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  1. #1
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    PA - Gretchen Harrington, 8, Marple Twp, 15 Aug 1975

    Hey everybody! I've got another cold case. This one is in Pennsylvania... and unfortunately, there has not been much news about it.

    Basically, 8-year-old Gretchen Harrington, disappeared while walking to Bible School in Marple Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Her body was found off a path through Ridley Creek State Park.

    I found a couple of news article on the case.

    http://www.thereporteronline.com/art...WS01/310159989

    Ena Harrington said for the first few days, Marple Township Police searched for her daughter, centering in the area around their home.

    Ena said she raised daughter to be careful. She said they were even cautious of the mailman, who they saw on a regular basis.

    'I will never understand why she went with a stranger,' Ena Harrington said. 'They said a pedophile had been watching the girls all week.'
    Her father's career and her family's experience are recounted on this church website, as her father served as a pastor their for many years.

    www.bromallrpc.org

  2. #2
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    I emailed the Marple Township Historical Society asking if they had anymore information on the case, as the news reports were scarce. They said they would check their local archives and talk with local law enforcement officers to find out if there was ever anymore information in this case.

  3. #3
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    That's very sad. Hard to imagine someone disappearing in less than 200 yards without anyone seeing anything conclusive. I wonder if the poi is still alive in prison.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  4. #4
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    I wonder the same thing! It is one of those cases that haunt me. It is an incredibly sad story. This little girl deserves justice.

  5. #5
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    Another little girl on her way to church.

    Witnesses recounted two different vehicles. COD was a blow to the head which fractured her skull.
    Instead she was found amid some brush off the side of a path through the park. Her clothes - blue canvas tennis shoes, denim shorts with a blue and white striped top - were strewn about her 4-foot, 2-inch remains.
    "There was a suspicious vehicle, a green pickup truck, older model, seen by an individual driving by," McKenna recalled recently. "He sees what he thought was Gretchen walking up the sidewalk toward that pickup."

    McKenna also recalled a woman who was placed under hypnosis. She told investigators that she had seen a man escorting a young person to a white compact car parked on the opposite side of the street.
    Last edited by bessie; 02-04-2014 at 07:01 PM. Reason: added COD
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  6. #6
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    Here's an article from 1975. She went missing on August 14, 1975, but her body wasn't found until October 15.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...3757%2C3277505


    http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal..._homicide.html
    Pennsylvania State Police
    Troop K Investigations

    Gretchen Harrington - Homicide-Delaware County

    Incident Number: K02-30543
    Date/Time Occurred: 08/15/1975 01:00 PM
    Location: Marple Twp. and Edgemont Twp. - Delaware County

    On Friday, August 15, 1975 at approximately 9;20 am, Gretchen left her residence at 27 Lawrence Road, Marple Township, Delaware County, Pa. Gretchen walked southwest on Lawrence Road in the direction of the Trinity Bible School which was approximately 1/3 of a mile from her residence. Gretchen was attending summer bible school at the Trinity Chapel. She never arrived at the school that day, and was subsequently reported missing at approximately 11:30 am. Gretchen was eight years old at the time of her disappearance. On October 14, 1975, Gretchen's remains were recovered in Ridley Creek State Park.

    Contact:
    If you have any information concerning this investigation please contact:
    Pennsylvania State Police Media Station at 484-840-1000 or Tpr. Robert J. Levan at 610-558-7084.
    Gretchen is mentioned in a recent blog post

    http://mothersofbrothers.com/the-odds-are-safe/
    Last edited by bessie; 02-04-2014 at 11:22 AM.
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  7. #7
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    I hope I'm not mixing up another case but I thought I saw somewhere that she was killed by a blow to the side of the head.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    I hope I'm not mixing up another case but I thought I saw somewhere that she was killed by a blow to the side of the head.
    You are correct.


    BBM:

    The coroner identified Gretchen through dental records, and her clothing was identified by her parents, according to state police. He ruled she had been killed by a blow to the right side of her face, where her skull was fractured.
    http://www.thereporteronline.com/art...urder-unsolved

    Unless I have included a link, it is my opinion and only my opinion that I am expressing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21merc7 View Post
    Thank you!!! There are so many things moving around on that page, I had trouble reading it.
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  10. #10
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    Thank you both for your help! There was one article in which the mother was interview and I just got the feeling that the family really wanted to move on. They are obviously much older now, as would be her brothers and sisters. Its just very sad. I read an article on Tru TV one time about child sex offenders and it profiled the type of offender that would be likely to commit a crime similar to this one. I'll have to find it and attach a link.


  11. #11
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    I grew up in Broomall and remember this case well, as Gretchen was only a year younger than me. It might have been where my empathy with victims of true crime began.
    Her church and my then church (St. Pius X) are next door to each other.

  12. #12
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    Thinking of Gretchen today.
    May her killer be found out.
    Be the most brilliant color in the box!

  13. #13
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    Ridley Park always gave me the creeps. That poor little girl. Her family has just given up on answers re what happened to her?

  14. #14
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    It used to be a very woodsy area. I know there has been much development since the time of Gretchen's murder.
    Our house backed up to the park and a golf course. Great places for people to hide out/camp.
    Be the most brilliant color in the box!

  15. #15
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    Oh wow, how sad. I grew up in Springfield, not far from Gretchen's home. I was only 1 year older than her at the time.

    The lack of articles or any information is frustrating.

    I moved away in 1977, but a good deal before then (75 or 76), I remember riding my bike in the street to a friend's house in a neighborhood off Sproul, and a vehicle pulled up alongside me and stopped. His window was rolled down and he asked me over, and all I remember was being so spooked that I literally dropped my bike in the middle of the road and darted towards the houses. I never looked back, and just sprinted as fast as I could through the backyards of houses until I reached a home I was familiar with. It was terrifying.

    Reading Gretchen's story rekindled that memory.

    Back then you had so much freedom. Kids would come home for lunch; then back out to play, and be home when it got dark. It makes me so sad to read Gretchen's mom talk about how careful her girls were and how she couldn't imagine her going off with someone. Sigh, she did everything right as a parent, instilling that carefulness. Makes it all the more crushing that it wasn't able to protect her.

    I wonder if there was any DNA collected and stored from her clothes?

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