Robert Honsch

Qs re. Robert Honsch
1. Honsch has left a light footprint on the records trail of time. Could he have lived under another name (aside from Honsch and Tyree) in his earlier years?
2. The prosecutor (Melody Briand) said Honsch had lived out of the country at one point. Where?
3. How long was Honsch involved with the Mennonite community? Prior to Sheryl?

Suspect arrested in 1995 double slaying: Ohio man being held in killing of first wife, daughter Crimaldi, Laura Boston Globe 25 July 2014


When Robert Honsch woke up Tuesday morning, he was 70-year-old Robert Tyree, a married father living under an assumed name in Dalton, Ohio, a community of about 1,833 people in the northeast part of the state.

By the end of the day, authorities say, his dark past caught up with him as investigators from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York descended on his home to ask about the 19-year-old killings of the woman who was then his wife and their teenage daughter. One of the victims' relatives had finally reached out to police.

Officials say Honsch's arrest solved a mystery that began Sept. 28, 1995, when a New Britain, Conn., police officer found the body of a teenage girl with a gunshot wound to her head wrapped in trash and sleeping bags at the back door of a music store at a shopping plaza. 

The mystery deepened a week later when a hiker found a woman's body near the entrance of Tolland State Forest in Massachusetts, about 40 miles from where the teenager's body was discovered, police said. No one came forward to claim the bodies as missing loved ones or to file a missing person report, police said.

Honsch appeared Thursday in Wayne County Municipal Court in Wooster, Ohio, where he is charged with being a fugitive from justice, said Nathan R. Shaker, an assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel R. Lutz.

A warrant has been issued in Westfield District Court charging Honsch with killing his wife, 53-year-old Marcia Honsch, according to a statement from Hampden District Attorney James C. Orenstein. Another warrant from New Britain Superior Court charges Honsch in the death of his daughter, Elizabeth, said New Britain Police Chief James P. Wardwell. 

"The case was never put on the shelf," Wardwell said. "We pulled out all the stops." 

The break investigators needed to crack this cold case came last month when a relative from Virginia Beach, Va., called New York State Police and reported the mother and daughter missing from Brewster, N.Y., near the western Connecticut border, police said. 

The relative suspected that Robert Honsch may have been responsible for the disappearance and now lived in Ohio, said Trooper Melissa D. 

McMorris, a New York State Police spokeswoman. 

Wardwell said he could not comment on why the relative came forward now. 

Investigator Peter Ciacci searched the Internet and came across a YouTube video of a news story about police efforts to identify bodies found in Tolland and New Britain, said McMorris. 

The story featured an image authorities had created of Elizabeth Honsch, which closely matched a picture of the teenager provided by the family from the Brewster High School yearbook, McMorris said. 

New York authorities contacted police in New Britain. Wardwell said he was sitting in his office when Captain Thomas Steck presented him with a printout of the picture six weeks ago. 

"I said, 'Oh, my God, that's her,' " Wardwell said. "My heart stopped. I recognized her immediately. There was just no question in my mind. I've seen her [photo] so many times." 

Stephen Griffin, a retired Massachusetts State Police lieutenant who worked on the Tolland case, said he got the news after arriving home from a cruise to Bermuda. 

"You feel good for the family," he said. "At least now, they'll get some justice." 

Griffin described the investigation as frustrating. On the one hand, forensic testing established the tie between the victims as mother and daughter and gave clues that the Tolland victim had been in the Albany, N.Y., area, police said. Physical evidence such as a sweatshirt the Tolland victim was wearing and the tax stamp on a pack of cigarettes found near her body also connected her to upstate New York, Griffin said. 

Investigator Gloria Coppola of the New York State Police pitched in, tracking down leads in the Albany area and checking computer databases for clues, Griffin said. 

"She was unbelievable," he said. 

But when investigators made public pleas, giving a press conference in Albany and conducting interviews with the news organizations, the trail did not heat up, he said. 

Griffin said investigators kept wondering: "Why isn't someone reporting these people missing?" 

"That was very puzzling to us," Griffin said. 

Wardwell said the family tried to find their loved ones. 

"They never gave up," he said. "They went to the right place and made this report." Family members did not respond to telephone messages Thursday. 

Robert Honsch is being held without bail at the Wayne County's sheriff's office, Baker said. He did not enter a plea at his arraignment, he said. 

A message left with the public defender office in Wayne County was not returned. 

Honsch was living in Ohio with his current wife and their children, police said. 

Kristel Buller, who lives across the street, said that three boys live in the home and that she would sometimes see Honsch mowing the lawn. 

She said Honsch seemed to be home a lot, but did not become a close neighbor. Buller said she was shocked by his arrest. 

"We always thought something wasn't quite right, but we didn't know there was anything fishy going on," she said. 

Wardell said he could not discuss theories investigators have developed about possible motives for the crimes or whether the weapon used has been recovered. 

He said police are just grateful the mother and daughter are no longer nameless victims. 

"We're so pleased not to call them 'Jane Does,' " he said. "They deserve the dignity of having their names." 
Robert L.Honsch, stands during his arraignment Monday in Westfield District Court for the Sept. 23, 1995 murder of his wife Marcia, which is alleged to have occured in Tolland. (Staff photo by Mark Murray)

Family member: Robert Honsch, accused of 1995 murders of wife and daughter, lived double life as Robert Tyree in Ohio By Stephanie Barry Mass Live August 27, 2014 


WESTFIELD — Robert Honsch was so invested in his new identity, he signed his waiver of extradition to Massachusetts from Ohio as "Robert Tyree," according to court records.

He was arraigned as "Robert Honsch, also known as Robert Tyree" in Westfield District Court on Monday morning. Gaunt and pale with wispy white hair, Honsch, 70, appeared to shrink from reporters as he pleaded not guilty to a 19-year-old murder charge in connection with the death of his wife, Marcia Honsch. 

Marcia Honsch, 53, was found near the entrance of Tolland State Forest in October 1995. The body of their daughter, 17-year-old Elizabeth Honsch, had been discovered behind a shopping plaza in New Britain, Conn., eight days earlier in September. Both had been shot in the head. 

The family lived in Brewster, N.Y., at the time. The town is less than a two-hour drive from the state forest. 

Investigators said the women were unidentifiable – although determined to be mother and daughter through DNA testing. A relative from Virginia Beach, Va., revived the question of their disappearances earlier this year, according to police, and helped positively identify the women. 

Honsch was tracked down in Dalton, Ohio, with a new wife and three children. He interviewed by police in July and arrested. Authorities have said a review of items found near Elizabeth Honsch's body connected him to the scene, though they have not specified what the items were. 

Honsch originally fought extradition and told a judge in Ohio that he, his wife and children were about "two steps away from being destitute"and he had been working a minimum wage job at a factory.

Hampden County District Attorney James Orenstein on Monday said Honsch never reported his wife or daughter missing.

Kathleen Tyree, mother of Honsch's second wife, Sheryl Tyree, told the Journal News in New York  that Honsch always avoided speaking about his past to his wife. 

Mother and daughter visited Honsch's brother, John Honsch, in Garnerville, N.Y., several years ago to learn about about Robert. Kathleen Tyree said John Honsch told the women Robert had been married before. Sheryl Tyree opted to stay with her husband, Kathleen Tyree told the newspaper.

John Honsch told The Journal News in New York that his brother had lost contact with the family years before. Relatives were told he was moving his family to Australia, police said. 

Sheryl Tyree met Honsch at a Christian truck stop while she was a trucker, according to The Journal News. When the two planned to marry, Kathleen Tyree said her daughter didn't care for his surname, so he took her name. 

John Honsch does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached. A phone number for Kathleen Tyree in Marion, Ohio, has been disconnected. Sheryl Tyree could not be reached. 

Honsch will be arraigned for Elizabeth Honsch's murder, although that date has not been yet. In Westfield, Honsch has another scheduled court date on Sept. 23, but Orenstein said Honsch will likely be indicted in Hampden Superior Court and arraigned there before then. 

The records filed in Westfield District Court remain under seal and are not yet public.

Murder coverup detailed  By Lisa Backus New Britain Herald   December 4, 2014

Robert Honsch’s current wife suspected for years that he was responsible for the disappearance of his former wife and daughter, whose bodies were dumped in New Britain and  Tolland, Mass., in 1995.

Found dead from a gunshot wound to her head in late September 1995, 17-year-old Elizabeth Honsch had been wrapped in two sleeping bags and some garbage bags near a dumpster behind a Hartford Road plaza.

The decomposing body of her mother, Marcia, 53, was found about eight days later at a campground in Tolland, Mass. She, too, had been shot in the head.

A search warrant unsealed last month, 90 days after Honsch’s arrest, indicates both women had been shot elsewhere and dumped where they were found.

For nearly two decades, New Britain police and Massachusetts State Police worked to identify the women. But it wasn’t until family members sought the help of the New York State Police in June after being in contact with Honsch’s current wife, Sheryl Tyree, for five years that their identities were confirmed.

He is being held without bond in Massachusetts, facing a murder charge in the death of Marcia Honsch. New Britain police say they charge him with his daughter’s murder when the Massachusetts case is completed.
According to the search warrant, family members, including Marcia Honsch’s four older daughters from a previous marriage, suspected for years that Honsch was responsible for the disappearance of their mother and their half-sister.

Elizabeth was the only one of the five girls who was Honsch’s biological daughter. Honsch told family members in late October 1995 that Marcia and Elizabeth had moved to Australia and he was expecting to join them soon, the warrant said.

As years passed and the family didn’t hear from Marcia Honsch, they began to search the Internet for Robert Honsch or anyone related to him. They found Honsch’s brother’s wife, who gave them a letter sent by Sheryl Tyree discussing her marriage to Robert Honsch, which she said had happened in 2000.

They also found, through U.S. Customs, that Marcia, Elizabeth and Robert Honsch had never traveled to Australia. One family member tried to contact the FBI twice, as well as police in Brewster, N.Y., where at one point the Honsches were living, but apparently received no help.

One of Marcia’s daughters tracked Tyree down by phone in 2009 and stayed in contact with her on Facebook and by phone for years, the warrant said. Facebook exchanges between the two women indicate that, by 2010, Tyree was willing to help the family find the missing women by discussing the issue with her husband.

By November 2013, Tyree had written, “Unfortunately he had lied to me from day one and I just don’t know up from down anymore.” In another exchange a few days later, Tyree tells Marcia’s daughter, “I know he’s faking memory loss too!!! And I agree with you, he knows exactly what happened to them.”

But it wasn’t until one of Marcia’s nieces sent an email to New York State Police in June that law enforcement officials were able to connect the missing women to the two unidentified women found in Tolland, Mass., and New Britain.

Honsch was arrested about a month later in Ohio, where he had been living with Tyree.

Murder suspect said missing wife, daughter were in Australia  (date, source?)

BREWSTER — Marcia Honsch's family tried searching for her and her daughter, Elizabeth, but were foiled for nearly two decades at every turn.

They contacted local police but were told they couldn't file a missing-person report because the mother and daughter appeared to have left the area voluntarily.

Meanwhile, Marcia's husband, Robert, allegedly told family he had moved the mother and daughter to Australia, and then later said Marcia had run off with another man, police said in court documents.

It wasn't until yet another push by a family member earlier this year that police connected Honsch with the gruesome discovery of Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch's bodies left 40 miles apart and in two states hundreds of miles away from their family.

"I'm just glad that it's all over and it has brought the family to some closure," said Jeannette Chiappardi, 46, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Marcia Honsch's niece, whose email to New York state police was credited with helping to break the case.

Robert Honsch, who sits in Wayne County Jail in Ohio until his Aug. 18 extradition hearing, told multiple lies over two decades that may have helped him elude capture, according to a police affidavit. The document, which police filed in the Ohio Court of Common Appeals to obtain a search warrant, delves into detail how the bodies were found and the trail investigators took that they said led them to Honsch.

He is accused of firing a large-caliber firearm point-blank into Elizabeth Honsch's head and wrapping her head and feet in black plastic bags before placing her still warm body into two sleeping bags that a New Britain, Connecticut, police officer would find on Sept. 28, 1995, police said in the affidavit.

Marcia Honsch was likely killed a couple of days after Elizabeth Honsch because her body was found eight days after her daughter's, and based on decomposition, had been dead for five to six days, police said.

Marcia Honsch, whose body was found with sperm and semen from Elizabeth Honsch's biological father believed to be Honsch, also was slain with a .45-caliber projectile to the head and then dragged and rolled off a embankment at the Tolland State Park in Massachusetts, police said.

FBI profilers said the slayings were premediated and the killer was "socially capable and fairly intelligent" and "likely to have engaged in violence prior to these murders."

Robert Honsch was described as having a history of violence against Marcia Honsch and her daughters and known to collect and have access to firearms, police said in their affidavit.

Investigators also believe Honsch tried to hide his tracks shortly after the slayings by visiting Marcia Honsch's two daughters from a prior marriage and telling them he had accepted a job in Australia and had sent his wife and daughter there ahead of him even though Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch told relatives they were planning to move to White Plains.

In 2013, when contacted again by one of the daughters, Honsch said Marcia Honsch had run off with another man. When confronted by his new wife, Sheryl Tyree, whom he married and had three sons with, all under the age of 7, Honsch alleged having amnesia, police said.

As part of executing their search warrant, police pulled hair from Robert Honsch and will compare it to hair samples found on Elizabeth Honsch's shoe and shirt.

Honsch's arrest has shocked some people who knew him. Anita Weiner, 68, of Los Angeles and formerly of the Bronx, who dated Honsch in the 1970s and gave birth out of wedlock to their daughter, said Honsch didn't show violence toward her.

"I always liked Robert," she said Wednesday. "To find out that he killed his wife and child — I was floored. It doesn't seem like he had it in him to hurt people."

Weiner's and Honsch's daughter, Celeste Murillo, also of Los Angeles, lived with Honsch for a year and a half in Brewster prior to the slayings and also said she never saw a violent side to Honsch, although she called him controlling.

21 years after Marcia Honsch's body found in Tolland State Forest, trial set for alleged killer Robert Honsch  By Buffy Spencer  The Republican (Springfield, MA) November 5, 2016

 SPRINGFIELD — On Oct. 6, 1995, a body with a gunshot wound to the head was found in Tolland State Forest.

The body was identified nearly two decades later as that of Marcia Honsch, 53, of Brewster, New York. Now, her husband Robert Honsch, 72, is charged in Hampden Superior Court with her murder.
Trial dates have been set in the case and then postponed. The parties were before Hampden Superior Court Judge Edward J. McDonough on Oct. 27 to get a new set of dates. The trial is now set to begin May 1.
In Connecticut Honsch faces a murder trial in connection with the fatal shooting of his daughter, Elizabeth Honsch, 17.
Elizabeth Honsch's body — with a gunshot wound in her head — was found wrapped in trash bags and a sleeping bag behind a shopping plaza in New Britain on Sept. 28, 1995.
Honsch, who was living in Ohio when arrested, was arraigned for Marcia Honsch's murder in August 2014 in Westfield District Court. The case moved to Hampden Superior Court in September of that year.
On Feb. 28 there will be a hearing on defense lawyer Paul Rudof's anticipated motion to exclude evidence from the state of Connecticut. On March 28 there will be a hearing on the defense's anticipated motion to challenge the admissibility of a prosecution expert who will testify about a palm print found on trash bags wrapped around Elizabeth Honsch's body.
Assistant District Attorney Karen J. Bell said the outcome of that hearing will affect a significant amount of evidence in the prosecution's case. 
Bell said previously that three "palm-type impressions/prints" were recovered from the bags. They were compared to Honsch's palm prints by a forensic scientist at the Ohio attorney general's office. Honsch's prints used for comparison were taken by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department in Ohio. 
 For nearly two decades investigators said the bodies were unidentifiable, although they were determined to be mother and daughter through DNA testing. A relative from Virginia revived the question of their disappearances earlier in 2014, according to police, and helped positively identify the bodies. 
Honsch was tracked down in Dalton, Ohio, with a new wife and three children. He was interviewed by police in July 2014 and arrested. He had been living under the name Robert Tyree. 
 On Jan. 10 a hearing is scheduled on Rudof's motion to dismiss the case or grant other relief. He is arguing exculpatory evidence was destroyed.
 The motion centers on a vehicle owned by Barry Troy, which the defense says was torched on the same night and in the same general area in Tolland State Forest where Marcia Honsch was killed.
 Rudof listed a number of reports and other written matter about the investigation into the burned vehicle he says have been destroyed. Those include a report written by an insurance investigator, a transcript of a 1996 insurance investigator's interview with Troy and his wife, and phone records of seven people.
 "Because these items are relevant to a third-party culprit defense as well as a defense premised on the failure of law enforcement to adequately investigate these potential third-party culprits, the destruction of this evidence substantially hampers the defendant's ability to present these defenses," Rudof wrote. 
He said even if the judge concludes dismissal of the murder charge is not warranted, the defense should have wide latitude to present third-party culprit evidence through questioning investigating officers.
In Massachusetts, a defendant is entitled to present evidence that another person committed the crime. To be admissible, the evidence must be relevant, not too remote or speculative, and must not confuse the jury by diverting their attention to collateral matters. Judges make decisions whether third-party culprit evidence can be admitted at trial.

             Video of Honsch in jail.



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