Ohio man charged in connection with 1989 killing of Penn elder. Woman

An Ohio man has been arrested and charged for his alleged connection to the 1989 killing of an elderly Pennsylvania woman, authorities said.

Michael Breisch, 65, is charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 21, 1989, slaying of 78-year-old Rose Hnath in North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County District Attorney Gavin Holihan announced during a news conference Thursday, May 16 , known .

Hnath was “stabbed and beaten to death” in her home over three decades ago. The cause of death at the time was determined to be blunt force trauma and sharp force injuries, Holihan told reporters, including NBC10 Philadelphia, which released footage from the news conference.

An office spokesperson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for further information.

Archive image of a police siren.


After several district attorneys worked on the case for decades, Holihan announced the news of Breisch's arrest in Ohio and said he was being held without bail in the Lehigh County Jail.

The prosecutor pointed to “DNA evidence that was collected and preserved” and said technological advances that occurred in the “20th century.” Century” were not available, would have led to arrest. He also specifically acknowledged investigator Joseph Vasquez for his work on the case, saying he was involved from the beginning.

Holihan stated that a knife and a shotgun found “at the scene and across the street” were “maintained in a condition sufficient for use.” [as] Evidence decades later.

He praised the “professionalism” of the state police in 1989 and the “perseverance” of prosecutors in the years since.

As CBS News reported, the victim was a widow who lived alone at the time of her murder. She was found dead by relatives after she failed to attend church. They also discovered that their home had been ransacked.

Holihan said Hnath had “defensive injuries,” suggesting her attacker “continued the attack even after she fought back.”

Want to stay up to date with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, breaking trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

According to CBS News, Breisch, who was 30 at the time, was living in a municipal correctional facility in the Lehigh Valley.

“Part of the reason for the violence involved and the reason that some of the evidence seized was preserved was the fact that she fought back,” Holihan said.

“You're dealing with cases that investigators don't forget. And there’s no carte blanche when it comes to murder,” he later explained. “The cases remain, and the detective’s memory remains, and the case files remain. It is not lost on our current office that these are families who have lost someone. It doesn't matter how long ago it was. …Though it grew cold, it was never forgotten, it was never put aside.

Breisch's preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 21, Holihan said.

As The morning call As reported, Breisch was charged with escape and drug possession back in 1989, for which he was serving a six-month prison sentence at the time, according to court records. He was also reportedly arrested for burglary in Pike County in 1993, the outlet says.

The morning call He was also charged with robbery, burglary and aggravated assault. Although Hnath's house had been broken into weeks before, Breisch was only charged with burglary from the day of the murder.

The victim's family is “satisfied and relieved that an arrest has been made,” the prosecutor said.

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *