Arrest made in 25 year old murder case

Gary E. Schara

Investigators were able to develop a male DNA profile from evidence recovered at the scene, but it hasn't matched anyone included in national and worldwide databases, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said at a Monday press conference.

"They never, ever gave up on Lisa".

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.

Police gathered evidence from the crime scene at the time of the murder but they were unable to officially identify a suspect until now, reports said.

On April 15, 1992, Ziegert was kidnapped from Brittany Card & Gift Shoppe where she worked.

A sketch of the suspect at age 25 in 1992 released in 2016
A sketch of the suspect at age 25 in 1992 released in 2016

Four days later, she was reportedly found raped and stabbed to death in a wooded area, about four miles from her job.

Westfield District Court issued an arrest warrant last Friday charging Gary E. Schara, 48, of West Springfield with Lisa Ziegert's kidnapping, aggravated rape and murder, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni said.

Schara was arrested at a medical facility in Connecticut and is in the custody of the Connecticut State Police, the district attorney said.

The following day, investigators tracked Schara to a CT hospital, where he had been taken after he fled MA and attempted suicide as they began to close in on him, Gulluni said. She was reported missing the next day, when the day clerk arrived to find the store open and the lights still on. Her purse, her other personal belongings and the store's cash register appeared undisturbed.

The next day, a tipster provided troopers with information about Schara's involvement in the murder-including hand-written documents in which Schara purportedly admits to abducting, raping, and killing Ziegert. Schara, 48, had fled to CT and attempted to kill himself, Gulluni said. "... No matter how long it takes, you can always be brought to justice".

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