Inside Lisa Ziegert's murder and how THREE notes led to Gary Schara's conviction as Dateline airs The Music Box | The Sun

THE 1992 rape and murder of 24-year-old Lisa Ziegert left investigators puzzled for decades until the keys to solving the case fell into their laps out of nowhere.

Lisa was abducted from the gift shop she worked at days before her partially nude body was found in a wooded area.

The violent nature of the crime sent shockwaves through the small, tight-knit community of Agawam, Massachusetts.

“Well I grew up in this town and we never had anything like this happen,” Benjamin Oz told WWLP.

“I can’t recall there ever being a murder until it occurred and everybody was all of sudden so suspicious of each other and it really did tear the town apart,”

The case remained unsolved for years when, in 2017, the girlfriend of Gary Schara gave investigators incriminating evidence.


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“There were three separate letters,” said State Police Trooper Noach Packer in an interview with Dateline.

“One of them was essentially a confession letter. Another one was a last will and testament. He also left a letter of apology for the Ziegert family.”

Investigators immediately searched Shara’s home, finding DNA evidence that matched the crime scene.

“We knew that we were gonna solve this case with a DNA match,” said Packer. “We didn’t expect to solve this case by somebody writing confession letters.”

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Lisa was a recent college graduate and teacher’s assistant when she went missing on April 15, 1992.

Her car, keys and coat were left at the store and authorities were told that she didn’t show up to her job at Agawam Middle School the next day.

Her body was found on Easter Sunday off the side of Route 75, surrounded by trees and leaves. 

It was revealed she had been sexually assaulted and her cause of death was from a single stab wound to the neck.

Schara was a person of interest in the murder since 1993.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in September 2019, putting an end to one of the most famous cold cases in Massachusetts history. 

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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NBC will air an episode of Dateline about Lisa's murder.

The Music Box will air on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 9pm.

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