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Pastor charged in Gretchen Harrington cold case extradited back to Delco

Pastor charged with killing 8-year-old in cold case extradited to Pennsylvania
Pastor charged with killing 8-year-old in cold case extradited to Pennsylvania 01:41

MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) -- A pastor charged with the killing of an 8-year-old girl in Delaware County decades ago is back in Pennsylvania Thursday night.

David Zandstra, 83, was extradited from Georgia to face charges for the murder of Gretchen Harrington back in 1975. 

Zandstra declined to say anything as he was escorted by officers to a police vehicle. 

RELATED: Gretchen Harrington cold case: Author of true crime book on murder reflects on arrest

Police said Zandstra confessed to killing Harrington and burying her body in a nearby state park when he was confronted by detectives over the summer. 

The 83-year-old was still working as a pastor in Georgia in July when he was arrested. 

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and the Pennsylvania State Police partnered with authorities in Georgia to arrange for Zandstra's return to Pennsylvania.

"He did give a statement to state police, which is why he was arrested and brought here, so we have high confidence that we're going to be able to bring justice for Gretchen," Stollsteimer said. 

Zandstra was a friend of the Harrington family and was working as a minister at a Broomall church where Gretchen was a bible study student when she went missing. 

RELATED: Marple Township police chief says "Good" prevailed, "held Evil to account" in 1975 Gretchen Harrington cold case

The case remained cold for 48 years until new evidence that Zandstra had molested another girl not long before Gretchen went missing, which led police back to Zandstra. 

"He will begin the process of facing justice for the horrible evil thing he did," Stollsteimer said. 

Zandstra is facing charges, including kidnapping and first-degree murder. He is also being investigated for his potential involvement in several other open cases in Georgia and Texas. 

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