Undercover cops grabbed a DJ’s chewing gum. It helped crack a teacher’s 1992 murder, police say.
By Kyle Swenson
June 26, 2018, Washington Post
It’s Monday morning, four days shy of Christmas, and she’s getting the gifts ready.
Growing up, she always wanted to be a teacher — even when she played school with her brother and sister as a kid, she was always the teacher, they would later say. She has since been a country club waitress and a pharmacist’s assistant, but now Christy Mirack has her own class of sixth graders. The 25-year-old isn’t going to disappoint. The night before, Mirack stayed up wrapping a children’s book — “Miracles on Maple Hill” — for each pupil. Every copy reportedly bears the same handwritten message: “Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a great 1993! Love, Miss Mirack.”
Her roommate is already at work. Mirack, a bubbly and enthusiastic blond woman, is alone, preparing to leave for Rohrerstown Elementary School in Lancaster, Pa. Before stepping out into the winter chill clamped down on Amish country, she slips into a brown leather jacket and burgundy gloves.
But the first school bell sounds on Dec. 21, 1992, and Mirack is not in her classroom. When the principal, Harry Goodman, calls the teacher, the phone rings and rings. Around 9 a.m., he drives to her townhouse, steps away from a nearby barn and grain silo. The front door is cracked open. He pushes in. Mirack is motionless on the living room floor, the students’s gifts scattered about. Her pants and underwear are ripped away. The dead body is still wearing the jacket and gloves, PennLive reported.
Police would eventually determine Mirack was beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted by an intruder. The brutal slaying hits the rural Pennsylvania county with the subtlety of a sucker punch.
But an arrest does not come. The family and investigators pass through the painful motions of a case going cold.
But what would eventually point investigators in the right direction was genetic genealogy, a new technique that has shocked life back into numerous cold case investigations in just a short period of time.
As Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman explained at a news conference on Monday, the science — as well as a piece of chewing gum and water bottle collected in an undercover operation at an elementary school party — led to the arrest of Raymond Rowe.
The 49-year-old, a popular wedding and event DJ in central Pennsylvania who goes by “DJ Freez,” was taken into custody without incident Monday. He has yet to be officially charged and has no lawyer currently listed. Stedman said he expects to charge Rowe with first-degree murder.
In his comments Monday to reporters, the district attorney admitted his office was stumped by the 25-year cold case until they began working with Reston-based Parabon NanoLabs.
“Quite honestly at that point in time we didn’t have any more arrows in the quiver,” Stedman said. “Parabon was really our last shot. Little did we know at the time, it turned out to be our best.”
Genetic genealogy has been central to a number of recent cold case arrests. Splashing into the mainstream with the arrest of alleged Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo, the method points investigators toward possible suspects by matching publicly available genealogical information with DNA recovered from victims and crime scenes. Last week, the same science helped U.S. Marshals in Ohio solve the mystery behind a man living for decades under the stolen identity of a dead 8-year-old.
The new technique applied to law enforcement investigations, however, has raised questions about privacy. Speaking at the news conference Monday, Parabon NanoLabs’s founder and CEO Steven Armentrout argued those concerns are “mostly founded on misunderstandings about how the process works and the data involved.”
According to Armentrout, his laboratory uses GEDmatch, an open source database where users can upload their own genealogical information to connect with relatives. GEDmatch has also opened the resource up to law enforcement.
“We must make our own decisions about privacy matters,” Armentrout said. “Speaking for myself, I’ve chosen to upload my DNA to GEDmatch and I’ve made it publicly available for searching. This is something I don’t do lightly. But I have no misgivings if my DNA is ultimately used by law enforcement to implicate even my closest relatives if in fact their DNA is found at a crime scene. I do that because I’m confident in the methods we employ.”
DNA — semen — was found at the crime scene, both on a segment of carpeting under the victim’s body, and on her person. Although the sample was originally run through the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), no matches to perpetrators or other victims were found during the years of stalled investigation. Parabon used that material to create a genotype file that was uploaded to GEDmatch.
The file was set to private, meaning the data would not show up in other genealogical searches. But it did allow the team to pull on possible strands of a suspect’s family tree.
“GEDmatch is designed to show the amount of shared DNA between two people,” Armentrout explained. “That allows a genetic genealogist . . . to make inferences, to find distant cousins, of the person that has the unknown DNA, to build out family trees, and ultimately come up with suggestions of who might be a suspect.”
The sample from the dead schoolteacher provided a link close to home.
“We do not solve these cases,” CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogic expert with Parabon emphasized to reporters Monday. “We provide a highly scientific tip, and law enforcement performs their traditional investigation to confirm or refute our theory. No arrests are made on our work alone. That said, our genetic genealogical technique and research on this case led right back to Lancaster and to the suspect.”
The name provided to law enforcement was Raymond Rowe. According to his bio on the website for his company, Freez Entertainment, Rowe “started as a break dancer in the early 80s then started DJing shortly after and soon became a popular house party DJ in the mid 80s.” His site boasts Rowe is now the “one recognized leader in the Central PA area” among local DJs.
At the news conference, Stedman admitted Rowe’s name had not come up previously in the Mirack case. Rowe, however, did live about four miles from the victim at the time of the crime. Stedman speculated the two may have met at a club or event before the schoolteacher’s murder.
Armed with the name, Lancaster law enforcement needed to follow up with concrete evidence. “We had to collect a surreptitious sample from him,” Stedman said.
Learning Rowe was set to DJ a May 31 event at a local elementary school, members of the Pennsylvania State Police went undercover inside the school. At the party, they observed Rowe chewing gum and using a water bottle. The undercover officers grabbed both after Rowe discarded the items.
On June 22, the final results from the state crime lab came in linking Rowe to the samples collected from Mirack. According to the district attorney’s office, there is a 1 in 200 octillion chance the match is to another member of the Caucasian population who is not Rowe.
“This killer was at liberty from this brutal crime for longer than Christy Mirack was on this Earth alive,” Stedman told reporters. Parabon “steered us in the path of holding him finally accountable.”
Teen killer pleads guilty, gets life. Surviving daughter calls him ‘despicable’
BRETT HAMBRIGHT Staff Jun 18, 2008, LNP News
A judge sentenced Alec Kreider to spend the rest of his days in state prison Tuesday after the 17-year-old admitted killing a Manheim Township couple and their teenage son.
Kreider, a former Manheim Township High School student, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder 13 months after he entered the home of Tom and Lisa Haines in the Blossom Hill neighborhood on May 12, 2007.
Once inside, he used a hunting knife with a 4-inch blade to kill the couple and their 16-year-old son, Kevin.
Family members of the victims and defendant, more than a dozen members of the media and several police officers packed Courtroom 12 in Lancaster County Courthouse.
The sentence satisfied the requests of the surviving relatives of the Haines family, two of whom spoke before Judge David L. Ashworth and asked him to hand Kreider three consecutive life sentences.
A third relative – Maggie Haines, the sole survivor of the brutal attack – spoke through a videotaped statement. Maggie Haines – Kevin’s sister a 21-year-old college student who currently is studying abroad – made her first public statements about the killings, which were shown Tuesday on a large monitor in Ashworth’s courtroom.
During the two-hour hearing, Kreider told Ashworth he killed the family but would not reveal his motive, despite repeated demands from the judge.
After Ashworth’s first request, Kreider said, “I have nothing to say. There is not anything further.”
Later, the judge asked a final time for a reason for the killings.
“Is there anything you’d like to say?” the judge asked.
“There is not,” Kreider replied.
Kreider, of slim build and medium height, firmly answered Ashworth’s other questions, usually with a “yes” or “no.” The judge questioned Kreider about his rights and his understanding of the charges and the law.
Dressed in a white long-sleeved button-down shirt tucked into black slacks, Kreider said he understood the rights he was giving up by pleading guilty.
David Blanck, Kreider’s attorney, told Ashworth his client was pleading guilty to “attempt to bring some closure” to the victims’ family.
Blanck said Kreider was “a child” who was not fully developed cognitively when he committed the murders.
District Attorney Craig Stedman disputed that during an aggressive block of testimony that revealed further details about the horrific crime scene Kreider left behind at 85 Peach Lane.
“There are people that kill, and then there are people that do this,” Stedman said.
“As a kid, you worry about monsters, the boogeyman. Well, they got the Haines family. He did,” Stedman said while pointing at Kreider.
The following account of the triple slaying was taken from testimony in the courtroom and information obtained from investigators after the hearing.
Blood trails and other physical evidence indicated Kreider first attacked Tom Haines. Mr. Haines was stabbed in the chest and legs with the knife. His aorta was pierced, causing him to “expire rapidly,” Stedman said.
Kreider then attacked Lisa Haines. She was stabbed in the abdomen, and her face was slashed. She was still alive when the killer went to Kevin’s bedroom.
Once inside, Kreider ambushed Kevin, stabbing him five times in the back while he slept. Kevin, who was Kreider’s best friend, awoke and scrambled onto the floor.
“Kevin fought very hard for his life,” Stedman said. “His death would have been agonizing.”
The teenager crawled on his hands and knees to a window in an attempt to escape Kreider’s onslaught – all the while trying to protect himself with his hands and arms, as evidenced by multiple “defensive wounds” on those areas.
The struggle led into the hallway, where Kevin died. Fatal wounds to his chest and neck were sustained there.
Kevin also sustained a deep gash to his cheek. In all, Kevin’s body had 15 cuts and 11 stab wounds, according to an autopsy.
Maggie awoke to hear the struggle inside Kevin’s room. She had initially considered barricading herself inside her room, but later decided to run to her parents’ room.
There, she encountered her mother, who sat motionless on the edge of her bed. Mrs. Haines directed her daughter to flee the house.
“She said something to the effect of ‘Get out and go get help,’ ” Stedman said.
During the time Maggie fled to a neighbor’s house and summoned police, Kreider returned to the master bedroom “to finish off Lisa,” Stedman said.
Kreider then cleaned up in a bathroom and fled the house. He ran back to his mother’s house, dropping his hat along the way.
Police arrived at the Haines home to find all three victims dead. Tom was lying in bed on his back with his arms up, while his wife was in a “semi-fetal position” on the floor. Kevin was in the hallway between his room and Maggie’s room.
Bloody trails, including footprints, were all over the home.
The next day, police released a message to the public to be vigilant and lock up their homes because “a killer is on the loose.”
An armed police officer stayed with Maggie Haines 24 hours a day until Kreider’s arrest.
During her videotaped statement, the college student spoke about her feelings of anger, guilt and “sheer terror” that followed the slayings.
“No one can truly understand what I’m going through,” she says on the recording. “There’s no easy way to tell someone your family was murdered.”
Maggie said she felt guilty for not helping her brother after hearing screams and a struggle inside his room.
“I should have protected him. That’s what big sisters do,” she said.
She reprimands Kreider on the tape.
“Alec Kreider is a despicable individual. That’s saying it lightly,” she said. “I have suffered so much because of him.”
Kreider was arrested June 16, 2007, after he told his father June 12 that he had killed the Haineses.
Kreider’s guilty plea came soon after the death of his initial attorney, Jack Kenneff. Stedman said the prosecution had a very strong case that would have given Kreider little or no chance to win at trial.
Among the prosecution’s strongest evidence were confessions Kreider made to his parents and an inmate at Lancaster County Prison.
Stedman told the judge about a disturbing conversation with the inmate.
Kreider told the inmate that killing his best friend, Kevin, was “interesting,” Stedman said. He told the inmate he would kill again if given the chance.
He also told the inmate that Maggie “slipped out,” and that he would have raped and killed her, too, “but it was four of them and one of me.”
At the closing of Tuesday’s hearing, Ashworth told Kreider he will file a notation with his sentencing order that discourages any present or future governor from granting Kreider clemency.
“Mr. Kreider, you will spend the rest of your life in prison,” Ashworth said. “You will never be given the opportunity to threaten anyone else in the community.”
A Funeral Director’s Wife Drowns in Their Pool; The Truth Lies Beneath the Surface
March 6th, 2010
48 Hours, CBS News
Michael Roseboro has been incarcerated since August 2008, when he was arrested and charged with murdering his wife, Jan.
“I still have my dad. I talk to him every day,” said 19-year-old Sam, the oldest of Michael’s four children. He believes his father’s days in jail are numbered. “I’m sure my dad’s comin’ back, just ’cause I know he’s innocent.”
Sam told Dow he “believes 100 percent” that is father will be acquitted.
On July 13, 2009, almost one year to the day after Jan Roseboro’s death, her husband’s trial begins.
In his opening argument, District Attorney Craig Stedman described a motive that he said is pretty straight forward.
“This case is about a man who was obsessed with being with his girlfriend when he happened to be married to his wife,” Stedman said. “And he killed his wife to be with his girlfriend.”
“That is the entirety of their case,” said defense attorney Allan Sodomsky, who pointed out there is no murder weapon, no eyewitness, and no confession.
Even the D.A. admitted his case has challenges.
“There was no one single piece of evidence that was gonna say, “OK. We got him” or “We’re there,” Stedman explained. “It was a circumstantial case. It’s putting the pieces together.”
One of the prosecutor’s first pieces of evidence was Michael Roseboro’s 911 call:
911: Lancaster County 911
Michael Roseboro: I believe my wife just drowned.
911: What happened?
Michael Roseboro: I had gone to bed about an hour and a half ago and she was outside and I came out and saw the lights on by the pool.
Listen to the 911 call
According to Stedman, “There is no urgency there whatsoever. And in fact, one of the first things he ends up going into was his – essentially his alibi.”
“I’m not exactly sure the appropriate way to behave on a 911 call,” Sodomsky told Dow.
Roseboro’s family believes anything Michael said would have been scrutinized.
“If he had been hysterical, they would have said he staged the hysteria,” his mother Ann Roseboro told Dow.
“Knowing Michael, he handled it exactly like I would have expected him to,” said his younger sister, Melissa Voler.
But just how well did they really know him?
“No question, Michael Roseboro was leading a double life,” Stedman said. “On the one hand, he was apparently a nice, polite funeral director respected in the community. On the other hand, he was spending essentially most of his waking days communicating with his mistress on how… they could be together.”
That communication left a trail of evidence. Records of more than 1,400 phone calls, 1,000 text messages and the e-mails, which were compiled into a 200-page booklet and read one by one to the jury over five hours.