A new development has come in a Massachusetts rape and murder case that had remained cold for 25 years.
Authorities announced the arrest of Gary Schara Monday in the 1992 rape and murder of a 24-year-old teacher's aide.
Lisa Ziegert was working her night job at a card and gift shop when she vanished on April 15, 1992.
The next day, a clerk arrived to find the store open, with its lights on, and Lisa’s car parked where it had been the previous evening.
According to the Hampden County District Attorney's Office, the money in the store’s register and Ziegert's personal property, including her purse and school materials, were recovered from the card shop by police and appeared undisturbed.
Four days later, Ziegert's body was found in a wooded area about four miles away from the card shop. She had been sexually assaulted and murdered.
The scene was photographed and processed by personnel from the Massachusetts State Police, including its Crime Scene Services Section and Crime Laboratory, the Agawam Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Items at the crime scene were documented, collected, and have been maintained by investigators since that time.
For the last 25 years, a joint investigation into Ziegert's murder has been conducted by the Agawam Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory and the FBI.
Throughout the investigation, numerous forensic testing procedures and analyses were performed on recovered evidence to assist investigators in identifying an assailant.
Last year, a single source male DNA profile was developed from evidence taken from Lisa’s body.
Officials announced a match Monday from DNA testing after arresting Schara Saturday on charges of murder, aggravated rape, and kidnapping.
Ziegert's family sat nearby as Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni made the announcement. Her mother, Diane Ziegert, would later say she and her relatives look forward to closing this chapter of their lives.
"We'll do anything, and sit through anything to have this happen, and to face this person and to say, 'We got you,'" Diane Ziegert said. "No matter how long it takes, you can always be brought to justice."
Schara was located by investigators at a medical facility in Connecticut. He was released from the medical facility Monday and is currently in the custody of the Connecticut State Police on a fugitive from justice charge as he awaits extradition to Massachusetts.