Husband arrested for 1995 Tolland murder

Marcia Honsch's body was found near Tolland State Forest

Robert Honsch (Photo Courtesy: New Britain Police Department)
Robert Honsch (Photo Courtesy: New Britain Police Department)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The husband of a woman whose body was found back in 1995 at the entrance to the Tolland State Forest has been arrested by police in Ohio.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the office of Hampden County District Attorney James Orenstein, Robert Honsch, 70, of Dalton, Ohio was arrested Tuesday night for the murder of Marcia Honsch. He is also being charged with killing of his 16 year-old daughter, Elizabeth Honsch, whose body was found behind a mini-mall in New Britain, Connecticut on September 28, 1995.

Marcia Honsch (Photo Courtesy: New Britain Police Department)
Marcia Honsch (Photo Courtesy: New Britain Police Department)

Days later on October 6, 1995, a hiker found Marcia Honsch’s body outside the entrance to Tolland State Forest. The 53 year-old had a gunshot wound to the head (as had her daughter) and had no identifying information on her, and as such, neither woman was positively identified until very recently. The family had been living in Brewster, New York at the time of the murders.

An investigation into the disappearances of Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch began in June, after New York state police received a report from a woman from Virginia Beach, Virginia. The New York authorities contacted police in Massachusetts and Connecticut, which led them to positively identifying the 1995 murder victims as the mother and daughter.

At the time of the murders, New Britain police say that there were no missing persons reports filed that seemed to correspond to either victim.

Orenstein’s office says that Robert Honsch had been living in Ohio under an assumed name with a new wife and children. Investigators traveled to Honsch’s home on Tuesday, where he was interviewed. Police also obtained a search warrant for his home, and evidence was collected. Orenstein’s office says that they were able to connect Robert Honsch with items that were found at the place his wife’s body was discovered.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at Wayne County Municipal Court in Wooster, Ohio, and is expected to return to Massachusetts for arraignment in Westfield District Court. It is not clear at this time, however, when he will be returned to Massachusetts.

 

Below is the New Britain police news release sent to 22News regarding the arrest of Robert Honsch:

The New Britain Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police, did begin joint investigations several years ago with the New York State Police with an emphasis of getting the word out in the Albany New York area regarding these crimes.  Even with all the coverage and effort given, the women remained unidentified. 

Family of Elizabeth Honsch (DOB 4/1/1977) and Marcia Honsch (DOB 01/20/1942) made a missing persons report to New York State Police in June, 2014.  The family is from Dutchess County, New York.  The report related to the disappearance of a mother and daughter from the Brewster New York area in late 1995. Soon after, the New York State Police made contact with the New Britain Police investigators and Massachusetts investigators and began to intensively investigate this report as a team.  The agencies, working together with the Connecticut State Forensic Lab, were able to determine that the missing mother and daughter were in fact the previously unidentified victims in this double homicide investigation.  The victim of the New Britain homicide is Elizabeth Honsch, who was only seventeen years old at the time of her death.  The victim of the Tolland homicide is Marcia Honsch, who was Elizabeth’s mother.

Elizabeth Honsch (Photo Courtesy: New Britain Police Department)
Elizabeth Honsch (Photo Courtesy: New Britain Police Department)

The investigation revealed that Elizabeth and Marcia lived with Elizabeth’s father, Robert Honsch up until October 1995 when the family suddenly lost all contact with other family members.  It was ultimately determined Robert Honsch was now living in Dalton, Ohio, under an alias name, married with children by his current wife.

Detectives from the New Britain Police, the Massachusetts State Police, and the New York State Police did travel to Ohio where they interviewed Robert Honsch.  Search Warrants were also obtained for Robert Honsch’s person.  Forensic Evidence obtained did link Honsch to the New Britain crime scene.  

Robert Honsch is being held by Ohio authorities on the strength of the two Murder warrants obtained in relation to this investigation.  Robert Honsch will face extradition to Massachusetts and ultimately to Connecticut on the strength of these warrants. 

This investigation has been long in years, but never cold.  Investigators from numerous agencies have worked long hours to bring the person to justice who killed these two women.  Some investigators have retired; while others have been involved with this case much of their careers.  It was the tireless efforts of personnel from the Connecticut State Forensic Lab, the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, Hampden County CPAC Unit, the New York State Police, Ohio Law Enforcement, and the New Britain Police Department that brought about today’s arrest.  No longer will these homicide victims be referred to as “Jane Doe” – the will be known as Elizabeth and Marcia; daughter and mother.   

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