Bucks County DA employs ground-penetrating radar to investigate cold-case murder

SPRINGFIELD TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Armed with ground-Penetrating radar, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub was on the rural property once owned by Edward Fonder, who went missing 25 years ago.

The hope was that the radar might detect Fonder's remains somewhere beneath the foundation where the family home once stood.

So far though, nothing has been found.

"The radar was set at about five feet penetration," said Weintraub. "We also looked at a patio that would have been for a front porch and it didn't show anything obvious to us."

A person of interest in the case is already behind bars.

Mary Jane Fonder, Edward Fonder's daughter, was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 for the murder of a church secretary, in a bizarre case that made national headlines.

But even as Mr. Fonder's remains have yet to be found, and Tuesday's effort turned up nothing, many neighbors in Springfield say they have little doubt that Mary Jane was somehow involved in her father's disappearance.

John Brunner, who knew the Fonders, said there is only one way to describe Mary Jane.

"Very strange," said Brunner. "I've gotten birthday cards from her, from Muncy."

Mr. Brunner shared with us one of those hand-decorated cards, with the return address from the Muncy State Correctional Institution in Muncy, Pa.

Mary Jane Fonder was the maid-of-honor at Dennis Michael's wedding back in 1975, and he says the same thing.

"She always was peculiar. She always was a little off," Michael said.

But Weintraub knows he needs more than public opinion to try Mary Jane Fonder for the disappearance of her father.

That's why, despite the outcome today, he is not giving up on this cold case.

"We're going now probably resort to metal detectors, and if need be and if we get permission from the owner, we might come in here with some heavy construction equipment and try to break up that concrete just to be sure we haven't missed anything," he said.

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