SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An arrest has been made in the Lisa Ziegert murder case- an enduring mystery that has gone unsolved for decades.
Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced that Gary E. Schara of West Springfield was arrested Saturday at a medical facility in Connecticut. He will be charged in Massachusetts with murder, aggravated rape, and kidnapping in the Ziegert case.
Gulluni said that DNA testing and analysis confirmed Schara as their suspect. The DA said that investigators were also provided with handwritten documents in which Schara admitted to the crimes.
Ziegert, a 24 year-old teacher, disappeared from her second job at a card store in Agawam in the spring of 1992. Her body was found on Easter Sunday, dumped in a wooded area four miles away from the store.
The district attorney said that there was no romantic connection between Schara, who was a Longmeadow resident at the time, and Ziegert. In fact, it is not known whether Schara knew Ziegert at all prior to the crime. He also had no apparent connection to the card shop.
Though the recent revelations in the evidence led them to make the arrest, Gulluni said that Schara had been a person of interest in the case since 1993.
“Over the years, the single-source male DNA profile developed from the evidence in this case has been recurrently run against state, national and international databases. With no match. Considering this fact, in recent months I decided to direct the investigation back to individuals who were persons of interest over the years,” Gulluni said.
According to the clerk’s office at Rockville Superior Court in Connecticut, Schara was arraigned there Monday as a fugitive from justice. He will be extradited back to Massachusetts, where the case will go to a grand jury.
Gulluni said that Schara will arraigned in Westfield District Court once the extradition process plays out in Connecticut, and that could be as soon as Tuesday.
Gulluni said that prior to his arrest this weekend, Schara had attempted suicide.