Retired pastor arrested for girl's killing in Pennsylvania in 1975 after book published about the case

August 29, 2023

Only months after the release of a true crime book about a 1975 cold case murder in Pennsylvania, an 83-year-old retired pastor was arrested for the 48-year-old crime.

Retired pastor David Zandstra, 83, was arrested in July after the book Marple's Gretchen Harrington Tragedy was published in October 2022 about 8-year-old Gretchen Harrington's murder.

Harrington, the daughter of another pastor, was walking to Vacation Bible School when Zandstra apparently picked her up, assaulted her, and left her for dead, according to his admission. Her body was found two months after the killing.

The book contained witness accounts about Zandstra groping young girls, and several witnesses said they thought he was the killer, while not having proof.

Zandstra was interviewed for the book and claimed he had not seen Harrington the day of her murder.

He drove some of the children from his church to Harrington's father's church, where a joint Vacation Bible School was being held.

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