – it had been Christy’s life-long dream to become a teacher.
Growing up she’d spend hours pretending to teach her younger siblings in mock lessons – it really was her calling.
Finally, at 25, Christy had a position at a school and she was a natural.
That’s what made it even more strange that she wasn’t answering her phone to explain why she was absent.
The night before, Christy had spent the evening wrapping Christmas presents she’d bought for each of her students and she’d handwritten individual notes for them.
It was typical of Christy, who was beautiful inside and out, to always make others the priority.
Concerned about her whereabouts, the principle of the school went to the nearby apartment Christy shared with a female friend.
Her roommate had left at 7am – just before Christy had been due to leave.
What had happened to stop her making it to school?
The principle arrived and found her front door ajar.
When he walked in, he was devastated to find Christy dead on the floor, surrounded by the scattered gifts for her students.
Christy was wearing a winter coat and gloves like she had been about to walk out into the cold morning.
She was naked from the waist down which was the result of a violent sexual assault, and her face was badly bruised from a beating.
There was a wooden cutting board nearby that might have been used as a weapon.
Police believed Christy had opened the door to leave for work and been pushed back inside.
She had been raped, punched and strangled to death by her assailant.
There were signs there had been a struggle and that Christy had bravely fought for her life, but she’d been overpowered.
There was DNA found at the scene, but there was no match on any available database.
A witness had seen a white car near Christy’s apartment, and appeals were made for information, but there were no solid leads and any suspects were all eliminated.
Christy’s heartbroken family were left without answers for 26 years.
During that time, Christy’s younger brother Vince was determined to keep her murder in the public eye, so in 2007 he had a giant billboard made to display on a main highway that appealed for any new information.
He also set up a Facebook page where people shared memories.
Still, Christy’s murderer was free and living a life that she’d been denied.
A breakthrough in the case
Despite the years passing, investigators hadn’t given up.
If the DNA found at the crime scene couldn’t lead them directly to the killer, maybe it could guide them to a relative of the killer.
They turned to GED match – a genealogy database where members of the public voluntarily submit their DNA to find out more about their ancestry and family trees.
It had been used to find criminals including, most famously, the 1970s and 80s murderer Joseph D’Angelo, known as the Golden State Killer.
When the DNA from Christy’s murder was entered, it matched to a family, and there was suddenly a breakthrough in the case.
The DNA had matched to a woman, and on further investigation, it was discovered she was the half-sister of a man called Raymond Rowe who had lived just four miles from Christy’s home at the time of her death.
Raymond would have been 24 in 1992, and would have regularly passed Christy’s home on his way to work.
At the time he drove a white Toyota that matched the description of the car seen by the witness.
Officers were stunned to discover that rather than hiding away in the shadows, Raymond was something of a minor celebrity and had been very visible in the community.
He was a popular DJ known as DJ Freez, who would perform at weddings, events and clubs and even played at a nightclub Christy had been to.
He was never a suspect and there was no evidence to suggest Raymond had known Christy, but it was too much of a coincidence, so officers started to try and gather more evidence.
The investigation hinged on getting Raymond’s DNA to prove it was an exact match.
In 2018, he was performing at a local school, so undercover police went in and retrieved a piece of his used chewing gum and his water bottle for testing.
The results were damning.
It was a match to the DNA found at the scene and the probability of the killer being anyone else was one in 200 octillion – an octillion is one thousand trillion, trillion.
Raymond, now 49, was arrested and charged with the murder and rape of Christy.
He denied having anything to do with her death and there seemed to be no motive apart from that he worked near where she lived.
Christy and her roommate used to sunbathe outside their apartment.
Had Raymond seen her and targeted her?
There was also a ticket to a club in her wallet where Raymond worked back in 1992.
The district attorney held a news conference to announce the development in the case.
‘This killer was at liberty from this brutal crime for longer than Christy Mirack was on this earth alive,’ he said.
‘This case means a lot to us.’
It was unthinkable that a murderer would place himself in the limelight after what he’d done to such a beloved member of the town.
After years of pain
In January this year, 26 years after Christy’s death, Raymond made a plea deal, knowing he was facing a possible death sentence.
He pleaded guilty in return for life in prison without the chance of parole.
Christy’s brother Vince spoke in court.
‘If not for the grace of modern technology and divine intervention, you probably would have stayed in Lancaster and basked in your fame,’ he told Raymond.
‘I’ve searched for who could do such a horrific thing…
Who could do something so heinous to another person and walk away with no regret.
Now I know who. I can only hope that the remainder of your life is as painful to you as the last 26 years have been to my family.’
Raymond made a statement but gave no explanation as to why he’d killed Christy.
‘I’m sorry, sir, to the family,’ Raymond said to Vince.
‘I can’t imagine what you’re going through.’
Raymond might have evaded justice for over two decades, and avoided telling the whole truth about what he did that morning, but there was no escaping the justice that caught up with him in the end.
Punishment finally came because his half-sister wanted to know more about her family.
Now she knows she’s related to a cold-hearted killer.
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