WESTFIELD (CBS) — The man arrested in the rape and murder of a young woman in Agawam 25 years ago was arraigned in Westfield District Court Tuesday morning.

Gary Schara, 48 of West Springfield, is charged with the kidnapping, aggravated rape, and murder of Lisa Ziegert. He was ordered held without the right to bail.

coldcasedl Man Held Without Bail In 1992 Agawam Rape, Murder

Gary Schara (Photo Courtesy: Agawam Police)

Ziegert, a middle school teacher, was abducted in the early evening of April 15, 1992 while she worked at an Agawam gift shop.

Her body was found four days later, brutally stabbed, about four miles from the shop.

lisaziegert Man Held Without Bail In 1992 Agawam Rape, Murder

Lisa Ziegert. (Family photo)

Last year, a single source male DNA profile was developed by investigators from evidence taken from Ziegert’s body.

They used that DNA info to create a sketch featuring the man’s race, hair, eye and skin color, and other physical features.

They matched that DNA with Schara, who was identified as a person of interest at the time of the murder–though DNA testing was not then available.

sketch1 Man Held Without Bail In 1992 Agawam Rape, Murder

(Image credit: Parabon-Snapshot)

Massachusetts State Police tried to notify him about the process last Wednesday, but he was not home.

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 was located in Connecticut the next day after a suicide attempt, and arrested when his DNA was found to be a match.

Ziegert’s mother said healing doesn’t come easy, but that with Schara’s arrest, justice may finally be attained.

“They never give up, whatever you do, no matter how long it takes, you can always be brought to justice,” she said at a press conference Monday.

Schara’s due back in court November 21 for a status conference.


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