26 Years Later, Pellet Gun Arrest Links Suspect to Child Rape and Double Murder

Last August, Cape Coral police arrested Joe Zieler, 54, for shooting his son with a pellet gun. Subsequent DNA discoveries have now positively linked the Florida resident to the unsolved 1990 rape and murder of an 11-year-old Robin Cornell and her babysitter Lisa Story, 32.

“It was like winning the lottery of justice,” Jan Cornell, Lisa’s mother, said at a press to announce the discovery. “Every prayer, every word, everything, came full circle.”

Reports say on May 9, 1990, Cornell spent the night at her boyfriend’s house. She reportedly fell asleep and when she woke up and came back the next morning, Cornell made the horrifying discovery.

As for the motive for the killings, it’s unclear. Cornell said she does not know who Zieler is and she’s never had a connection to him in the past.

Cape Coral Chief Investigator Christy Jo Ellis said,To tell you the system works is the best thing ever. I’m over the moon. It was so surreal when I got the phone call. I said ‘Are you kidding me?’”

Zieler is now facing additional charges of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of sexual battery and one count of burglary.

Although Zieler has been charged, authorities say there’s still a lot of work to do and ground to cover on the case. Supervisor of the Major Crimes Unit Barrett Walker said Zieler has not confessed to the crime. They still need to process other evidence and collect information.

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