Gretchen Harrington Wiki, Wikipedia, Parents, Family, Reddit, Find A Grave
Gretchen Harrington Wiki, Wikipedia, Parents, Family, Reddit, Find A Grave -: The former preacher found guilty of killing a little girl who was walking to his church in 1975 Gretchen Harrington, 8, was killed, shocking Marple Township, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. According to authorities, the man just confessed.
Gretchen Harrington, age 8, was abducted and killed on August 15, 1975, as she walked to a Bible camp in a township outside of Philadelphia.
Authorities said on Monday that a man who had served as the pastor of one of the host churches for the camp had been detained and charged with killing Harrington.
According to the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, David Zandstra, 83, recently confessed after being presented with fresh evidence, including claims from a witness that the former pastor had tried to abduct another local girl and molested her.
According to NBC Philadelphia, a law firm representing Zandstra stated it was aware of the allegations but had no more comment.
He is accused of criminal homicide, murder in the first, second, and third degrees, kidnapping, and possession of a weapon for criminal activity. About 10 miles west of Philadelphia, in Marple Township, where the alleged crimes took place.
Prosecutors claimed that the new witness—who was not named—provided a diary. Prosecutors claimed in the criminal complaint against Zandstra that she made an entry in it one month after Harrington vanished, predicting that Zandstra might be accountable for twice attempting to kidnap another girl.
I tell you what. The witness is cited as having written in a journal entry from September 15, 1975. “A man-made two attempts to abduct Holly! I can’t share this with anyone, but I believe he may be responsible for Gretchen’s abduction. It might have been Mr. Z.
Seven days prior to Harrington’s disappearance, she claimed that the suspect had touched her at a stay at his house, according to the complaint. One of Zandstra’s kids and the witness, who was 10 years old at the time, were close friends.
Conversing with the suspect
According to the lawsuit and Delaware County D.A. spokesperson Margie McAboy, Zandstra was interrogated by authorities on July 17 close to his house in Georgia.
At the news conference on Monday, State Police Trooper Eugene Tray stated that the man offered to speak before having his Miranda rights read to him.
Zandstra admitted when confronted with the fresh witness information, according to Tray.
The trooper remarked, “He seemed relieved. He said, “It felt like a weight was lifted off his shoulders.”
According to the criminal complaint, Zandstra claimed that on August 15, 1975, he was driving when he saw Harrington heading to the Bible camp that his church, Trinity Church Chapel Christian Reform Church, was hosting.
According to the prosecution, he often picked up kids to transport them to the mid-morning program. According to the complaint, Harrington was well-known to the Zandstra family since they were best friends with another daughter.
She was last seen two blocks from her home, according to the prosecution.
Zandstra claimed to have picked up Harrington from the church as she was on her way there and then driven her to some adjacent woods, where he had parked. He told her to remove her clothing even though she requested him to take her home. He claimed that after she refused to take off her clothes, he punched her in the head and she never recovered consciousness.
The lawsuit claims that the suspect dumped her body, which was left in the woods “half-naked,” and covered it with vegetation.
According to the lawsuit, he provided a description, indicating that Harrington was 3 feet 6 inches tall, 50 pounds, and had blonde bunches. The lawsuit stated that during an interview days later, Zandstra provided specifics about the girl’s shorts, including that they had a zipper and a snap in front but no obvious buttons.
Prosecutors claimed that the facts were peculiar because the girl never showed up at Bible camp, making it impossible for him to have seen her there, and because the girl’s mother had created the shorts specifically for her daughter.
Harrington’s remains were found in a state park in the nearby Edgmont Township on October 14, 1975.
The lawsuit said that the death was a homicide caused by at least two blows to the head.
The family of Harrington expressed their appreciation to the police and prosecution.
In a statement, the family claimed that Gretchen’s kidnapping and death “have forever altered our family and we miss her every single day.”
Harrington’s time on Earth, according to Marple Township Police Chief Graeff Brandon, was “a life unfulfilled… because of pure evil and depravity.”
At the news conference on Monday, he claimed that her murder signaled a change for the neighborhood, which had previously felt quite safe and crime-free. The chief claimed that it had “transformed this community.” The setting was Anytown, USA.
According to prosecutors and inmate records, Zandstra left the church and relocated, first settling in Plano, Texas, and then in Georgia, where he was held in the Cobb County Adult Detention Facility on Monday for a sixth day without bond.
Authorities have requested anyone with information to get in touch because they are worried there may be additional victims. The D.A.’s office said in a statement on Monday that state police were comparing his DNA to other cold or open cases.
According to the prosecution, Zandstra refused to waive extradition to Pennsylvania, which would have slowed down the procedure but not necessarily stopped it.
The 48-year-old case is over, according to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer on Monday.
“We’re bringing him here to Delaware County, we’re trying him, we’re convicting him, and he’s going to die in jail,” he declared.
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