David Zandstra faces multiple charges in the Gretchen Harrington murder case in Marple, Pennsylvania

David Zandstra, 83, confessed to killing an 8-year-old girl. He is now charged with a number of crimes in connection with Gretchen Harrington murder case, a Pennsylvania cold case that has been unsolved for nearly 50 years.

David Zandstra faces multiple charges in the Gretchen Harrington murder case in Marple, Pennsylvania
David Zandstra faces multiple charges in the Gretchen Harrington murder case in Marple, Pennsylvania

Gretchen Harrington Murder Case Suspect

An 83-year-old former pastor at Trinity Church, David Zandstra, has been charged with criminal homicide, first, second and third degree murder, kidnapping of a minor, and possession of an instrument of crime in connection with Gretchen Harrington murder case in 1975. It’s been nearly 50 years since the murder of an 8-year-old girl who was kidnapped and killed in Pennsylvania.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, on Aug. 15, 1975, at 9:30 a.m., Harrington left her home to go to summer Bible camp. It was located at Trinity Church Chapel and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Marple, Pennsylvania. Zandstra was the pastor at Trinity Church Chapel at that moment, while Harrington’s father was the pastor at Reformed Presbyterian Church. Summer Bible camp started the day with a Zandstra-led class at Trinity Church Chapel. Zandstra was one of the people in charge of driving the children to the Reformed Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m. using a white and blue Volkswagen and a green Rambler station wagon.

The Marple Police Department said, At 11:23 a.m., the pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church reported the disappearance of Gretchen Harrington. The victim’s father was worried because she failed to appear to the Reformed Presbyterian Church for summer Bible camp. On October 14, 1975, exactly two months after her disappearance, the body of Gretchen Harrington was discovered in Ridley Creek State Park. A witness told the police that they saw the victim get into a two-tone car. Despite Zandstra’s being interviewed, no arrest was made. The Gretchen Harrington murder case remained unsolved on that day.

The Confession of David Zandstra

Zandstra admitted to the murder of Gretchen Harrington after hearing about sexual assault claims. Investigators interviewed his daughter’s childhood best friend, who said she was sexually assaulted by Zandstra. When she told Zandstra’s daughter about it, his daughter said he “did it sometimes”. Additionally, In Zandstra’s statement about Gretchen Harrington murder case, he said he took her to a wooded area and told her to take off her clothes, Gretchen refused the request and got hit in the head with a fist. Gretchen began to bleed, and he thought she was dead, so he left her there.

Police made a breakthrough in the Gretchen Harrington murder case after the alleged sexual assault, Yahoo News reported. He was arrested in Georgia and remains in the Cobb County jail without bail. David Zandstra refused to waive extradition back to Pennsylvania. However, prosecutors said they are submitting a petition that would send DCSO officials to pick David Zandstra. Zandstra is name a monster and parent’s worst nightmare.

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