As I sit and write this article almost thirty years to the day have passed since my cousin and my friend, Christine Guenther vanished while waiting for a bus at Donaldson’s Crossroads in Peters Township. Five days later she was found hidden under leaves just off of the side of Cecil-Sturgeon Road, murdered. She was just 15 years old, full of life and zeal for living that still amazes those of us who knew her and loved her, to this day. She wanted to be a doctor, because she wanted to help people. Just help people, because she felt that was the best way she could serve humanity.
Someone else made a conscious decision to end her life, on a whim, or planned in advance? For thirty years her friends and family have wondered the same thing as all friends and relatives wonder when someone is brutally taken from them: Why?
Peters Township in 1981 was mostly a farming community. While suburbia was creeping in, many of the last vestiges of a simpler time were all around. Where the K-Mart is today there was a sheep farm. Kids played in the streets, without fear. It was the same all over western Pennsylvania. That all changed on October 26th of 1981 for me.
It had changed for many families around the area even before that. In the late 1970’s through the early 1980’s there were several murders of young women in western Pennsylvania. Some of those murders are unsolved, even now. Pause and think a moment: a killer or killers were walking among us then and maybe still walking among us today.
Now thirty years later a group of Christine’s family and friends have formed a group, Friends of Christine Guenther (FoCG), which is pushing to find out who murdered Christine. As a groups spokesperson commented, “Not only do we want justice, but this is personal. A killer still roams the streets and our children are not safe.”
Christine was last seen alive at Donaldson’s Crossroad by the old 7-11, standing in phone booth. She had a doctor’s appointment in Pittsburgh, but missed the bus she was waiting for. What happened next is a mystery.
What FoCG wants to do is jog the memories of the local residents who may have been in the area on that fateful day. FoCG is unveiling a billboard and right on Route 19 in Peters Township asking people to think back and come forward with any information they have.
On Halloween, exactly 30 years after Chris’s body was found, the group will unveil the billboard. “We have invited the press, public officials, and the public to attend.”
The mystery needs to be solved, a killer walks among us, and thirty years is too long.
Schedule of events includes:
—Memorial Mass, Saturday, October 29, 2011, 8:30AM–10:30AM, St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, McMurray, Pa
—Graveside Memorial, Sunday, October 30, 2011, 11:30AM–1:00PM, Queen of Heaven Cemetery, McMurray, Pa
—Launch of Billboard, Monday, October 31, 2011, 12:30PM–1:30PM, Intersection of Route 19 and Valleybrook Road, McMurray, Pa
For more information, contact MediaChristineGuenther@gmail.c
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