NBC’s Dateline episode of Lisa Ziegert’s murder to detail case from beginning

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – NBC’s Dateline returned Friday night right here on 22News, taking a trip to western Massachusetts, during the making of their new season.

Tonight on Dateline: Agawam murder, decades-long manhunt

Friday night’s two-hour special showed how Ziegert’s family and law enforcement worked together for more than two decades to find and arrest the man who killed her.

“In 2016 we took advantage of what was really cutting edge technology and allowed us, given the sample that was preserved back from 1992, to get a lot of information and end up with a composite sketch of that individuals face,” said Hampden County DA Anthony Gulluni.

He added, “We’re hopeful it’ll be a representation of the work that was put in from 1992 up until to 2019 when this case was finally brought to a conclusion.”

The woman, Lisa Ziegert, was just 24-years-old when she was murdered in her hometown of Agawam.

She was abducted on the night of April 15, 1992, at a card shop in this area of walnut street extension. Her body was found four days later on Easter Sunday in a wooded area not too far from here.

Her death was ruled a homicide, but the case remained unsolved for more than 25 years without any leads or suspects.

It was last year that Gary Schara pleaded guilty to her murder in Hampden District Court and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hampden County DA Anthony Gulluni told 22News DNA phenotype testing narrowed down the list of suspects and led to the identification of West Springfield resident, Gary Schara.

“Forensic technology continued to advance and in 2016 we took advantage of what was really cutting edge technology and it allowed us given the sample that was preserved back from 1992 to get a lot of information and end up with a composite sketch of that individual’s face.”

Anthony Gulluni, Hampden County District Attorney

22News spoke with some Agawam residents who can’t believe their small town is back in the spotlight once again.

“I actually live right off of Adams Street which is right across from where they found her,” said Dawn Fernandes. “Very surprised to here that they were going to run it through dateline but I’m glad they are bringing some kind of notice.”

Dateline’s two-hour episode Friday night will document the beginning of the homicide investigation in 1992 all the way up to Gary Schara’s guilty plea in September of 2019.

Schara was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. You can watch the Lisa Ziegert Dateline episode Friday night on 22News, at 9 p.m.

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