Ex-Pastor Confesses to Kidnapping and Murder of 8-Year-Old Girl en route to Bible Camp in 1975

Authorities have arrested an 83-year-old former pastor in Pennsylvania in connection with a cold-case murder from 1975. The victim, an 8-year-old girl named Gretchen Harrington, was on her way to Bible camp when the accused, David Zandstra, reportedly approached her in his green station wagon.

He admitted to offering her a ride, but instead, he abducted her and took her to a secluded area. There, he cruelly demanded that she undress, and when she refused, he violently beat her to death.

As investigators looked into the case, the disturbing truth unfolded. The suspect, who had ties to the family, confessed to his heinous act, stating that he later returned to the church after committing the murder.

“David Zandstra is a monster. He is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Delco District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said during a press conference Monday, according to NBCPhiladelphia.

“He killed this poor 8-year-old girl he knew and who trusted him. And then he acted as if he was a family friend, not only during her burial and the period after that, but for years.”

Weeks later, the skeletal remains of Gretchen were found in Ridley Creek State Park, located over seven miles away from her residence.

In January, investigators interviewed a woman who claimed to be the best friend of Zandstra’s daughter. She made shocking allegations, stating that when she was 10 years old and staying over at Zandstra’s home, he had inappropriately touched her.

Upon confronting the former pastor with these disturbing sexual assault accusations, he eventually confessed not only to the assault but also to abducting and killing Gretchen.

Zandstra, currently residing in Georgia, now faces a series of serious charges, including criminal homicide, first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree murder, as well as kidnapping of a minor and possession of an instrument of crime.