The Christine Guenther Murder

In 1981, a small Western Pennsylvania suburb mourned the loss of a 15-year-old girl. Thirty years later, her peers speak up, insisting on justice. Learn more about this promising young woman, and help us finally put this mystery to rest.

Observer Reporter 10/26/2011

30 years: Teen's killing unsolved
By Terri T. Johnson Almanac staff writer tjohnson@thealmanac.net
This article has been read 1269 times (as of 10/26/2011--6:52 PM)
McMURRAY - Fifteen-year-old Christine Guenther disappeared from a bus stop in Peters Township, Washington County, 30 years ago today. Five days later, her body was found, covered in brush, by a hunter in a rural area of South Fayette Township. She died of head wounds believed to be inflicted by a small axe.

Her killer was never caught, and the case remains open.

Guenther was a junior at Peters Township High School when she left a chemistry class about 12:30 p.m. Oct. 26, 1981, to catch a bus for a doctor's appointment in Pittsburgh.

Then, she simply vanished.

 



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Thirty years later, a group of her friends remain close and, in an effort to solve the murder and to convict her killer, banded together to form the Friends of Chris Guenther.

A website and a Facebook page both are dedicated to Chris. To remember the 30th anniversary of her disappearance and death, Friends of Chris Guenther have planned a memorial weekend, beginning with a Mass at St. Benedict the Abbot Church in McMurray at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, there will be a graveside memorial beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Peters Township.

Between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Monday, the group will unveil an electronic billboard message and hold a vigil at Valley Brook and Washington roads in Peters Township.

Christine Patrizio Wallace was Guenther's best friend.

"We were friends for as long as she and I could remember," Wallace said. "We met, I believe the story goes, up at the (Woodland Hills) pool through our mothers. We were just friends forever."

The last time she recalls seeing her friend was at the front door of the high school the day she disappeared.

"She was leaving and said she would call me about the Steeler game that night. Instead, I got a phone call from her mother to ask if she was with me," Wallace said.

The next few days were anxious for Wallace and Guenther's other friends.

"I knew something was wrong, but I just felt it was going to work out; of course it was going to work out. There was going to be a completely reasonable explanation, and she would come home," Wallace said.

Then, her body was found.

"I went into a bit of shock. It couldn't be real. It's nothing you can understand," Wallace said.

Diane Hartman Postrech, a native of Peters Township who now lives in Canonsburg, also is active in the group.

"I remember when she went missing," Postrech said. "She was so close to my age and over the course of all these years, it never left my mind. I always wondered about her."

Peters Township police Chief Harry Fruecht said the case remains open through the Allegheny County police.

Guenther was last seen in Peters Township, but her body was discovered in South Fayette Township, Allegheny County, and police have been unable to establish where she was murdered.

Wallace hopes the message on the billboard will result in someone stepping forward.

"I'm hoping that by looking at the billboard, someone will remember; but people don't like to remember bad things that happen in good places," she said.

The billboard has been rented for November and contains information about the murder and a tip line telephone number. A photograph from the Peters Township yearbook will be displayed.

"This person had 30 years of freedom and getting to see their own children and grandchildren, getting to have all those things, and this was a 15-year-old girl who never got to experience that," Postrech said.

Each year Postrech plants flowers at Guenther's grave.

"She was a 15-year-old girl and she will always be a 15-year-old. She needs protection and justice," Postrech said. 

1 comments

Christine Guenter : 10/26/2011 
Thank you for writing this article about our friend and classmate. Justice needs to be served to the person who took her life and hopefully this article will help out!