Georgia police cracked a 33-year-old case when they identified the man who killed a 19-year-old girl through genealogical 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 accident in 1999 before he could face justice.
Chahorski’s body was found on December 16, 1988 about 5 miles from the Alabama state line on the north lane of I-59 in Dade County, GA.
“Wise was a trucker driving through Dade County, Georgia, on his regular route,” FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley said at a news conference.
Wise, who would be 34 years old at the time, worked 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.
Chahorski’s body was beyond recognition. A GBI forensic artist made clay renderings and drew composites to recreate what the victim might have looked like in hopes of identifying her, authorities said, but Chahorski was not identified until March 2022.
After finally determining that Chahorski was the victim, GBI and the FBI turned to genealogical DNA testing to profile the killer and received positive results in June. Officials interviewed Wise’s family and obtained DNA samples to identify him as the killer.
“This case is key because it is the first that we know of that research genealogy was used to identify both the victim and the killer,” Farley said.
Authorities said Chahorski’s mother is at peace knowing her daughter’s killer is no longer alive.
Wise was burned to death in a car accident at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina 11 years after killing Chahorski. He had criminal records in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, ranging from robbery and assault to obstructing a police officer. Wise’s arrests predate mandatory DNA testing after a felony arrest, the GBI said.