Georgia cops cracked a 33-year-old case when they identified the man who killed a 19-year-old girl through genealogy DNA.
Henry Fredrick Wise, also known as Hoss Wise, allegedly killed Michigan teenager Stacey Lyn Chahorski in 1988, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced Tuesday.
Wise, however, died in a fiery car crash in 1999 before he could face justice.
Chahorski’s body was found on Dec. 16, 1988 about 5 miles from the Alabama Stateline on I-59 northbound lane in Dade County, GA.
“Wise was a truck driver who drove through Dade County, Georgia on his regular route,” Keri Farley, FBI Atlanta’s special agent in charge, said at a press conference.
Wise, who would have been 34 at the time, was working as a truck driver. He had been traveling through Chattanooga to Birmingham to Nashville for the Western Carolina Trucking Company, and also worked as a stunt driver on the side.
Chahorski’s body was beyond recognition. A GBI forensic artist made clay renderings and drew composites to recreate what the victim would look like in hopes of identifying her, officials said, but Chahorski wasn’t identified until March 2022.
After finally determining Chahorski was the victim, GBI and FBI turned to genealogy DNA testing for the murderer’s profile and received positive results in June. The officials interviewed Wise’s family and obtained DNA swabs in order to identify him as the killer.
“This case is key because it is the first that we know of that investigative genealogy was used to identify both the victim and the killer,” Farley said.
Officials noted that Chahorski’s mother is at peace knowing her daughter’s killer is no longer living.
Wise burned to death in a stunt car accident at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina 11 years after he killed Chahorski. He had a criminal history in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, ranging from theft, and assault, to obstruction of a police officer. Wise’s arrests predate mandatory DNA testing after a felony arrest, the GBI said.