New details emerge in Honsch cold-case killings

Published on Monday, 9 July 2018 21:00
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEW BRITAIN - A newly unsealed arrest warrant details the chain of events leading up to the deaths of Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch, whose bodies were found miles apart in New Britain and Tolland, Massachusetts, in 1995.

Robert Honsch, 74, was charged by New Britain police in June with the murder of his 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth, whose body was found behind a Hartford Road plaza in late September 1995. Honsch had worked for General Electric, which had a plant about eight miles from where his daughter was found with a gunshot wound to her head, the warrant said.

He was convicted in 2017 of killing his wife, whose body was found at a campground in Massachusetts in October 1995.

Honsch’s involvement in the murders came to light in 2014 after Marcia Honsch’s family contacted their stepfather’s new wife in Ohio, Sheryl Tyree, who had expressed concerns about her husband’s past.

Family members told New Britain police in 2014 that Marcia and Robert Honsch had been separated since 1988 but got back together in late August or early September of 1995, just weeks before the killings occurred. They planned on living in the Brewster, New York, area, they said.

Marcia Honsch had been recently diagnosed with a serious mental illness and her estranged husband had agreed to take her back and take care of her, the warrant said. The couple had one child together, Elizabeth, who was 17 when the three began living together again, the warrant said. Marcia had children from a previous marriage.

Marcia and Robert Honsch had explained their new living situation to family members in September 1995, the family said. At the time, Marcia appeared to be drugged, some family members said. Many said they were leery of the arrangement since Honsch had physically abused his wife in the past and was very controlling. It was the last time the family saw Marcia Honsch alive.

They were surprised when about two months later Honsch showed up looking disheveled, telling a story that he had been offered a job in Australia and had sent Marcia and Elizabeth there in advance of his start date.

Through the years the family tried to contact Marcia and Elizabeth without success. New Britain police and Massachusetts State Police worked diligently for more than two decades to identify the two women who they learned through the investigation were related by DNA.

Marcia’s niece contacted New York State Police in June 2014 seeking help in finding her aunt and cousin. New York State Police contacted New Britain police and Massachusetts State Police who were still trying to identify the women. A female family member agreed to give the agencies a DNA sample, which matched the DNA of the two dead women, the warrant said.

New Britain police and Massachusetts State Police confronted Honsch in July 2014. New Britain police obtained an arrest warrant charging him with his daughter’s murder the next day. It wasn’t served until a few weeks ago to allow Massachusetts authorities to arrest and try Honsch in the killing of his wife.

He is now being held on $1 million bond in Connecticut. He will serve a life sentence for the death of his wife when he is returned to Massachusetts after the Connecticut court proceedings.

Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Monday, 9 July 2018 21:00. Updated: Monday, 9 July 2018 21:02.