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After more than 30 years, an arrest has finally been made in the 1989 murder of 78-year-old Rose Hnath in North Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania. Hnath, a widow who lived alone, was found dead in her home after failing to show up at church. She had been stabbed multiple times and the home was ransacked, indicating a struggle took place. DNA evidence from the crime scene was recently used to identify Michael Breisch, now 65, as the suspect in the case.

Investigators discovered that Breisch, who was living in a community corrections facility at the time of the murder, had burglarized Hnath’s home on the day of the murder. Although her home had been previously burglarized as well, there is no evidence linking Breisch to that incident. After being identified as the suspect, Breisch was arrested in Ohio, where he had briefly lived after spending time in Pennsylvania. He was then extradited back to Pennsylvania and is currently being held without bail on charges of criminal homicide, burglary, robbery, and other related offenses.

Justice for Hnath’s family was finally achieved after years of waiting for answers. Lehigh County District Attorney Gavin Holihan announced the charges against Breisch, emphasizing the use of modern DNA technology in solving cold cases like this one. Holihan stated that Hnath’s family members were relieved and gratified by the arrest, bringing closure to the case that had remained unsolved for decades. Investigators believe Breisch acted alone in the murder and have no evidence suggesting he knew Hnath personally at the time of the crime.

The break in the cold case highlights the importance of preserving evidence and utilizing advancements in forensic technology to solve crimes that have long gone unsolved. Investigators involved in the case, including Pennsylvania State troopers Jared Christman and Zachary McCornac, as well as Lehigh County Detectives Robert Egan and Joseph Vazquez, worked tirelessly to bring justice to Hnath and her family. The coordination between law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and Ohio ultimately led to Breisch’s arrest and extradition to face charges for the murder.

Breisch’s arrest serves as a reminder that justice can still be achieved years after a crime is committed. The use of DNA evidence and modern investigative techniques has allowed law enforcement to crack cold cases that otherwise may have gone unsolved. The Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, along with the Lehigh County Homicide Task Force and other law enforcement agencies, played a crucial role in bringing closure to the Hnath case. Moving forward, the upcoming preliminary hearing for Breisch will be an important step in the legal process to hold him accountable for Hnath’s murder.

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