More questions follow church murder arrest

April 2, 2008 5:11:06 PM PDT
A Bucks County church murder mystery may be solved, but police could have another one on their hands. The 66-year-old woman accused of shooting and killing a fellow church member is also a "person of interest" in the disappearance of her own father. He hasn't been seen since 1993.

Tonight, police say that case is "not a closed matter."

65-year-old Mary Jane Fonder stands accused of murdering 42-year-old Rhonda Smith. Now though, Fonder's arrest has renewed interest in the disappearance of her father 15 years ago.

Action News went to the home Fonder shares with her brother Edward, who opened the front door just long enough to announce his faith in his sister. But state police aren't so sure.

It was the Summer of 1993 when then-72-year-old Edward Fonder Sr. supposedly went for a walk... and was never seen again. Mary Jane and her brother were interviewed by police as persons of interest, but they were never considered suspects.

Members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church say they don't know what to think.

Church member Sue Brunner told Action News, "I'm sorry for her and for Rhonda and for the families involved because nobody wins in something like this.

Investigators say the motive behind the church murder was jealousy. Action News is told Fonder was in love with the church's pastor, the Reverend Gregory Shreaves. But Shreaves was apparently not interested.

Police believe Fonder, who wrongly assumed that the pastor and Smith were developing a relationship, shot Smith twice in the head inside a church office this past January.

Judy Zellner, the parishioner who discovered Smith's body, says getting past all of this will not be easy. She says, "Of course, we're all shocked and we're ... I'm saddened. And really, I'm shaken. And we will get by and we'll stick together through this. I know we will."

Mary Jane Fonder was asked to undergo a lie detector test during the investigation into her father's disappearance. She refused.

Investigators are now asking anyone with any possible new information into the disappearance of Edward Fonder to call Springfield Township Police.


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