Cold case solved: Man charged in 1989 homicide of elderly Pennsylvania woman

A 78-year-old woman's tragic death was left unsolved until technological advances led law enforcement to a break in the case more than 35 years later.

Rose Josephine Hnath was stabbed and beaten to death inside her North Whitehall Township home on January 21, 1989.

The widow was found by her family after not showing up for a church service. Her home was ransacked.

Officials say she tried to fight off her attacker after defensive wounds were found during an autopsy, which ruled her death a homicide.


A suspect was taken into custody in Ohio this week thanks to the re-testing of evidence collected more than three decades ago.

"Investigative techniques unavailable in the 20th century helped lead us to the defendant, Michael Breisch, and allowed us to make this arrest in 2024," Lehigh County officials said.

Breisch is charged with Criminal Homicide, Burglary, Robbery – Inflict Serious Bodily Injury and Aggravated Assault.