A small town has no clue as to why a beloved school teacher was murdered.

Lisa Ziegert

Her body was found four days later

CASE DETAILS

Agawam, Massachusetts, is a small town near the western Connecticut border.  At the Agawam Middle School is a memorial to one of the town’s most beloved teachers, Lisa Ziegert, whose untimely death changed Agawam forever.  Lisa had grown up in Agawam.  After college, she returned home to teach special needs students at the middle school.  Dee Ziegert, Lisa’s mother, remembers her daughter as outgoing and fun:

“Lisa was a very special person… With the kids, she always had a special rapport. They knew that she really liked them and that she treated them like people.”

Lisa’s coworker found the store empty

The afternoon of Wednesday April 15, 1992, was typical for Lisa.  She left school around 4:30 and drove directly to a card and gift shop where she worked weekdays from 5:00 to 9:00 PM.  At 5:30, Lisa’s sister Lynne dropped by:

“It was easy talk.  It was sister talk. It was a little after 6:00 when I left… And then I went home, and she was fine, you know, she was fine when I left.”

At 8:45 the next morning, Sophia Maynard arrived, as usual, to open up the store.  She was surprised to see Lisa’s car parked out front:

“I saw her car. And then I remembered that Easter weekend was coming up. We had planned to stuff some balloons, and that’s what she was doing there. So I really didn’t think much of anything until I walked inside the store, you know.  I called her name a couple of times and, I figured she’d just pop her head out. She didn’t. I came behind the counter. All of her things were there—her drawings, her pocketbook, her car keys. And then I just kind of freaked out. I knew that something was wrong, so I ran out, ran across the street, to a restaurant across the street and asked them to call the police.”

Police found signs of a struggle in the back storeroom and a few scattered traces of blood.  Otherwise, there was no physical evidence at the card shop.  That very day, the FBI and Massachusetts State Police launched a massive search for Lisa Ziegert.  Dee Ziegert kept reassuring herself that her daughter was safe:

“I couldn’t let myself believe that everything wasn’t going to be ok, that she would be found, and no matter what had happened, that we would be able to have her back.”

There were signs of a struggle in the back room

On Easter Sunday, four days after Lisa disappeared, her body was found in a wooded area on the edge of town. According to Captain Robert Campbell of the Agawam Police Department, Lisa had multiple stab wounds around her shoulders and throat:

“An examination by the county medical examiner indicated that she had been sexually assaulted.”

The outpouring of love and shared grief was overwhelming.  At Lisa’s wake, more than a thousand people stood for five hours in the rain to pay her tribute.  As Agawam mourned, the authorities pressed their investigation.  According to Captain Campbell, three critical phone tips came in that helped establish a time frame:

“The first call was from a person who had been there at 8:20 and had made a purchase and actually had a time-stamped receipt.  There was nothing that was unusual. There was nothing that was out of line, nothing that perked their attention to say that they should call the police. The second person was a customer who had gone in at 9:00. She found it open, lights on, but nobody was around. This person told us that they did hear some noise in the back room. She described it as a banging noise. She waited a minute and nobody came out, so she left. This suggested to us that Lisa was in the store around 9:00 and in the back room. Further investigation revealed that she had been horizontal on the floor, and there were two kick marks from her shoes on the bottom of the door.”

Lisa was a popular teacher in the town of Agawam

The third tip came from a witness who worked near the card shop.  At 9:15, on the night Lisa was murdered, the woman was on her way home.  This witness saw what police believe could have been the killer’s car.  She also said that a man and woman seemed to be struggling in the back seat.  The car pulled off the road, heading toward the area where Lisa’s body was later found.  At the time, the woman thought it was just a carload of teenagers and drove on. Authorities are still looking for new evidence that might lead to the arrest of Lisa Ziegert’s killer, or killers.  The vehicle seen by the witness was a late model, full-sized bronco or blazer, either dark red or dark blue. Authorities have released a computer generated composite based on DNA of a possible suspect: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/09/lisa_ziegert_dna_image_of_suspect.html

UPDATE: A suspect in this case has been identified. Gary E. Schara has been charged in connection with the murder, aggravated rape and kidnapping of Lisa Ziegert. We will bring you more as this case develops.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Robert Stack and in season eight with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

SUBMIT A TIP[/su_button

 

72 Comments

  1. Justice

    Justice strange how it goes from multiple dna source to single source dna I think gary will be coming forth with his acomplice after sitting a while everyone is buying then there was one blood dna at the cardshop and dna at the scene both gary eye winess accounts women in back seat of a bronco struggling with man then who was driving ev eryone is buying this then a man stalking her which was not gary my god wake up

    Reply

  2. Grasso

    Seems like certain people are working awful hard to establish the narrative that it was one and only one killer.

    Reply

  3. Hani

    So I guess this means Gary won’t make it to the Big E this year?

    Reply

  4. Mike.

    I’m Lisa’s cousin. Please if you have information say it. You can even tell me or better my lawyer and nothing will happen to you. Be human and let are family rest please.

    Reply

  5. boating

    Do you have any video of that? I’d care to find out
    some additional information.

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    What about using a psychic, such as Tyler Henry, to help with this murder? Lisa had a face of an angel and I hope that they catch the person(s) that did this.

    Reply

    • Anonymous

      I agree about using a psychic…I am one myself, but the sad thing is that people will not believe in it.

      Reply

    • Lorraine Gazda

      All that is needed in this case are the eye witness accounts. The victim herself was the evidence. HER blood and clothes tells the truth. There will be no coverup in this.

      Reply

  7. Anonymous

    David, I am sorry to tell you that Brian Woodville is absolutely correct. I have been looking into this case (and others) for several years, and have nothing but personal grief to show for it. A colleague of mine has been the subject of numerous malicious prosecutions for merely mentioning anything about this case. These people can ruin your life, and use the court system to do it. Believe me, I have no desire to cause you or your family any disrespect, quite the contrary. I have stuck my neck out to reveal the truth, and they have tried to ruin me for it. And yes, I have names. They are scattered throughout several police departments in western Massachusetts (particularly Hampden County), and even into Worcester County. It all goes back to “Matty” Ryan, and the crooked lawyers who came out of his office when he was the longest-serving District Attorney in Massachusetts history. Sorry to say, but I don’t think anything will change soon with these “usual suspects” running the show.

    Reply

    • Eye witness account

      I agree 100%.

      Reply

    • Common Sense

      And yet all you people were wrong. It was one man…no police cover up, no one from Agawam….. Y’all played games and wasted this family time over lies. Sad! Glad real killer is finally behind bars and people can stop playing games!

      Reply

      • L

        Yes!!! The man that everyone pointed to in Agawam is owed an apology!
        How awful to be accused of something so horrible with no facts. This was all speculation or flat out lies. Shame on all of you that posted your theory’s….SAD!

        Reply

  8. Anonymous

    Hope we find out who did it,.My Dad was found Dead in spfld Mass in 1987,unsolve

    Reply

  9. John Q public

    Homicide hunter Joe Lends could solve this fastH

    Reply

  10. C

    I’ve looked through all these stories and their comments, and the comments on this sad story are by the far the most bizarre. You can tell by just looking at this woman’s picture she had a pure, beautiful spirit, you need a divorce if you are married to a rotten person that would think she deserved to die, but I feel that you are a liar or an attention-seeker. Please volunteer your time at a shelter for the homeless or an animal shelter rather than leaving nutty comments.

    Reply

    • Eye Witness Account

      The comments are not nutty. They are accounts of what I saw and heard on the night Lisa Ziegert was abducted and murdered. What is most bizarre is what actually happened to her.

      Reply

  11. Chanita

    I Agree With What This Person Had Said I Was Beat Up A Lot But I Had To Fight Back To Protect Myself! Then People Had Started Being So Mean To Me! But I Don’t Wana Disrespect This Woman I Feel So Guilty Right Now! But My Question Was The Why Was She Murdered?

    Reply

  12. Anonymous

    About 3 days ago they took DNA from a neighbor of mine for this case. I hope this family will finally get some peace. I can’t imagine what they have gone through.

    Reply

  13. Sweet pea

    . All original eye witness accounts prove that there was more than one killer. Her blood and clothes worn by her killers the night she was abducted from the Walnut Street Exchange business district prove there was more than one killer. Her blue peasant skirt, white embroidered blouse, and the purple

    Her clothes are the evidence.

    Reply

  14. Angie

    Wow eye witness if u know all this and u know who did it I am very good friends with two cops in Chicopee who are honest caring cops who will help trust me

    Reply

  15. Dot#5t

    Stop torturing Dave and his family!! If you can post anonymously here than you can relay your info to Dave or the US Attorney’s office! Hell you can even print out a letter on the computer and mail it in. Stop toying with people’s grief and if your claims are legit, get off your behind and do something!

    Reply

  16. say it here

    If anyone has honest information to say, say it here, I’ll make the unanimous tip for you, just say it, I will do it for you.

    Reply

  17. Billy

    If you were an eye witness to something involving this case and DON’T come forward, you can be charged.

    Reply

    • Anonymous

      I can’t be charged because she was raped and murdered. I am female and cannot be charged with rape or murder. I am only an innocent person who was put in a situation that would affect me for the rest of my life. The evidence speaks the truth. The police know who murdered her because they were at the crime scene when she was abducted. As an eye witness account I am mortified that law enforcement as well as the justice department are not giving honest answers to the family Lisa Marie Ziegert.

      Reply

      • Sarah

        You mean law enforcement isn’t being straight with the Ziegert family? Shocking..
        Listen people, this is business as usual in Agawam. From officers that steal from the police union to pay their own bills, officers who abuse their power to officers that COVER UP for their fellow officers, the Agawam PD is corrupt to its very core.

        To the Ziegert family: Maybe, just maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to compliment or defend the APD. Their conduct stands in direct conflict with your high praise of them. Murders are routinely solved without a body, the scantest evidence (a paint chip) or eyewitnesses. Here you have not one but 2 crime scenes, DNA and now an eyewitness account. Isn’t it just amazing that in 25 years, they don’t have any progress to show for it?

        The only thing that amazes me is that they haven’t framed anyone for it (yet)

        Reply

      • Common Sense

        And yet we finally have the killer and all your crazy comments were just crazy!! No police cover up, no one from Agawam….just a young punk from Westside who is now in jail. DNA match and a confession letter. So glad you can no longer torture this family with your craziness

        Reply

  18. Anonymous

    Release the names. “You’re scared for your family”..but then you come back with..”I’ve been told to keep my mouth shut but I can’t any longer?” Any hackers on here that can trace this “eye-witness?” IS ANYONE ELSE THINKING that the “eyewitness” is actually the killer? Or potential accomplice? Seems like a lot of self hate in his/her text..possibly from not only being a witness, but someone involved. If it’s you. Release the info. Take the plea.

    Reply

    • Anonymous

      I completely agree with u in this “eye witness” possibly being the killer seems like a game to this so called “eye witness” just seems off

      Reply

  19. Caring.Human.Being

    To “Eye Witness account” I understand if you’re afraid for yourself and your family. Those are real reasons to be afraid, but the truth does need to come out.

    Many years ago, I was told by someone in law-enforcement, some disgustingly horrific things were done to that young woman.

    The truths need telling, to anyone and everyone that will listen, and it CAN be done anonymously.

    Email every reporter, politician, law enforcement agency etc, you can think of. Email her family, friends or strangers, ask them to tell everyone THEY can think of.

    As for “Text A Tip”, personally, I’ll NEVER believe it’s 100% anonymous, NEVER!

    I do have a place for you to check out, even the US Government can’t track you, because it’s totally encrypted and based in Switzerland. If both the sender and receiver have it, it’s totally 100% safe, because then both sides are encrypted. https://proton mail.com Check it out.

    PLEASE do the RIGHT THING, nobody deserves what she went through. Just point them in the right direction, they’ll check out EVERY lead. This case was never closed, someone that wants to help is out there still, and they believe, with the right leads, he can be found.

    Reply

  20. Michelle

    That photo they released today….put it next to the rumored suspect’s yearbook photo. The similarities are eerie. Even if this man was cleared 20 years ago, can’t they ask him for another DNA sample now that his connections are no longer running the police department? Just a thought. I grew up in Agawam and lived there at the time of the murder. The twin was heartbroken, and it was pretty clear the majority of the town knew who did it.

    Reply

  21. New Englander46

    If the people that gave all this information (whether true or not) afraid or not the Zeigert family needs closer. Use the anonymous tip line, they will never know who you are. The info that you gave Eye Witness sounds very truthful. Do the right thing. I don’t think your that scared seeing you have the option to use the tip line. Sleep well!

    Reply

  22. Kris

    You say you’re an eye witness, and you’re afraid to go to ANY authority, in any way. However, you come on here and write this cryptic post and you’re not afraid anyone will track where your writing this from now? BS

    Reply

    • Eye Witness Account

      I have been to the authorities. I have talked to Lisa’s mom and contacted her brother. And if the police department had contacted everyone on that bowling list there would not be an unsolved murder. Her blood and clothes worn by the suspects is everything to me. She thought me something no one else could.

      Reply

      • Eye4Eye

        Someone knows. No doubt about that, someone knows. I’m born and raised in Feeding Hills and to this day the one name that continues to come up when Lisa is being discussed is Ed Borgatti Jr. the son of an Agawam cop

        Reply

        • Julian

          Watch and see how quickly this post/his name gets deleted. Interesting, isn’t it? The family will even defend this guy, claiming his DNA was tested 20 years ago, LOL. Is that so? And who exactly collected his DNA? Who maintained the chain of custody after it was collected? The Agawam Police? What a joke…

          Do tell… How do you feel having an Agawam cop assigned to this case who was fined by the State for COVERING UP for a fellow Agawam officer’s crime? Or how about the fact the APD collected evidence with their bare hands? Or the fact that an APD cruiser was reported in the vicinity of the card shop the night she was abducted? Or the fact 2 Agawam cops refused to submit a DNA sample?

          Everyone still feeling good the APD is working hard trying to solve this one?

          Reply

          • Common Sense

            So it came out who the killer was and it was Gary E. Schara of West Springfield, Ma. 1987 graduate of Longmeadow High School. Wanna go apologize to Ed’s face now. He gave his DNA, he was cleared. He fully cooperated with Police and yet people like you dragged his name through the mud. All of you trolls should be ashamed of yourselves.

        • Xavier

          How can you name names like that? I could throw out your name and then that would follow you around forever. not cool. On the other hand if he is innocent why not submit another DNA sample? Should be no problem right..

          Wasn’t there a report the cops in town were covering it up? Well just get the name of every Agawam cop working in 1992 an go down the list. Get their DNA and test it Shouldn’t be very hard now is it? The more I think about it the more likely it is its a cop or someone related to a cop.

          When the murderer and the cops investigating are one in the same – or related – you get “unsolved”

          Reply

  23. John

  24. Matt

    If anyone has legit information, come forward and stop helping the perps get away with this. Have some guts and do something about it.

    Reply

  25. Joe Kulik

    The reason why Lisa was raped & murdered is because our society puts SO Little Importance on public school education that college educated school teachers are forced to have a 2nd, part time job just to be able to financially survive. joseph.kulik.919@gmail.com

    Reply

    • Eye Witness account

      Miss Ziegert was not murdered because of her second job at Brittany’s Card shop however she was abducted from that place of employment. While there are many eye witness accounts of what actually happened the night of April 15, 1992 some will not come forward with the information because of the group that is behind this horrific crime. I can only state as an eye witness account that her blue peasant skirt, her purple sweat shirt and at least a piece of her white embroidered shirt came back to the crime scene where she was abducted from. I have received many threats to keep my mouth shut but I can’t. The killers had boasted what they had done to her but I saw who was wearing the evidence- which is her blood and clothes

      Reply

      • Truth Seeker

        So it was announced earlier this week that the alleged killer was arrested based on a DNA match. Based on the eye witness information you claim to have, do you believe the police have now solved this murder? Did Gary Schara act alone in committing this heinous crime? You mentioned that a “group” of people are behind this crime. Do you still stand by your statements? Please come forward and share your information, as an arrest has now been made.

        Reply

        • Anonymous

          I stand by all my statements. I believe that there is more than one killer behind this murder. My eye witness account of her blood and clothes coming back to the crime scene which was where she was abducted from is all the proof I need. When I saw her blue peasant skirt it was not torn in half.

          Reply

  26. pam

    I miss her alot. She was a great teacher and friend. I hope they find who took her life. And when they do I hope they blow their head off. Rip miss ziegert.

    Reply

  27. Justice

    Crime watch daily look at lisa ziegert video

    Reply

    • Bowling alley witness

      There is no justice in a murder and a slaughter.A teacher who taught special needs students does not deserve to die this way.

      Reply

  28. GumShoe

    Turning 30: Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. There are people who know things, yes, but they don’t need their lives ruined. Some of them may have families to protect. And, even if they knew something (assuming it is something “new”), who would you suggest they go to with the information? The Agawam police? Ha! The Massachusetts State Police? Ha-ha! The Hampden County District Attorney? Ha-ha-HAAA! The FBI? Oh, pleeeeeaaase. Ever heard of Whitey Bulger? You think it’s any different in the western end of the Commonwealth?

    So, instead of asking “who did this?” ask instead “who has been covering it up?”
    And “why?”

    Reply

  29. Turning 30

    I turned 30 today an i was six and just moving to the town of Agawam when Lisa ziegert was murdered. I always thought to myself how could a town it just seems so peaceful going off such a catastrophe this woman was supposedly loved by all let you all know something and not one of you is speaking up! Everyone stands around and point fingers at who they think it is but those who do know hide shamefully like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Maybe it’s time to make her family and her will go public again how can you let this happen to somebody in our town someone who cares for our children. I wish I knew something so I could speak up. So her family could get piece. . But in this town it’s always been who you know or who you blow sorry the family if there’s any way I could help

    Reply

  30. Brian Woodville

    I would not go to the Hampden DA with any information. It is part of the local closed system of connected players. Not sure abut the local FBI office either, after the retirement of Cliff Hedges. Springfield office is a substation of the Boston Office that allowed Bulger’s career to continue. When someone said, “Hey, let’s look for the girlfriend,” they had him in months.
    Get an anonymous email identity from Yahoo using a public computer at a library where you don’t have to identify yourself to use it. The post what you know here and with the US Attorney’s office. No one will know who you are and the US Attorney will be on the spot.

    Reply

    • Dave Ziegert

      Send me the information. Do you think I would rest until it was brought to light? Do you think I wouldn’t go to every network, make speeches on the steps of the courthouse until justice is served? Contact me at dziegert@hotmail.com.

      Reply

      • I4ANI

        Hey dave what about the Agawam cops u really trust them? Cause I happen to agree their conduct is plenty shady not just this case but whole lotta others.

        I don’t know but Agawam pd has been on this and nothin has been solved don’t seem rite. Something notright. They have covered up stuff before so for anyone to trust em I wouldn’t. Ur family has to at lest consider it

        Reply

  31. Sweet pea

    Her blue peasant skirt tells the whole story. Her blood and clothes worn by her killers is all the evidence I need.She was the best teacher in the state of Massachusetts. She taught me how to name her killers.

    Reply

  32. Johnny

    The Lisa Ziegert murder was senseless. I remember this case Unsolved Mysteries years ago. A pretty young teacher beloved and taken against her will. Raped and murdered. This case can be solved as they have DNA evidence and some witness accounts. That’s better than most crimes of this nature. Someday, there will be Justice for Lisa.

    Reply

    • sandra bowe

      I worked as loss prevention in the TJMaxx plaza at 1:30/2:00 pm the w.spfld police came to view r video due to an attempted abduction 2 spaces out the front door. Later lps from far end of plaza reported similar incident happened in there parking lot. My time of work can be verified. Thei incident at TJ happened &is verified by police. report.After all these years please speak with me.

      Reply

  33. Anonymous

  34. Anonymous

    So you hear banging (which was probably her kicking the door) no one come out and you just leave and don’t say anything or call the police… Sounds crazy to me smh. Poor women could have been saved!

    Reply

  35. Gumshoe

    There was a piece of carpeting found at a car wash, where it looked like somebody washed off a 4-wheel drive. Car wash manager said he sees that a lot after people go “four-wheeling” and that was his first impression. News reports said the piece of carpet had “pinkish” stains, but police said there was no connection. Not sure if it was ever tested. some said the carpet looked like it came out of the back of an SUV. April is far from hunting season, so it wasn’t deer blood.

    I understand they have DNA evidence, because she was raped.

    Reply

    • Anony

      Not sure if you’ll see this, but once the carwash lead was released, someone did come forward who claimed to be the person at the carwash. Police verified that there was no connection decades ago.

      Reply

  36. joe

    It dose not say if the blood was tested if it was lisa all the blood testedmaybe one drop is the killer .n blood spill no foot prints was the store found unlock ed ..to meany un awnsred question.

    Reply

  37. joe

    Can dna separate adult dna from teen or child . Didnt saythng about boyfiend or anyone of inteest was the store robed or ony her.?

    Reply

  38. karen

    I agree…

    Reply

  39. Jeff block

    They know who it is—-keep googling

    Reply

  40. Dan

    Cases like this makes me want to rip my hair out of my head!!! It really pains me:(

    Reply