34 years later: Remembering local victims of 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing

Among those killed were 35 Syracuse University students returning home for the holidays after a semester studying abroad.

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Monday, December 12, 2022
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The attack killed all 259 people aboard the plane and 11 on the ground. The majority of those killed were Americans.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Nearly 34 years after 270 people, including 190 Americans, died in the mid-air bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the Libyan intelligence officer accused of building the explosive device has been taken into custody by the United States to face justice, federal officials told ABC News.

Abu Agila Mas'ud will face criminal charges in the United States for his suspected role in the deadliest terror attack on British soil and among the largest involving Americans, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Justice.

The United States has charged Mas'ud with building the device used to blow up the Boeing 747 about 38 minutes after it took off from London's Heathrow Airport en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The flight originally started in Frankfurt, Germany, and was scheduled to end in Detroit after it stopped in New York.

Among those killed were 35 Syracuse University students returning home for the holidays after a semester studying abroad.

Nineteen victims, including two families, had local ties to the Delaware Valley. The Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Legacy Foundation has published profiles about each victim.

Part of the main memorial stone to the victims of the Pan Am flight 103 bombing in the garden of remembrance at Dryfesdale Cemetery, near Lockerbie, Scotland, Dec. 20, 2008.
AP Photo/Scott Heppell, File

Martin Lewis Apfelbaum, 59, of Philadelphia was a stamp dealer. He was returning from a trip to London to purchase rare stamps. He was survived by his wife of 38 years, Diane, and his children and grandchildren.

David Scott Dornstein, 25, of Elkins Park, Pa. was returning home from Israel. He was working on a project for a New York-based organization called Alternatives In Jewish Education. He left behind his father, brother and sister.

Ken Dornstein, brother of David Dornstein and producer of "My Brother's Murderer," at the 27th Annual Remembrance Ceremony for the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 2015.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Michael (Mike) Joseph Doyle, 30, of Voorhees, NJ, was the manager of accounting research and projects at the Scott Paper Co. of Philadelphia. He was flying home after a business trip to London. He left behind his wife, Noreen, and daughter, Kelly, who was 19 months old.

Patricia Ann Klein, 35, of Trenton, New Jersey was a social worker returning home from England where she had been visiting an ailing nun who was a family friend. She was employed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division, for the past 13 years, most recently as director of professional services. She left behind her parents, sister, brother and paternal grandparents.

Robert Eugene McCollum, 62, of Wayne, Pa. was an associate professor of education at Temple University. Dr. McCollum had served for the past seven years as director of the College of Education's two staff development programs in Nigeria, Africa. He was returning from discussions with officials of UNESCO in Paris in regard to the next Temple/Nigerian project. He was survived by his wife, Carol, a son, a daughter, a brother and a sister.

Richard (Rick) Paul Monetti, 20, of Cherry Hill, NJ was a junior at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse of Public Communications and considering a career in journalism. Though sports were his passion. His mother said, "He was really a Philly sports fan."

Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Legacy Foundation/ Instagram

"It was quite a moment," Kara Monetti Weipz, Rick's sister, and the president of Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, told the Associated Press after hearing of the charges. "It was unbelievable that it was really happening after all these years, and especially after the last two years."

Kara Weipz sits at her home in Mount Laurel, N.J., Friday, Feb. 27, 2009, looking through a book of photographs of Lockerbie, Scotland.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Robert Plack Owens, 45, and Martha Ives Owens, 44, husband and wife, and their daughters, Sara Rebecca, 14 and Laura Abigail, 8, of Cherry Hill, NJ, were returning home for the Christmas holiday. Both Martha and Robert were avid aviators having their private pilots licenses and owning a share of a small plane. Both worked for Piper Aircraft in Lockhaven, Pennsylvania. Martha was born in Hanover Grafton, New Hampshire; Robert was born in Utica, New York; both Sarah and Laura Abigail were born in Philadelphia.

William Pugh, 56, of Margate, NJ, was an international business and financial consultant. He was born in Philadelphia and survived by a sister and brother. "I remember him as a gentle, kind, and considerate person," his sister, Charlotte, said.

Diane Marie Rencevicz, 21, of Burlington, NJ was a student at Temple University, majoring in Radio, Television, and Film. She was interested in a career in the music production industry. Diane was selected to study abroad through Temple's London program for the Fall 1988 semester. Her family established a scholarship at Temple so other students could travel abroad. Diane left behind her parents and three sisters.

Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Legacy Foundation / Instagram

Scott Christopher Saunders, 21, of Macungie, Pa., was a Colgate University senior studying through Syracuse University's DIPA program. He was returning home from his second study-abroad trip. His mother Lynn wrote, "Scott was a kind and caring friend and son. He had so many special qualities that we will all remember. Scott's memory will bring smiles to the faces of all those he touched and knew him well."

Dr. Irving Stanley Sigal, 35, of Pennington, NJ, was a senior director of molecular biology at Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories. As an internationally recognized expert on recombinant DNA, Dr. Sigal was on his way home after lecturing at the Royal Biochemical Society in London. He was survived by his wife, Catherine, a researcher at Merck, as well as his sister and three brothers.

Raymond Ronald Wagner, 52, of Pennington, NJ, was a first officer on Pan Am 103. The editor of the Pennington Post characterized Raymond's "loves" as flying, friends, and family. He was survived by his wife, Norma, two daughters, a son and his mother.

Joe Nathan Woods and Dedera Lynn Woods and their children, Joe Nathan Woods Jr., 2, and Chelsea Maire Woods, 10 months, were bound for Willingboro, New Jersey, on Christmas leave to visit Dedera's ill father. Joe and Dedera met while both were serving in the U.S. Air Force.

For more on the victims' stories, visit the Pan Am Lockerbie Legacy Foundation, Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, and the Syracuse University Library's Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives.