Jackson Township, Monroe County - A former Monroe County Reverend is accused of killing his first and second wife.
Police say when Reverend Arthur Schirmer ran the Reeders United Methodist Church is was a hotbed of scandal involving an affair, deception and murder. Donna Eilber of Bartonsville said,"You are supposed to look up to a minister. You are supposed to rely on them for guidance and for someone to turn to."
In 2010 police charged Shirmer with killing his second wife, Betty Jean, and trying to make it look like a car accident. They believe his affair with another woman may have been motivation.
Clues from that Monroe County investigation helped police in Lebanon County, near Hershey. Detectives were able to reopen a case involving Schirmer's first wife, Jewel. She died 13 years ago. Schirmer said she fell down the stairs but police say new investigation techniques disproved that story. The charged him in Jewel's death Thursday.
Lebanon County Detective John Leahy said,"It's been a personal issue for me. The case was initially investigated by me and I wanted to see it work through to at the point we are today."
Most Reeders United Methodist Church members who Eyewitness News approached did not want to talk on camera. Some say the new charge reopens old wounds.
Elisha Frable takes her child to the church daycare. She said,"It's shocking to hear someone who is supposed to be of importance to have something like this occur."
Everyone who spoke to Eyewitness News said Schirmer's actions are isolated and the church family is a good one. Donna Eilber said,"The people here are amazing, they are. The preschool is absolutely wonderful. I wouldn't send my children anywhere else."
Frable added,"I think it doesn't reflect on anything this church does or who the people are just because one person makes a bad decision doesn't mean it affects everybody."
Eyewitness News tried to talk to the church's new Reverend about the situation. He did not return a phone call for comment.
For more information on this story click http://pahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=278432