Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

An 83-year-old Marietta man who’s a former pastor has been arrested within the chilly case homicide of an 8-year-old lady in Pennsylvania.

Gretchen Harrington was attending Bible summer season camp in 1975 in Marple Township when she vanished whereas strolling from her residence to one of many camp’s two places.

Skeletal stays have been discovered at a state park in Edgemont Township on Oct. 14. The coroner decided she died of blunt impacts to the pinnacle, which he categorised as a murder.

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On the time, the Bible camp was housed in two church buildings, together with the one the place Gretchen’s father was a pastor, Reformed Presbyterian Church.

David Zandstra was the reverend on the different church, Trinity Church Chapel Christian Reform Church in Marple Township.

On the day she disappeared, Aug. 15, Gretchen was supposed to start out her day at Trinity after which go to the Reformed church with the opposite campers later that day.

Zandstra was one of many individuals accountable for driving the youngsters to the opposite church, which he did both in a white and blue Volkswagen bus or a inexperienced Rambler station wagon.


When Gretchen didn’t arrive at Trinity, her father known as Zandstra, who informed him Gretchen by no means arrived. Zandstra known as the police to report that she was lacking.

A witness informed police that she noticed Gretchen the morning she vanished speaking to somebody in both a inexperienced station wagon or a two-tone Cadillac. Zandstra denied seeing the sufferer the day she was kidnapped, however did describe her clothes intimately, investigators mentioned.

In 2023, investigators interviewed Zandstra’s daughter’s finest buddy, who mentioned she typically slept over on the household’s home and had been groped by Zandstra. She additionally remembered {that a} little one in her class was almost kidnapped twice and wrote in her diary on the time that she thought the suspect might have been Zandstra.

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Investigators decided Zandstra now lives in Marietta and interviewed him. When he was confronted, he admitted to seeing Gretchen strolling alongside the street on the day of her disappearance. He additionally admitted to driving the inexperienced station wagon and providing her a trip.

Zandstra claimed that he drove her to a wooded space and requested her to take her garments off. When she wouldn’t, he punched her within the head. He mentioned he thought she was useless, dumped her physique and left the world.

Zandstra was arrested on July 17 on homicide costs. Investigators have taken DNA samples to allow them to examine them to different open circumstances throughout the nation.

Investigators mentioned at one level, Zandstra lived in Plano, Texas. Anybody who might know anything about his actions or consider they might be a sufferer is requested to name the Pennsylvania State Police.

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By Admin

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