Lisa Ziegert Murder – On NBC Dateline’s “The Music Box” episode, which focused on the tragic abduction and murder of Lisa Ziegert in 1992, an episode called “The Music Box,” featured interviews with Lisa’s family members, friends, community members, as well as authorities involved in her case. This approach adds a personal and emotional touch to investigations that may be forgotten over time.
After 25 years, the case finally concluded in September 2017 when 50-year-old Gary Schara confessed to abducting and killing Lisa Ziegert. He was charged with first-degree murder; however, despite his admission, Schara never explained why he killed Lisa.
It is worth remembering that the Lisa Ziegert murder case was a testament to law enforcement officials’ dedication and hard work over two decades. Through their perseverance and commitment, justice was ultimately served for Lisa and her loved ones.
How Did Lisa Ziegert Die?
Lisa Ziegert was a vibrant young resident of Agawam, Massachusetts, who had recently graduated from college and worked as a teacher’s assistant when she was abducted and killed in 1992. Her mother, Dee Ziegert, remembered her as someone special – loved by both students and colleagues alike and full of life and fun.
On April 15, 1992, Lisa was working her night job at Brittany’s Card and Gift Shoppe in Agawam when she disappeared. The following day, coworker Sophia Maynard discovered the shop open, Lisa’s car parked outside, and her keys and purse missing. Upon searching the premises further, Sophia discovered a back door ajar with several boxes toppled over and called for help. Despite an extensive search, Lisa wasn’t found until Easter Sunday morning when a man and his dog discovered her body lying in the woods near Agawam.
Lisa had been brutally stabbed seven times, sexually assaulted, and her clothing pulled down to her ankles. Despite putting up a fight, Lisa eventually succumbed to her injuries. The case went cold for 25 years until 2016, when investigators revived it using DNA technology. In 2017, Gary Schara was finally charged with first-degree murder after confessing to abducting and killing Lisa.
Lisa’s passing rocked Agawam to its core, and her memory continues to be honored by those closest to her in both family and community. Lisa’s tragic tale serves as a reminder of the importance of perseverance and justice when solving cold cases and providing closure for victims’ families.
Who Killed Lisa Ziegert and Why?
In 1993, Gary Schara’s estranged wife, Joyce McDonald Schara, accused him of murdering Lisa Ziegert and had a peculiar obsession with the case. Despite this, investigators did not take her claim seriously as Schara had no criminal record and many false leads at that time.
Detective Sergeant Mark Pfau took over the case of Joyce Schara in 2001 and immediately began to focus on her claim. In 2002, she was asked for a DNA sample to prove her innocence but refused. With advances in DNA technology in 2016, investigators reopened the investigation, eventually identifying 11 suspects who matched up with Lisa’s digital composite image generated from specimens found at her residence. District Attorney Anthony Gulluni obtained a court order compelling all 11 individuals to provide samples.
On September 13, 2017, Noah Pack visited Gary Schara’s apartment and found him absent. Schara then wrote a letter for his girlfriend in which he confessed and explained his obsession with bondage and abduction from a young age. Additionally, this letter included his last will and testament and an apology to Lisa’s family; this letter proved instrumental in solving the case.
Detectives discovered Schara in the emergency room after taking a large dose of ibuprofen. DNA tests confirmed that he was responsible for Lisa’s murder. Pfau also remembered Joyce Schara receiving a music box similar to those sold at Brittany’s Card and Gift Shoppe on that fateful night. This tragic case serves as a reminder that it’s important to remain persistent when solving cold cases to bring closure to victims’ families.
Where is Gary Schara Now?
Twenty-five years after Lisa Ziegert’s tragic death, the murder of 50-year-old Gary Schara remained a cold case. Only in 2016 did police begin revisiting cold cases and reopen the investigation – though DNA matching didn’t confirm who killed her until September 2017.
Schara had written letters confessing to the 25-year-old crime and apologizing to Ziegert’s family and girlfriend, who delivered them to authorities. After writing these letters, Schara attempted suicide to avoid imprisonment but ended up in an emergency room where his DNA sample proved that he had taken and killed Lisa Ziegert in 1992; further investigation revealed no prior criminal record existed for either before or after this killing.
On December 8, 2017, a Hampden County Grand Jury charged Schara with first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and rape; however, these charges were later dropped as the statute of limitations had run its course.
In 2019, Judge Schara sentenced Schara to life imprisonment without parole at MCI Norfolk and ordered him to cease all communication with Noelle DesLauriers.