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Marple's Gretchen Harrington Tragedy

Marple's Gretchen Harrington Tragedy

For nearly 50 years the mystery of who murdered 8-year-old Gretchen Harrington went unsolved. Then, this summer police arrested former pastor David Zandstra. Journalists Mike Mathis and Joanna Falcone Sullivan, authors of Marple's Gretchen Harrington Tragedy, will return to the Marple Library to discuss the case and share what they know about these new developments. 

Advanced registration is required.


Friday, Aug. 15, 1975 began as a typical summer day in the suburbs. Young children played with their friends, adults prepared for work or planned for their vacation at the Jersey Shore...

That all changed in the hours before noon, when Gretchen Harrington, the 8-year-old daughter of a Presbyterian minister and his wife, was kidnapped while walking to a vacation Bible school less than a quarter-mile from her house. Her body was found by a jogger in a state park nearly two months later.

The crime forever changed the lives of the children who were near Gretchen's age and their parents, many of whom chose to live in Marple Township because they considered it a safe refuge from the crime-ridden streets of Philadelphia.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

About the Authors:

Joanna Sullivan has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Baltimore Business Journal, part of the American City Business Journals publications, for more than 20 years. She has also worked as an editor and reporter for the American Banker newspaper in Washington, D.C.; the Annapolis Capital in Annapolis, Maryland; and the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. She's a graduate of the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. A native of Philadelphia, she lives in Baltimore with her husband, Michael, and son, Maxim.

Mike Mathis has worked in the communications field for more than 35 years.  A graduate of Villanova University, he is the author of five books published by Arcadia Publishing Company and is co-author of Cherry Hill A Brief History, published by The History Press. He also works as a freelance writer and is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of New Jersey, which was published by Rutgers University Press in 2004, and State Supreme Courts, which was published by the National Center for State Courts in 2013. He is the recipient of awards from the New Jersey Press Association, the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, Philadelphia Press Association, the New Jersey Communications Advertising and Marketing Association and Camden County College.

Thursday, September 21, 2023
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Meeting Room
Marple Public Library
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Marple Public Library

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