Retired Preacher, 83, Accused of Murder After Kidnapping 8-Year-Old Daughter of Minister Walking to Vacation Bible School: Officials

arrest copy

Jul. 24 2023, Published 1:24 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

An 83-year-old retired minister living in Georgia was arrested in connection with the 1975 kidnapping and murder of an 8-year-old Pennsylvania girl, officals announced.

Online records show David Zandstra, 83, of Marietta faces multiple charges, including criminal homicide, murder in the first, second and third degree, kidnapping, and possessing an instrument of crime, the Delco Times reported.

Article continues below advertisement

Zandstra is accused of kidnapping 8-year-old Gretchen Harrington in Marple on Aug. 16, 1975, as she walked from her home to a nearby Vacation Bible School she was attending.

A jogger in a state park discovered the young girl’s body that October.


The suspect reportedly worked from 1969 through 1976, a year after the murder, as a Christian Reformed Church minister in Broomall. He was also employed in California, Texas and New Jersey.

Zandstra retired from the ministry in 2005.

Police have not yet released further details about the cold case.


Become a Front Page Detective

Sign up to receive breaking
Front Page Detectives
news and exclusive investigations.

More Stories

Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2023 Empire Media Group, Inc. Front Page Detectives is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.