comscore 2 arrested in 1984 rape, killing of Pennsylvania teen girl
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2 arrested in 1984 rape, killing of Pennsylvania teen girl

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  • This photo provided by Bensalem

  • This photo provided by Bensalem, Pa. Police shows Robert Sanders. (Bensalem, Pa. Police/Bucks County Courier Times via AP)

BENSALEM, Pa. » Two men have been arrested in the 1984 rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl whose body was found in the woods two weeks after she vanished, police said Friday.

Authorities said George Franz Shaw, of Geneva, Florida, was high on methamphetamine when he raped and killed Barbara Rowan, a neighbor who baby-sat his 3-year-old daughter. Robert Scott Sanders, of Stroudsburg, was charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution.

A police affidavit said Shaw, 55, was questioned repeatedly by police after Barbara’s body was found, and investigators recovered tape from his home that was similar to the type used to bind the victim.

The court record said Sanders told a grand jury last month that he was in Shaw’s home the night Barbara disappeared and saw Shaw take her into his bedroom for about 20 minutes.

"Sanders said that he saw the bedroom was ‘disarrayed’ and that he saw Barbara Rowan laying on the bed and she was not moving," police said in the affidavit. Sanders testified that Shaw moved his car to the back of the apartment, went alone into the closed bedroom and then drove away, police said.

In a subsequent interview with detectives, on Sept. 25, Sanders told them that Barbara’s body was inside a black trash bag when he went into the room and that Shaw asked him for help, police said. Sanders, 51, said he helped Shaw carry her corpse to the car and place it in the trunk, police said.

"Sanders said they removed the body from the trunk and carried her into the brush on the right passenger side of the vehicle and placed her on the ground," police said in the affidavit.

Barbara was missing for about two weeks when her body was found less than a quarter mile from her home by a man looking for his dog. Authorities said she died of asphyxiation from obstruction of her airway, and tape was found on her neck and skull.

The Bucks County Courier Times reported that Barbara was about to enter high school and had just begun wearing makeup at the time of her killing. She liked reading, Jordache jeans, cats, dogs and hamsters, a family member said.

Court officials said Shaw was in custody in Florida, and Sanders was in jail in Monroe County. They had no information about whether either suspect was represented by a lawyer.


This story has been corrected to show the victim died of asphyxiation, not strangulation.

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